Still in Business

Probably the best thing about the fact Alan Hutton had signed a new one-year contract with Villa today, was the clear signal that Aston Villa Football Club weren’t going into liquidation any time soon.

With Hutton approaching 34-years-old, there’s no doubt the player took a pay cut, but still, Villa have demonstrated they have enough money to sign players. It should put the EFL at ease, ahead of the club’s meeting to explain the recent tax issues.

If it was ‘Defcon One’ in the Villa accounts department, there’s no way Villa would entertain Hutton. He’s not a necessity; he’s useful squad padding when you consider the financial restrictions on seriously adding to the squad, but hardly a game changer.

Phoenix Full-back

Hutton’s resurrection since spending two full seasons in Paul Lambert’s bomb squad from 2012-14 – which saw him loaned out to Forest, Mallorca and Bolton – has been remarkable. At the same time though, he’s been indicative of Villa’s decline – relegation battles and then repeated promotion failure. Sections of Villa supporters seem content though when a player simply puts effort in, as opposed to demonstrating any ability. Hutton is something of a patron saint of that.

Catch-22

Hutton can tackle and has a good engine, but sometimes he’s guilty of positional lapses (see play-off final) and is often limited when venturing forward, which can make Villa look one-dimensional down his flank.

Yet Alex McLeish’s purchase has never given up and even when Villa had several options at full-back last season, he saw them all off.

He’s a catch-22 player. You wish more professional players had his attitude, but you get the sense Villa might not get to where they want to be, unless they start to look to the future in terms of a different solution at full-back.

The Championship, if truth be told, is Hutton’s level. It’ll be Villa’s third season in the league, so they can no longer persuade Premier League level players for a quick season in the Championship to help them get up. We’re in ‘the boy that cried wolf’ territory in terms of that trick.

Even to the cynical, having Hutton in the ranks, who believes fully in the Villa cause, isn’t a bad thing going into an uncertain season ahead. Yet, Bruce needs to start thinking about Villa’s medium to long-term future and give the likes of James Bree a proper run.

Approaching next season with the same short-termism approach as the last, will be akin to banging the club’s head against a wall. The squad will not be as strong as last season and the likes of Jedinak, Hutton and Whelan will be in their mid-30’s. So, it’s time for Bruce to also lay the foundations for seasons ahead and finally formulate that elusive Plan B.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. The Cafu has been one of our better performers and showed fantastic attitude over the last few seasons. However, keeping any wage that we can get rid of is yet more financial stupidity. Plus any future we have has to be by developing what we have in younger players. We desperately need to get something like 30% of the wages off the books. Selling Grealish and Chester is unfortuantely a must. Giving away players to get rid of wages must be considered along with paying off contracts. I have been saying this for 3 years. Yet the club has continuously been spending more and more on players who wont play? It’s crazy and with promotion failed we are in the crap. Keeping Bruce who has failed and is the man who,has contributed hugely to this is not the man. Can we afford to pay his years wages in compensation? We need to cut our cloth drastically. I presume the 18000 season ticket money for next year has been spent already!! Will my money be safe? Every single wage we can get rid of needs to go as soon as possible. We need to get rid of 11 of our best players, what ever is left shpuld still one of the strongest squads and be good enough to make a challenge for play offs under the right management. Our promising kids have not been developed as we have paid huge sums to develop other clubs kids. Why? Take this drastic action now Mr Xi. Pay off Bruce put kevin Mcdonald in charge.

  2. Hutton getting hammered for the mistake in the play-off final? Ridiculous – our defence has been superb, on average a good defence will still concede a goal a game. We didn’t create enough good chances to win a game of football. Hardly Alan’s fault.

  3. A good assessment.

    I think our current situation needs to see are marked change in Bruce’s approach. However, can he adapt if his extended tenure with the club is confirmed?

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