The Villa Engine: Explaining What's Behind Aston Villa's New Plans & How They'll Help in the Future
Aston Villa's CEO Keith Wyness shared his future plans for the club last Tuesday, revealing he plans to upgrade Villa Park to a 60,000 seater stadium over the next few years.
In the same interview - given to the club's official website - Wyness also gave reference to his plans for the 'Villa Engine', an overarching philosophy which will be implemented at Villa over the next few years.
The 'Villa Engine' comprises a number of factors including; a style of play, the importance of youth development at the club and integrating a feeling of pride when playing for Villa.
The strategy will also help determine which players Villa sign over the coming years and links the whole club, including, "elite coaching, sports science, health and nutrition," as claimed by Wyness.
For a number of reasons the 'Villa Engine' is exactly what the club need and should hopefully provide the stability required if Villa are to flourish again.
Under previous chairman Randy Lerner, Villa lacked any strategic plan and this became evident on the pitch as the club continuously slid down the table.
During the American's tenure Villa often changed managers, but Lerner's appointments lacked consistency.
The managerial selections of Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish, Paul Lambert, Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde represent a complete lack of continuity in terms of age, style of play, transfer policy and their man management approach.
It is something Wyness even acknowledges himself by claiming, "Whenever we have changed managers, it’s been total chaos and lurching from one crisis to another one."
The 'Villa Engine' will hopefully prevent the club being ran in such a haphazard and disastrous manner.
Villa's CEO acknowledges that having a strategic plan in place will prevent the club from sliding into the chaos that has become the norm at Villa Park in recent years.
"It’s also vital the club has that vital anchor that, if god forbid, we do have a management change, Steve Round (Villa's Director of Football) would be the continuum in that we know how to carry on going-forward," Wyness said.
In recent years clubs like Southampton and Watford have changed managers without witnessing huge slumps in form, and in many ways they represent the blueprint which Villa should attempt to emulate.
It is clear in this regard that Wyness' experience of running a football club and vast knowledge of the sport, is paying dividends for Villa.
This is a far cry from the Lerner's era, when Villa's CEO Tom Fox was more knowledgeable about the NFL than the Premier League, with disastrous consequences for Villa.
Lerner's time as Villa owner ended with relegation in 2016 and the eventual sale to Dr Tony Xia.
As a result, the 2015/16 campaign represents the lowest point in the footballing memory of any Villa aged under 50, as the club endured the third worst season of any Premier League side in history, earning just 17 points.
Lerner, Fox and co had assembled a Villa squad void of passion, desire and any fight whatsoever.
Under Xia and Wyness this simply will not be the case, as Villa's CEO spoke of creating an a club with 'character and values'.
"It’s about pride, passion and purpose – that one goal that goes through the whole club," he remarked.
The 'Villa Engine' is also consistent with the club's tradition of producing young players.
Over recent years the likes of Marc Albrighton, Ciaran Clark and Jack Grealish have came through Villa's academy, as did Gary Cahill, Steven Davis and Darius Vassell in the earlier years of the Premier League.
Although Villa's CEO does mention a style of play, he gives little detail on what exactly that style is, something Villa fans will surely discover over the next few years.
The headlines drawn from Wyness' interview have centred around the potential stadium expansion and talk of nearly signing two Premier League players, yet in reality the 'Villa Engine' is the most important area broached by the CEO.
It gives the club direction and purpose, and ensures Villa will fully move away from Lerner's shambolic reign.
Given time and correct application, the 'Villa Engine' could serve to return the club to their rightful place amongst the big hitters in English football once again.