When Dr. Tony Xia and his Recon group took control of Aston Villa from their beleaguered owner Randy Lerner, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that Villa were due for a complete turnaround in their fortunes. Heck, the ambitious hire of Roberto Di Matteo - a Champions League winner - all but heralded a new dawn and with it, a new day.
However, reality soon came in to knick the plucky Villa bunch. Di Matteo left Villa after a single victory through ten or so games. Steve Bruce was hired as his replacement and hasn’t really enjoyed much except a winning streak here or there sandwiched between dead periods of draws and losses
However, the on-field product is one thing, but what about the behind the scenes stuff? We already know Villa have a few issues with cash - namely that they have spent beyond their means and will be hit with FFP restrictions if they spend any more money. Villa’s CEO Keith Wyness is certainly doing as good a job as he can do of ensuring Villa are stable, but Villa’s issues could grow beyond him soon.
How so? Well, the financial implications that a failure to return to the Premier League will bring to the club are something that can kill Villa’s future. If Xia and his team stay - it means that their plan will have to be built up, once more, from scratch - as Villa will be unable to spend vast sums of cash without new revenue streams. A major worry emerges here - as Xia’s business interests haven’t performed well as of late. An article in the Mirror even highlights allegations that Villa are borrowing cash to cover their wage bill right now.
‘In August Xia’s Recon company dropped plans to take over Hollywood studio Millennium Films for £75m. More recently there have been allegations of Villa’s suppliers going unpaid and of borrowing money to meet their huge wage-bill.’
If that’s true, then Villa have issues. Issues that neither you or me can resolve. With communication from the head honcho dwindling, and Aston Villa entering a period of on-the-pitch stagnation after a December to forget, let’s ask ourselves - exactly how much has life changed for Villa fans in the past two to three years?