As the City Ground gates locked behind me on Saturday, I began to wonder which players would the club be shutting out for good this summer?
Obviously, the loan players will return to their respective clubs and more than likely will not be returning.
Although there are a couple that we should retain in my eyes; Gary Gardner is a guy I’d like to sign on a permanent deal. I realise that he hasn’t replicated the brilliance that he produced in his first spell at the club but we all know what he can do when given regular football.
I’m outnumbered on this one because the majority of fans believe he’ll stay at Villa, mainly because it’s his boyhood club. That’s a very fair shout but I have a sneaky feeling that he may go the same way as Adlene Guedioura, who chose Forest over Wolves when they were relegated.
I can’t see the likes of Chris O’Grady and Ryan Mendes returning but they came in useful at times during their stay and I wish them well.
Federico Macheda will find it hard to get another club in the whole country, his best bet is to re-establish himself abroad because he has failed to live up to the reputation of “That Man United goal” ever since.
That leaves us with Bojan Jokic and Nelson Oliveira; both of which I’d like to keep for obvious reasons. Until Danny Pinillos is fully fit we can do a lot worse than Jokic, like Pinillos he has settled in to the poison chalice position of left back with real competence.
Oliveira finished as our leading scorer but like every other front man, he found himself in the lone wolf role for the majority of the season. If we could get him back on loan it would be interesting to see if he could partner Assombalonga, would it work?
The big question is what about Reid, Wilson and Tesche? Well it looks very much like Andy Reid has played his last game for us due to numerous injuries, very sad because we all wanted him back desperately.
Robert Tesche is a funny one, not loved by many but if you understand football then you’ll see what he brings to the table. With a fully fit midfield he may find himself as a bit part player but I would like to see him kept on for this reason alone. Once again there are good arguments for either side of this debate though.
Finally we come to Kelvin Wilson; it’s fair to say that his second spell at the club has not been successful. For whatever reason he has struggled and been punished for some telling mistakes.
However, at the age of thirty he still has a future but undoubtedly elsewhere. You only have to look around the Championship to see how the likes of Lynch, Paterson, Derbyshire, Halford and Collins are enjoying their football on the very same stage away from the pressure of the City Ground.
He’s a very decent lad and I’ve no doubts that he’ll flourish again somewhere else.
Of course all of this means nothing when the two most important positions are shrouded in mystery; that of Chairman and Manager.
Interestingly enough, Mr Al Hasawi didn’t attend the club’s 150th anniversary dinner last night; make what you will of that one!
Until we appoint a new manager everything I’ve written may stand for nothing but there is a larger concern for everyone involved. Is Fawaz Al Hasawi selling up?
Early reports suggest that he is getting a Greek shipping tycoon on board (excuse the pun); Evangelos Marinakis is the Olympiacos owner and like Fawaz is no stranger to controversy. Initially it was reported that he is simply investing in the club but I heard from a very reliable source that he is in fact set to take over completely.
Only time will tell but given Marinakis’s background and his previous match fixing allegations we could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. On a lighter note it’s great to see that we’ve won our opening three matches of next season; just kidding!
I won’t elaborate on the final home game too much, Forest and Wolves played out a friendly style match with little incident.
The undoubted highlight was Gary Gardner’s superb free kick which earned us a draw, more amusing was the collective sigh of relief that signalled the final whistle of the City Ground season.
Finally; congratulations to Eric Lichaj on his recall to the US national squad. A fine example to youngsters that if you keep working hard and applying yourself you will reap the rewards that follow, well done Eric!