Smith: ‘Villa’s potential is great’

By Graham Hill

VILLA are resassuring fans that defeat to Derby County will see no repeat of last summer’s financial meltdown.

The club almost went into administration and could have been in League One now after missing out on a return to the Premier League when they lost to Fulham at Wembley.

That season’s spending under Chinese owner Tony Xia had depended on Villa winning promotion – and when they did not then the fragile finances of the club became obvious.

Only when new owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens came in did Villa avoid disaster and the pair have since put £68million into the club to steady the ship and provide a platform for promotion.

Now Smith says Villa are much more stable and will be able to cope with the blow of losing to Derby at Wembley on Monday – if that happens.

The Villa boss told reporters: “You have to prepare for winning or losing.

“One way or another, on Monday night we will either be a Premier League team or a Championship team and you have to have two scenarios for it.

“But the difference this year is that the owners we’ve got are fully behind the club. It’s on an even keel and hopefully moving in an upwards direction.

“We all know the financial turmoil the club were in last season, and at the beginning of this, but we’ve got new owners who have got big ambitions – not just for the first team but for the academy as well.

“The restrictions that come with the EFL make it tougher, but if you’re in the Premier League the potential for this club is great.

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