It looks like we've done our business and the season starts this weekend, so it's about time to look at what could and should happen. It feels like now is a good time to make a prediction.
I like this post but I've not done one in a while because it's been pretty much a bunch of lads in the pub, but things are different now. I've not said that things feel different, I'm convinced that things are.
So, I'm going to start with my pub reference and the reason this post didn't happen for a while, even though we had the owners and things were getting better. It was because of the CEO and while I don't think I ever hid my views on him, I'm going to put it in black and white now, I think he was a charlatan.
Now he's gone, it feels like the Club is very much heading in the right direction. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Christian Purslow is a great guy with a great story or two, but he was sacked by Chelsea and Liverpool and showed his colours at Aston Villa.
When he was fired, someone on Twitter wanted to thank him and posted something about all the great work. I replied wanting to know what he did that wasn't going to happen without him and there was no response.
We can all support what is happening and that is what a good CEO does, support the team around him. A great CEO pushes his or her team to places where they are not comfortable but where he or she knows they will shine, because of the rest of the team he or she has created. Purslow didn't understand that and appointing Steven Gerrard demonstrated it. Appointing Gerrard demonstrated the opposite. There was no calculation in the risk and it was jobs for the boys.
Football isn't rocket science and there are playbooks, but you have to take calculated risks and be looking forward. You do that and you move forward, he didn't understand that and thought his role was bigger than it was. He'll be the CEO in Saudi Arabia soon, if he's lucky.
How it looks today
I'd not be surprised if our manager was asked his views on the CEO and it's possibly why we have Ramón Rodriguez Verdejo in the job today. I'm fairly sure it's not a coincidence and when you look at the managerial record of Emery, you just have to accept the man can walk on water. It looks so much better today in every department. Even Phil McNulty has us finishing fifth this season with his article predicting where everyone will finish on the BBC.
Now, it's just past 11am for me and I've not had as much to drink as Phil had when he was hitting publish on that post, but you have to look at it and what the manager did in his first few months and accept that it is possible. Me and working on the basis of what the manager did and following the trend line, I think we could do better, I really do, but I think we'll do better than what we did last season. I'm not going to predict fifth, but I will say sixth.
I don't think Chelsea or Spurs will be above us and there is a part of me that questions if second choice Eddie will cope. Don't get me wrong, what Newcastle have achieved is impressive, but they have a big distraction this season. Our distraction can arguably be supported by the squad while the distraction Newcastle have is one they'll want the first team to be involved in.
It's also not just about the Clubs I've mentioned, there are others. But the thing that I keep coming back to is our manager. He's a proven winner and by that I mean he hasn't just won something once, he's done it, time after time after time and in more than one place.
What should happen
So, we'll continue our approach to games that we saw last season and I firmly believe we'll see the same type of performances. What I believe should happen is that we'll lose less games. Since the manager took over, his win percentage as a manager is only better at PSG but he's had the summer to bring in some players and he's had pre-season to get the players playing closer to the way he wants.
We'll win more, maybe not massively more but we will. And because we'll be losing less there will be more draws. We're essentially going to do better because the manager has had time, he's got some of his players and we're heading in the right direction. It's natural and logical to assume we should do better than last season.
What could happen
Now, this is where things are going to go a little wonky for me but I want to emphasise the word 'could'. You see, of all the silverware our manager has won he's only won the League once and that was with PSG and this isn't me saying we're going to win silverware this season, but I am saying we could. I'm saying this is what the manager is so good at. It's what he lives for. He's a winner.
If West Ham can win something, so can we. If Leicester under Deluded Brendan can win the FA Cup so can we. If Manchester City don't take the League Cup seriously, then maybe we can. I say that with a smile.
It could happen. I don't think it means we take anything less serious. I think ultimately we have a squad of players now that are better than last season and that is so we can do better than last season. Better than last season is sixth, but better is also going further in competitions. I'm not saying we are going to, I'm saying we could.
It could also be, because the transfer window is open for the rest of the month, that we see a player or two coming in and there are rumours circulating this morning that suggest we might need to bring a player in. You never know. What we should know is that if it could happen, it's a positive.
It's been a while since I thought it could and that this is the feeling going into the season is nice and I guess on Saturday, we'll find out.
What a time to be an Aston Villa fan.