In recent seasons Aston Villa manager’s have had some curious backroom staff, an assortment of bullies, circus acts and non-entities (you can fill in the names). There certainly hasn’t seemed to be any real cohesive management teams. On paper at least, Roberto Di Matteo’s backroom team hold a lot of promise and credentials to bring overdue success to the club.
Steve Clarke as the new assistant manager is a smart move and will cover any misgivings from reports of Di Matteo not being hands on enough. Clarke has perhaps been a victim of trigger happy boards at both West Brom and Reading, when he had the top job.
With his managerial experience and success as assistant manager, working with some of the best in the business, notably Jose Mourinho and Kenny Dalglish, Clark brings a certain amount of reinsurance to Villa supporters, who had question marks about Di Matteo on his on.
Clark has even worked as a number two with a fellow Chelsea player before, in the form of Gianfranco Zola at West Ham.
Kevin Bond comes in as first-team coach, with the credentials of being Harry Redknapp’s loyal right-hand man at Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur and QPR. Despite the hiccup of being sacked by Newcastle United over bung allegations during his time at Pompey with Redknapp, he got his reputation back on a difficult wicket as the boss of Bournemouth, who had a thankless task at the time with point deductions due to administration (the Cherries current manager Eddie Howe learnt the ropes under Bond).
Bond also had a decent playing career, initially playing for Norwich and Manchester City, who were both managed by his father, the late John Bond (one of the first managers I remember as a kid, when he led Manchester City out in the 1981 FA Cup against Spurs).
New Villa goalkeeping coach Italian Massimo Battara worked with Di Matteo at Schalke 04 and was previously on the staff of Roberto Mancini winning league titles with Inter Milan and Manchester City. Most recently he was working with the David Platt managed Indian Super League side FC Pune.
Another Italian coming to Villa Park is the new club fitness coach Massimiliano Marchesi, who also worked at Inter Milan and spent a decade in Saudi Arabia.
As I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a backroom staff full of names and pedigree.
Villa now have an intriguing Chinese/Italian fusion of a revolution going on at the club. Lets hope it’s more successful than the previous USA and French ones.
We’ll soon start to get an insight into their plans, as the summer transfer window swings open this week on Thursday.
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