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Aston Villa hires Smith, names Terry assistant

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Aston Villa has found its replacement for Steve Bruce, and he’s added a notable alumnus to his staff.

Dean Smith is the club’s new head coach, and he’s tabbed Chelsea legend and recent Villa center back John Terry as assistant coach. Jesus Garcia Pitarch has been named sporting director, having held similar positions at Atletico Madrid and Valencia.

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Villa’s press release notes that Smith is a lifelong fan of the club, and his resume features stops at Walsall and Brentford.

Terry had been rumored for moves to multiple clubs in continuing his playing career, but instead takes his first steps in management.

“John is one of the most decorated players in English football, has an affinity with the club and is ready to make the next step in his career working alongside Dean,” said CEO Christian Purslow.

Villa is 3W-6D-3L to start the Championship campaign, four points back of the final playoff spot.

As an odd aside, Smith’s son is a standout player at NCAA D-II side Limestone. He sounds pretty excited, as you’d expect.

Report: Faria, Terry may take charge at Aston Villa

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Rui Faria and John Terry worked together at Chelsea for many years and it appears they could be getting the band back together.

A report from Sky Sports states that Faria and Terry are being lined up by Aston Villa as their head coach and assistant manager respectively, with the long-time assistant manager for Jose Mourinho out of work since he left Mourinho’s side over the summer.

Yet separate reports suggest that Faria was happy to be offered the Villa position but is happy enough to spend time away from the game with his family.

Terry, 37, announced his retirement as a player just a few days ago (he played for Villa last season as they lost in the playoff final, coming up one win short of promotion back to the PL) and it is believed he is in the running to take on the vacant manager position at Villa after Steve Bruce was fired.

However it now appears that Terry is instead being lined up as an assistant coach, with previous reports stating he could link up with Thierry Henry in a managerial dream true. Henry is now expected to be handed the AS Monaco job, leaving the Villa position open for Terry, and Faria, to take on.

Faria, 43, was Mourinho’s assistant for 16 years, moving with him from Porto to Chelsea to Inter Milan and Real Madrid, before then heading back to Chelsea and being alongside him at Manchester United. He is represented by super agent Jorge Mendes, with the latter advising Villa in their search for a new manager. Faria worked closely with Terry twice, with the former Chelsea captain winning three PL titles with Faria as his assistant coach. These two know how to build successful teams and win trophies but given the resources at Villa and the unpredictable nature of England’s second-tier, this isn’t an easy job. At all.

Despite its obvious size as a club and Villa’s new Egyptian owners promising to spend what they can under Financial Fair Play restrictions, the lack of interest in this position sums up where the club is at right now.

Bruce assembled an experienced yet ageing squad and although Jack Grealish is talented, Villa face a bit of an uphill battle just to be among the promotion candidates in the Championship this season.

With Derby County hiring Frank Lampard to lead their promotion charge, plus Leeds United going well under Marcelo Bielsa, West Brom flying under Darren Moore and Tony Pulis plugging away at Middlesbrough, Villa are already nine points off the automatic promotion spots.

Add on top the expectation levels from home fans at Villa Park and this is a tough, tough job.

Reports: Aston Villa fires Steve Bruce

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Days after traveling Aston Villa supporters chanted “you don’t know what you’re doing” at Villa manager Steve Bruce, and less than 24 hours after he was the target of a cabbage assault at Villa Park, Bruce has reportedly been fired.

According to Sky Sports, Bruce has been let go after a run of 10 games that featured just a single win. The report has been confirmed by the Birmingham Mail. The club is down to 12th in the Championship table the year after losing in the playoff final.

Most recently, Villa drew 3-3 with Preston North End on Tuesday, the club at the very bottom of the Championship standings. In the match, Villa blew a 2-0 lead and missed a 97th minute penalty that would have won the game. An unidentified fan threw a cabbage at Bruce before the match started.

The move makes Bruce the first manager in the top two tiers of English soccer to lose his managerial position. He would have celebrated his two-year anniversary at the club on October 12. Bruce was not in charge when Villa was relegated in the summer of 2016, but took over for Roberto di Matteo just months after the start of their first season in the Championship since 1988.

According to the Birmingham Mail report, early candidates for the position include former Chelsea and Aston Villa defender John Terry and current Brentford boss Dean Smith. It also states a “number of” foreign managers are under consideration, although no specific names are given. That could be due to the reported likely involvement of popular agent Jorge Mendes, who has a relationship with new Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

Police searching for fan who hurled cabbage at Villa manager Bruce

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Aston Villa drew Championship basement-dwellers Preston North End in a wild match that featured a blown 2-0 lead, a goal for either side after the 86th minute, and a 97th-minute missed penalty that would have given the home side a last-gasp win.

Yet somehow, after all was said and done, a head of lettuce was the headline story from Villa Park.

Police are teaming up with the club to pinpoint the fan who threw a cabbage at Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce in the moments before the match started. “A cabbage was thrown at the dugout from the stand. We are working with the club to identify the person,” said the West Midlands police in a statement.

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“To say it’s disappointing is an understatement for a club like this,” said Bruce in his post-match press conference. “Unfortunately, it sums up the society we are in at the moment. There’s no respect for anyone.”

The cabbage did not make contact with its intended target. It’s unclear how the vegetable made its way past security and into the stadium.

Villa has won just one of its last 10 league matches, falling to 12th in the table. Fans came into the season hoping to challenge for promotion after just missing out to Fulham via the playoff final. Bruce has faced plenty of backlash from fans, including this past weekend when visiting fans chanted “you don’t know what you’re doing” as the final minutes ticked away on a road draw at Bristol City.

Under-fire Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce defends subs after Bristol City draw

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Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce heard it from the fans during and after a 1-1 draw with Bristol City, and he’s been forced to defend himself in the post-match press conference with the club struggling in Championship play.

With Aston Villa looking to snatch a late victory, Bruce withdrew striker Tammy Abraham despite four minutes remaining in regulation. The visiting Villa fans at Ashton Gate Stadium chanted “you don’t know what you’re doing” as Villa failed to score and traveled back home with just a single point.

It leaves Villa 11th in the Championship table with just a single win in its last eight matches following a pair of wins to start the season. After the game, Bruce was asked about the decision to bring off his frontman and the response from the fans, and told reporters that Abraham was suffering from an injury.

“I maybe should have taken him off earlier with a calf injury,” Bruce said in his post-match press conference. “But there is a certain element that I can’t do the right thing about anything. We are not a given to come to Bristol City and turn them over 3-0 or 4-0.”

“Thankfully I have been in it a long time and know in some people’s eyes I will never be the answer,” Bruce continued. “But the most important thing for me is the players were excellent and showed resilience. I thought we had grit and determination in abundance.”

Looking for a respite, Bruce can look to the upcoming schedule knowing he has glaring chances to halt the lowly stretch. Villa next hosts basement-dwellers Preston North End, with a visit to nearby 22nd-placed Millwall to follow.