Villa ‘refurbishment’ with money from Grealish sale on track, says Malaysian fan

M.Minaashini says it is fate – and her brothers – that made her an Aston Villa fan.

And while the former European champion is going through a poor spell, she is confident the money invested in new players from the Jack Grealish sale, and Dean Smith’s astute management style, will pay dividends.

She tells Twentytwo13 her hopes for the season.

Your thoughts on Jack Grealish leaving for Manchester City.

Minaashini: He is an exceptional player. I have not seen a player as good as him and was sad that he left for City. He led the team well and created many exciting moments when he was with us. He wanted Champions League football, and I am happy he got his wish, but it would have been better if he did it with us!

Villa is 13th. Do you think Dean Smith is the right person to take the club to the next level?

Minaashini: Growing up, Martin O’Neill was my favourite manager. After that, things went downhill. Smith is quite a good manager and did bring us back to the Premier League in his first season (2018-2019). I would say he is doing all right, and I still have faith in him, although I have been baffled by some of his substitutions.

Where do you think Villa will finish this season?

Minaashini: I would love it if we finished in the top five to qualify for Europe. We have the players to do so, but realistically, seventh is a good shout. We need a bit of luck in our games to get the right results. Hopefully, we can also do well in the FA Cup.

Do you think the club owner – NSWE Group – can do more in the transfer market?

Minaashini: They bought well in the summer, and there is no need to spend crazy money. We have a good squad, and they need time to make an impact.


When and why did you support Aston Villa?

Minaashini: It is because of my three elder brothers. When we were younger, they were playing football games on the computer. I wanted to join them, so they picked a team for me. The first on the list was Arsenal, but they refused to give me the Gunners. They selected the next one – Aston Villa. That was in 2004.

So, every night, I joined them and played with Aston Villa. Over time, I grew to love the team and started watching them on television. You can say Aston Villa chose me!

Who was your favourite player growing up? How about in the current team?

Minaashini: It was Dion Dublin, although his career at Villa was nearly over when I started following them. He scored many goals, including the winner against Bolton in the FA Cup semi-final in 2002. Unfortunately, Chelsea beat us 1-0 in the final.

From the current squad, I like John McGinn (midfielder), Tyrone Mings (defender) and love Emiliano Martinez (goalkeeper).

I cannot believe Arsenal let Martinez go as he has been one of our best players since joining last season. If he were still at Arsenal, he would not be Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper. So, the move not only worked out for us, but him as well.

Have you ever been to Villa Park?

Minaashini: Unfortunately, I have not been there. It is on my bucket list. It would be a dream come true to watch them play in their stadium. Let’s see how it is once the borders open up and the Covid-19 situation settles down.

Do you think Villa can hold on to Ollie Watkins?

Minaashini: I hope so. He has plenty of potential, but it is 50-50 that he will stay, as many teams are interested in him. What I like about him is that he never gives up. He keeps trying to score but is not selfish. I hope he can get more goals this season.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)

Leicester vs Arsenal (7.30pm)
Watford vs Southampton (10pm)
Liverpool vs Brighton (10pm)
Newcastle vs Chelsea (10pm)
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace (10pm)
Burnley vs Brentford (10pm)

Tottenham vs Manchester United (12.30am)
Norwich vs Leeds (10pm)

Aston Villa vs West Ham (12.30am)

Wolves vs Everton (4am)

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