A Different Villa

After the run down of my contract at Villarreal, the summer passed me by. Job offers were made, mainly by countries after unsuccessful World Cup campaigns, teams from the Spanish second division and various uninteresting clubs around Europe. I decided to wait it out for the right job.

I waited and waited and waited. I interviewed for a couple of jobs, Hertha BSC, Rapid Vienna, Everton, Watford. None really got me that excited. So I continued waiting. I’d been linked to both the Chelsea and Atletico Madrid jobs. Not quite sure how, but they weren’t the jobs for me.

In March 2019, the Aston Villa job became available and I was really interested. They had a squad that was more than capable of staying in the Premier League. They just needed a bit of guidance. They had a pretty strong spine with the likes of Virgin van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Zach Clough which gave me hope. Villa had actually done some good business over the past couple of years.

I went through the formality of the interview, told them what they wanted to hear, which actually aligned with what I had in mind and got offered the job. I was to sign young players for the first team and play direct football. Perfect.


As I mentioned above, the squad was in pretty good shape. We perhaps had an excess of strikers and the reserves were littered with failed signings of managers past, but there was a youthful feel to the squad and it had potential.

Zach Clough is one of these players that I’ve always wanted to buy when managing in England, but I’ve never had the right setup for him to be a star player. I’m really looking forward to using him and developing him further. He looks great already, but can still improve. Victor Wanyama is another player that should be good to use as I rarely playing with an out and out defensive beast. He certainly adds muscle to the midfield.

There’s obviously a few areas that need work, but there’s enough about the squad to see out the season and play the type of football I want.


I’ll not go crazy with details, but it’s very fast and very direct. Get ball, punt it to the forwards, win first or second ball, attack. Rinse/repeat. I want the backline to not drift too far forward and get caught out of position. I’m using PI’s on the left midfielder only and I’m not entirely sure they’re even necessary.

It’s sort of inspired by an old school 442, English lump it forward style. I’d ideally have a good target man that could step in should things not be going my way, but that will have to be something that I try in the future.


To be honest, Aston Villa likely won’t be a long term thing, it’s more to try out a tactical idea that I had in my head thanks to talk about Big Sam being England manager. I know he’d technically use a Kevin Nolan type behind a target man, but this is as good as I can get right now.

Going to try to survive the end of this season and should I stay up, I’ll have a go next year as well. I’ll take it in baby steps after that. Maybe I’ll not want to leave!


I can’t imagine us having a lot of money available in the summer as we’re in debt right now. The club has been bought over but it doesn’t seem to have affected the financial dealings of the club. I suppose a lot will depend on the status of the club at the end of the season.

Will be reporting in with a mini update soon as there are only nine games remaining.


  1. Now that is setting yourself a challenge. I trashed two of my FM15 games by ‘waiting for the perfect gig’ after walking away from big clubs I’d grown tired of. Sometimes it seems that if you take more than 6 months off, you’re forgotten about, regardless of reputation. Don’t know how realistic that is. Especially when you can wait a whole year or more when you start the game unemployed.

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