“I will head to the UK for the upcoming Play-Offs” – Tony Xia
To the claret and blue dreamers out there, you’d have noticed from Tony Xia’s statement this week, that he is a little bit more of a realistic than maybe you are.
The Villa chairman detailed in his statement (below), that he’ll be arriving in the UK to watch Villa in the Play-offs, suggesting he knows full well it’s very unlikely that Fulham and Cardiff City will completely fold against underwhelming opposition in their final two games.
The play-offs were where the team hoped to finish last season, Steve Bruce had said as much, after he took over from Roberto Di Matteo. As we’ve seen from the likes of Fulham and Millwall this year, a poor start is not the end of the season. There certainly was an opportunity there.
Villa didn’t get a great start this season either and Xia describes this season in his statement, as ‘a rough ride’. Not doubt, it’s been frustrating for him too.
At one stage, things did look very promising for Bruce and his men, after the Blues win at Villa Park, Villa moved into the automatic promotion spots for the first time since relegation.
A few days later, it was Valentine’s Day, Bruce was finally finding some love and the timing was perfect for Villa’s rise. The Villa boss had persistently stated, that whatever the team’s fortunes early doors, Villa must get there or thereabouts, when the daffodils started to sprout in March.
The team was in position, but it seemed the late snow messed somewhat with the daffodils spring cycle. The underwhelming loss of intensity and focus immediately after the full-houses and impressive performances of both the Blues and Wolves games, ultimately cost Villa.
When you look at the league table now, the first thoughts of ‘if only’ come to mind, as you think about the recent dropped points against Preston (H), QPR (H), Bolton (A) and Norwich (A). If only they had stayed focused on the goal; something that Xia pleaded in his recent statement that Villa must do now.
If Villa had just picked up three or four more points, Dr Tony would have been forced to take an earlier flight from China to have the (dubious) pleasure of a potential promotion party at The Den.
The play-offs, it is though.
Promotion is Promotion
While we may have had to wait an extra year for them, the Villa chairman will be confident of success. While Bruce has never won the Championship title, he has won the play-offs twice.
The extra month it takes to resolve the play-offs, will come at an inconvenience in terms of the planning for next season, but promotion is promotion.
Whatever the outcome of the play-offs in May, Villa supporters will certainly start to learn a lot more about Villa’s owner next season, beyond the placebo effect of his Twitter account.
The club is destined to face one of two potentially difficult destinies – the unthinkable reality check of a third season in the Championship, or, an up-against-the-clock rebuild for the Premier League.
Naturally, we’ll take the later and no doubt Xia will be crossing his fingers he’ll be flying back to China in Premier League class.
Dr Tony Xia Statement
Firstly, apologies as the club chairman for my absence at last night’s End-of-Season Dinner due to my crazy busy schedule.
It was a moment I wish I could be there because we were joined by all of our players, coaches and staff, as well as some of our fantastic sponsors and supporters. I hope that this was an enjoyable event for everyone.
Also, I am here to promise you that no matter how busy my schedule in the coming weeks, I will head to the UK for the upcoming Play-Offs, to fight alongside everyone and to see our shared goals being achieved.
With eight hours of time difference between Beijing and the UK, I have not missed a single one of the games in this season.
On every game day, despite having a long, hard working day, I sit in front of the TV past midnight to closely follow your performance.
Just like everyone seated at the dinner last night, whether it was the blissfulness of victory or the tears of sorrow from defeat, we will always stand together by each other’s side.
This season has been a rough ride. It’s been nearly two years since I became the chairman of this great club and whether it’s in the management side or the whole general atmosphere, there have always been tough challenges and obstacles.
There were also other situations where things went far worse from what we could expect. However, as the club chairman, I’ve never doubted our management team, coaching staff and ability of the players to overcome the challenges and lead the club towards the right direction to success.
I must admit that our goal has not yet been achieved and there is still a long way to go until we can fully achieve true success.
But I believe that as long as we all hold onto the same belief, Villa will only change for the better at our hands and ‘feet’.
The coming month is going to be a crucial month for everyone, especially our managing teams and squad.
Don’t forget that you are not the only ones on this battlefield. Every single team-mate, coach, staff, as well as your family members, friends, and every single Villa fan is going to support you unconditionally.
As long as we keep up our momentum and stay focused on our goal, surely the final victory will belong to us. UTV!
Dr Tony Xia
(Statement as published on the club’s website)