Dean Smith’s Statement on Leaving Aston Villa

Dean Smith’s Statement

Below is Dean Smith’s statement on leaving Aston Villa, as published on the League Managers Association website.

“To be appointed the Head Coach of Aston Villa, the club I supported throughout my childhood, was and remains something I am extremely proud of.

“My initial remit was to try and lead the club back to the Premier League within a two-year period. Sitting in 15th position in the Championship when I arrived in the October, managing to lead the team on a record-breaking ten match winning run and into the play-offs, where we would eventually win promotion thanks to a memorable day at Wembley Stadium, was without doubt an achievement that I will always look back on with pride.

“Having led the club back to the Premier League ahead of schedule and at the first time of asking after three years in the Championship, the next challenge was to help overhaul the squad and create a group good enough to survive that all-important first season back in the Premier League and, in doing so, I believe those achievements allowed the club to accelerate its ambitions to become an established Premier League club.

“My belief was that we would continue our progression this season. I understand the football industry and of course, I respect the owners decision, but I felt that with important players soon returning to full fitness we would achieve a top half finish.

“One of my roles as Head Coach at Aston Villa was to improve individual players to enhance on-field performance for the team. Playing a part in developing a player who would be transferred for a British record transfer fee, along with creating a pathway for a thriving academy, are all areas in which I feel I’ve more than contributed. I hope the culture and environment that has been created at both Bodymoor Heath and Villa Park will continue to flourish.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, in giving me the opportunity to manage this special club. I would also like to thank the CEO, Christian Purslow, with whom I enjoyed an excellent working relationship as well as the two Sporting Directors I worked alongside, Johan Lange and Jesus Garcia Pitarch. To the coaches, staff and players, my sincere thanks to each and every one of them.

“Finally, to the Aston Villa fans who showed me nothing but love and support from my first day in the job to my last, a heartfelt thank you from my family and I. The Aston Villa board’s aims and ambitions are to take our club back into European football and I would love nothing more than seeing the club achieve that. I’ve always said that I was simply a custodian of this great football club, and my aim was to leave it in a better place than I found it. I believe that together we have achieved that.



  1. The new manager will have a club with a youth and academy strategy and structure which is already bearing fruit- these are the result of the smith and NSWE vision. The first team however lacks identity and that is the challenge for a new manager. – he doesn’t need to rip it up like smith had to but just tweaks and the margins and not concede in the first 15 mins

  2. A lot of fans still look @ the Head Coach as the manager & assume he is responsible for the selection he has . The other issues is that no matter how good a coach is it is virtually an impossible task turning Cart horses into Race Horses . Yes that is a tad extreme but if a team has a mix of players expecting to play using different styles of play & none want to change it can become an impossible task

  3. Smith was Head Coach, not a Manager. And you can see from reading his leaving statement what his role was in the club, working with the players he had, and improving them, while driving the club forward. Wanting some other model for the club is legitimate, but it is not where we are. So moving forward, who is the best coach to bring in to work with this squad?

  4. Yes but how much choice did Smith actually have over the players brought in ? And will his successor have any more influence over any new faces ?

  5. I was in the “more time” camp rather than the “time up” camp. I took the view he had fulfilled the owners remit to make continual progress, if the end of each season was the measure. I hoped a good performance and result at Southampton would show he had the ability to turn things around. But we were dismal again, especially in the first half. So I started to look at other measures. Results over the last calendar year. Points per game this season compared to last. Other comparisons. We had gone backwards. Recent performances didn’t give any confidence it would improve. Huge thanks to Dean for taking us forward. But time to move on. And start the debate about who can take us further forward.

  6. Who ever takes command is going to have a problem , and it would be interesting to know what strictions were placed on Smith on his team selection ! There seems to be a problem in attack /midfield over leadership ! McGinn was over eager to hand the Captains armband to Mings when he came on in the 2nd half against West Ham & in the game against Saints Cash had very little support when he needed to defend . But worse was that for the last 20 mins of the Saints game Mings was out of defence & leading the attack because without him going forward there was little direction to Villa’s attack

  7. I think the club have rushed to this decision and I hope we are not becoming a sacking club again

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