Smith: Villa almost ‘did a Bury’

By Graham Hill

DEAN Smith admits Aston Villa almost went under like Bury last year after some ‘scary times’.

And he warned that the same thing could happen to clubs looking to spend big in a bid to reach the Premier League.

Villa came close to being declared bankrupt last summer after missing out on promotion when they lost the Championship play-off final to Fulham under Steve Bruce.

Former chairman Tony Xia could not meet a tax bill of over £4million – but the club were saved from going bust when billionaires Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris took over.

A year later, they bankrolled a £127million spending spree for Smith – but the Villa boss knows how close the club came to the brink.

And he says he is as careful with the club’s money as he was as manager of Walsall and Brentford.

The Villa boss said ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace: “We all know the trouble Villa were in after that play-off final defeat.

“I followed it as a fan. It was scary times for a club like Villa to potentially go into liquidation. The owners came in at the right time.

“We are very fortunate they’re wealthy men who have the club at heart and the best interests of how they want to get Villa moving forwards.”

Snith says if that can happen to Villa, it can happen to anyone.

He added: “There are an awful lot of big football clubs in the Championship who are pushing the boat out trying to get back into the Premier League because of the financial rewards that are there.

“Tread that path with caution – because not every team can be successful and the ones that aren’t are the ones who can get caught out.”

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