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Despite new owner, decision making at Villa remains abysmal

Nine months into Dr. Tony Xia’s tenure as Aston Villa’s owner, little has changed. This club is as mismanaged as ever before.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship
Villa boss Steve Bruce (r) reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park on February 20, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Hey, remember when Tony Xia bought Aston Villa over the summer and there was a sense of optimism around the club? That was great. Since…

Throwback to that time when Aston Villa spent, like, more than the rest of the league combined during the summer transfer window, but conveniently forgot to buy a midfield, leaving the club unbalanced for the entire first half of the season.

Throwback to that time when Aston Villa sacked a manager after 12 matches, then later praised the idea of consistency and sticking behind one as he’s gone nearly two months without a win.

Throwback to that time when, for some reason, Aston Villa brought Gabby Agbonlahor — who hasn’t done a positive thing for the club in years — back into the first-team setup for no particular reason?

Throwback to that time when Aston Villa turned down a £25 million offer for a left back who can’t (a) defend or (b) get in a bottom-third Championship side.

Throwback to that time when Aston Villa let one of the world’s best goalkeeping prospects leave — who was enjoying a pretty good season, all things considered — to sign a much-less-heralded prospect, who actually sucks, on loan.

Throwback to that time when, as one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league, Aston Villa sold Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew, doing so either side of a loan deal for Ross McCormack.

Throwback to that time when, while they were at the club, Steve Bruce showed no interest in playing either Ayew or McCormack in roles that suited them, effectively wasting two of the division’s top attacking talents.

Despite outspending the league, Aston Villa are in yet another relegation battle because the key people at the club keep making terrible decision after terrible decision. And the worst part is, there’s no level of consistency with the terrible decisions being made at the club.

Villa put too much stock in Jordan Amavi, turning down a hyper-inflated offer for the player when the prudent decision was to sell, but turned around and effectively gave up on Pierluigi Gollini because… I don’t know? And then signed Sam Johnstone, who was also a young keeper, but one that (a) isn’t yours and (b) makes a lot more mistakes?

Then there was the whole thing about how Aston Villa started a transfer window with the best striker depth in the league, spent the window playing Gabby Agbonlahor, then by the end of the next month, sat facing a potential crisis with no fit senior strikers.

Oh, and the neat thing when they sacked Roberto Di Matteo — whose team was overall playing pretty good football — because of a few fluky results, then replaced him with Steve Bruce, whose teams never play good football. And then refuse to sack him when his teams, which don’t play good football, are incapable of getting results.

Remember when the new owner said he wanted Villa to be as big as Barcelona or Real Madrid within five years? How’s that going?

Villa sit just six points above the drop with 14 matches left, and given they still have to play each of the bottom five sides, it’s very easy to craft a situation where Villa’s survival in the second tier is coming down to the very end of the season.

Xia’s first nine months at B6 have been plagued by the same cycle of poor decision-making that hampered the final years of Randy Lerner’s tenure. Nothing has changed.

But hey, at least the new owner is “one of us,” said some neat quote you can put on a tifo and conducts transfer business in public, right?