It's that time of year again where I like to preview the season, but it's too bloody hard. How can I preview players I know little about? I could pretend and copy and paste from a lot of other websites (changing the text slightly) and make it out like I watched some of these players a lot last season, but the truth is you wouldn't believe me.
I simply don't know most of these players, even though there is a good chance I've seen them play. I don't know their strengths or weaknesses and I don't know if they're actually any good. Not many of us do. In fairness very few do. I'd be very surprised if Tim Sherwood has actually seen them all play in person.
So this season preview is merely about hope and optimism and what could happen and this post is a holding post to the one in January which will focus on the first half of the season, a sort of state of the Aston Villa post. But we have to have hope and optimism, because in football anything can happen and you have to start the season in this frame of mind, regardless. Look at The Clowns.
So, we'll start with the post around your Aston Villa XI. We've had just over 800 responses and it would be really nice if we could get to 1,000 before looking at the results. So if you haven't filled it in, please click here and do it. If you have, it would be really nice if you share, so we can get to that 1,000 number. What I can tell you before the results come out is that Brad Guzan is the clear favourite choice for goalkeeper by a huge margin.
So what can we best hope for?
I really don't like the word transition even though there is always going to be some form of transition when a new manager comes in, this season is a little different. However transition doesn't have to take three months or six months or an entire season.
Transition can be I've bought a new Mac and I copy over the files - it took four hours, I've transitioned. But it's a good excuse and it's one that we can all use or connect to. So this season, it's why I want to hope, because it all comes down to Tim Sherwood and if this summer is anything to go by, it's going to be a pretty interesting season.
It's going to be interesting because you can not not like Tim Sherwood. He has this confidence about him that you only get from success and knowing you're all good and let's be clear, he's had a fair amount of success in his career and I don't just mean as a player. I know many joke about this and use the basis of the team he took over, but he did have a 50% win record at Spurs and even though he only moved us up one place after taking over in February, his win record with us is 43.75% and he took us to a Wembley final.
When you see Tim Sherwood smiling and having a laugh, it's not just because he is a top bloke, it's because he knows. As long as things are getting better, he's going to have this swagger about him. I hope it continues to go good, because I don't think any of us want to see Tim Sherwood without this swagger.
But to nail my hope to a mast, I think the best we can hope for this season is top eight. Go on, give me some stick for that.
Behaviour breeds behaviour
Yes, I'm bringing out a classic. You see, if Tim believes and he has this swagger, the players will believe and they'll have the swagger. He is on record as saying he wanted winners and the suggestion was the players that were not mentally winners were going to go. It looks like he's done that and he's now got a group of his players that will play by his rules.
So can't we just hope it goes well and why can't we give the manager to January to figure out his best formation and time for the players to gel and get to know each other. It's easy to write that I don't think it will be as bad as last season and it's quite a stretch, but the truth is, I don't think it will be as bad as last season.
But I just know that some people will slag off some of the players, just like loads used to slag off Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker and now think they're the best thing since retina screens. My thinking is, let's give the manager fifteen games and all of the new players fifteen games and let's see how they do. But also let us hope it rubs off and things come together as they can.
For me, that's my not a season preview post. Will get a post in January where I hope to be able to write that Tim Sherwood still has his swagger and he's starting to build something at Aston Villa that is truly his and working. For now I'm going to cut the grass.