Villa Paper Wrap: Di Matteo Move, Takeover Update and Grealish Going?

Di Matteo In

Last week’s main news came in the form of a new managerial appointment. After Tony Xia and Steve Hollis had their discussions, an appointment could wait no more and Xia’s favoured choice of Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo was ushered in to make the promotion charge. Xia is yet to have his takeover completely ratified by both the Premier League and Football League respectively, but at least plans can now be hatched for next season with the transfer window opening this week (Thursday).

The Guardian both reported on how the Italian had taken the Villa hot seat and explained what he now needs to do to improve upon what his predecessors had ‘achieved’ before him. It was also refreshing to hear Di Matteo’s first words in response to becoming the Villa manager, stating that getting the basics right is going to be his key focus for the time being. Something we completely failed to do last season.

Strengthening the Backroom Staff

Although the appointment of Di Matteo looked a fairly risky one to most considering the likes of Nigel Pearson was in the driving seat for the job, bringing in Kevin Bond and most importantly Steve Clarke as No.2 was a big reassurance for every Villa fan. The Birmingham Mail reported on how Steve Clarke will bring Di Matteo some much needed reinforcement at B6; a character that certainly won’t take any laziness on the training pitch and will help to control the dressing room.

Grealish Gossip

After impressing at the Toulon Tournament for the England U21s last month, Jack Grealish has caught the eye of a few Premier League clubs. The Telegraph reported on how Stoke City, Tottenham and Everton are all circling like vultures around the young lad who Villa will be making sure they hold on to. Grealish still has the talent to become a decent player and a full season in the Championship would no doubt do him some good.

However, as with all summers we were told that the transfer talk was simply just speculation and that Villa were in no hurry whatsoever to sell the 20-year-old. The Express and Star revealed how they’ve issued a hands-off warning that the academy product was not for sale.

Takeover Update

The Villa takeover edged closer as we were provided with a much needed update on whether Tony Xia and co. could pass the ‘fit and proper persons’ tests. The Birmingham Mail gave us an insight into how the new owners have crafted a holding company, a step forward in the right direction. The company had Keith Wyness, Christopher Samuelson and Tony Xia all as directors which gives us a hint that they’ll be the main decision makers within the club’s hierarchy.

However, MOMS also spotted that although this provides some good news in terms of the takeover’s progress, there are questions concerning Christopher Samuelson and the name Alan John Frank Hitchins on the company’s records. Especially when taking a closer look at their histories and football business backgrounds. Why did Xia need to hook up with these guys?


Follow Chad on Twitter – @ChadBillyWrenn

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid


  1. I felt a lift when Steve Clarke was appointed no2 and all credit to the new owner,Hollis and Di Matteo, and with Bond, Kevin Bond onboard as well as fitness trainer, I am starting to see a smidgen of light at the end of that very dark tunnel we have all had to walk through. Astute buys and selling the drift/deadwood or paying them off is the next stage once our owner has been truly inaugurated by the Football League. Lets hope this happens this week. The Villa have been in a car crash and the healing and mending now begins, thankfully football is a rapid response team and so those professionals in place now know the task in front of them and time constraints on them to get the new family of players onboard getting to know each other, supporting each other and reconnecting with the fans because of their pride in wearing Claret and Blue. Management need tight get out clauses for Good players bought so sell ons are viable and profitable to cover the costs of a better replacement. Performance and unity are key. We wait in anticipation what the next month or so brings – I am getting a twitch or two of optimism and thoughtful repose. Also our youth team need the opportunities to train with the first team and have good opportunities to break through real talent. Sleeves rolled up and ready to roll. Condolences to Harry Gregory’s family RIP. I met him and his family as a youngster in Sutton Coldfield and came across as very humble and genuine – I walked away impressed and hoped he would have a longer career but only managed 30 odd games or so before moving on to Hereford.

  2. the talk of grealish leaving, makes me feel that, like, albrighton, he will come back to haunt us, in the past villa have allowed too much talent to leave,leaving a ‘process where we bought development players instsead of proven quality.this policy is flawed if you don’t play the youth at the club to develop them, so you remain stuck in an area where you have to go out and buy, rather than reap the benefit of invested time spent on players already at the club.

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