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One year on, Aston Villa face a date with destiny

It's been a rollercoaster season, and now Villa are 90 minutes away from the Premier League. Take it away, Dan

One Year On by Dan Bardell (video by Daniel Rolinson):

26th May 2018

The Play offs the occasion...

Tom Cairney the man who breaks hearts of a Claret and Blue persuasion.

As a Villa fan since birth, the lowest I’ve ever been.

The Championship again, not Premier League there was no inbetween...

The game of roulette was over, concluded, a turbulent summer lay ahead.

A mess!

Wyness and company put it all on red and it came up black.

Tax bills unpaid, the truth mislaid.

What would become of the Club William McGregor made?

John Terry, Snodgrass, Johnstone they weren’t coming back...

Steve Bruce remained, many wanted him gone, and what of Super Jack?

The talisman, the heartbeat, what lay ahead for the Villa lad, the local hero.

Preseason arrived and still no financial clarification.

Bruce in Portugal, talking of having to sell Grealish, selling Chester, more pain, hurt.

Who’d be left wearing the shirt?

Suddenly relief, debts wiped out, welcome Nassef, welcome Edens.

Jack, Chester, the manager all stay, we embark on the most askant of Championship seasons!

It begins well,

Hull away and we start with a win.

Elphick, Elmo and Hutton the unlikeliest goalscoring combination.

In comes John McGinn to become part of the midfield conversation.

Wigan are dispatched, Elphick and Steer are shipped away but that’s not the end of their story.

Draws with Ipswich, Brentford, Reading slow down our quest for Championship glory.

The natives are getting restless, calls for the manager to depart.

Knocked out the Cup, horrific, uninspiring, gone for a Burton.

Decimated at Bramall lane, its looking like Bruce’s final curtain.

He clings on with a Abraham inspired 2-0 win against a poor Rotherham.

But despite a Mcginn masterclass, Sheffield Wednesday is a sham.

Enter the cabbage,

2-0 up against Preston, and Brucie’s Villa are crusing.

Chester sees red and it looks like we’ll end up losing.

Bolasie pegs them back, then a chance from the spot.

Glenn Whelan steps up, Steve Bruce that’s your lot...

His press conferences becoming agitating, calling Villa fans the “mad few”!

Bruce had little left to offer,

No style, little substance, we never looked like keeping a clean sheet.

A new man in the ascendency, ready to step into the hot seat.

Enter Dean Smith.

A new dream team with O’Kelly and former Villa Skipper John Terry.

Villa connections, Villa history, looking to galavanise the players and the Holte End!

Tammy sees off Swansea and Villa looked on the mend...

2 defeats followed, but they’re only a mere stumble.

Villa went on a winning run but after that we would crumble.

Jack was flying in tandem with Conor and McGinn.

All three scored as Derby were blown away on their own patch.

Blues had their 9 minutes in dreamland, we won 4-2 they were no match.

Alan Hutton transformed into Messi, Jack lived out his dream by scoring.

A 5-5 with Forest, Dean Smith’s Villa were far from boring.

Boro thrashed down by the Riverside,

But at the Hawthorns Jay Rodriguez was to become a thorn in our side.

The hand of Rod, taking away a vital Villa win.

But bigger problems were to come in the form of Jack Grealish’s shin.

Problems.

2-0 up against Leeds but we ran out of steam.

Leeds win 3-2 to put a dent in our promotion dream.

Reality check but heads, Conor wins it for us at Swansea.

But that kind of win was all too rare in those long Winter months.

Draws killing us, 3-0 defeat at Wigan not a good look.

January needed reinforcements but we know how long that took.

Welcome Tyrone. Mings in at Reading yielded that much needed clean sheet,

But no goals scored meant 0-0 and Villa still missing the boy with magic feet.

Then chaos against the Blades, Villa in disarray, struggling 3-0 down.

First Mings, then Tammy and Andre Green’s head at the back post turned it around.

Smith returned to Brentford, late defeat, play off hopes in tatters.

Baggies stroll past us at Villa Park, just let this season end, why does it matter.

Shoots of recovery at Stoke, with a half time rally.

We play well, Albert equalises, his first of the season, madness after last seasons tally.

Is this the turning point? Play offs still seems so far adrift.

The whole Football Club then gets a massive lift. Jack is back!

Not only is he back, but Dean Smith names him leader.

Armband on, it needs to be the start of a new era.

Tammy yet again, and Conor at the double!

Derby 3-0 down, sinking, in all kinds of trouble...

Whelan pings the corner, and Jack connects with the volley first time.

Villa Park erupts, we are clicking, but so far to get over the line.

St Andrews a test, sorry Trillion Trophy Stadium, whatever?

No matter the name, the occasion you cant teach class.

Jack attacked, knocked over but he has the last laugh.

Scenes of Bedlam and carnage in the jampacked away end.

Three points, standard...

The Villa boys from Aston enjoy another derby weekend.

2 wins in a row, becomes 3 at Forest’s City ground.

It’s our Hause, as Kourtney scores, season turning around.

Boro seen off again, Blackburn beaten at Villa Park.

We feel invincible, its easy, this Championship lark!

Next up is Brucey, first time since he’s gone. He’s carted off Jed Steer, but he’s back and by now he’s our number one.

Hillsborough 1-1 and Jed faces Fletcher from the spot.

It’s saved! Massive moment, probably play off defining.

Albert is on now, it’s all about timing.

He tucks away the winner, celebrates like a pensioner.

Tammy finishes it, 3-1 I was always gonna mention ya!

What a goalscorer!

Tammy wont appreciate the fact I have to mention him missing a pen...

One Nil down to Rotherham, Mings sent off, we’re down to 10 men.

We’re in trouble, unbeaten run on the line, looking in danger...

Talking of danger, Smith pulls of a tactical masterclass and brings on Jimmy D.

He comes on scores, as Villa get another penalty.

Jack seals the deal with the goal of the season!

We won because of spirit, desire amongst other reasons...Playoff Rivals Bristol City, Villa Park, the atmosphere is rocking.

Their keeper had a worldie, but Conor’s goal he weren’t stopping.

A statement victory, wins against Bolton and Millwall follow.

We’ve done it Play off’s secure, has this season been real.

Dean Smith I love you, I almost want to bow down and kneel.

Deanooooooooo!

Elland Road escalated into an overall farce.

Anwar El Ghazi see’s red as Bamford falls on his arse.

Bielsa to his credit let us have a goal back.

However bad feeling was rife, Leeds fans weren’t particularly chipper

Would we meet again again in the play off picture?

We’ll gloss over Norwich, defeat, but we’ve done what was requested.

Baggies in the Play offs to come whilst five players were rested.

A chance for local pride,and a chance at a return to the top tier.

2 legs, one winner, the play offs is always a rollercoaster that’s full of fear.

2-1 up from the first leg West Brom clawed us back.

They were so deep and turgid, but stifled our attack.

Then Brunt saw red, but the Villa winner wouldn’t come.

Extra time and penalties, I felt like my heart was done.

After 120 minutes of pain, watching the Football Club we all love.

We owe most of what came to Jed Steers gloves.

Jedinak scored as well, gave the away fans a glare.

Even with Albert's miss, we were very nearly there.

Up stepped Tammy, it felt like an eternity.

I cant put it into words...

Back at Wembley again, this time lets get it right.

Is this the year we return to the top flight?