Villa fan passionately fights Smith's corner ahead of City arrival

Aston Villa Manager Dean Smith and Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke before the Sky Bet Championship m

Dean Smith during his time as Aston Villa boss, welcoming Daniel Farke ahead of Norwich sealing the Championship title in May 2019 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Annoyed by the unsure reaction of some Norwich City fans to Dean Smith's imminent arrival, one Aston Villa supporter took to the Pink Un message board to defend a manager that most Villans will always have affection for.

Under the username Randy.Stand, the Villa fan fought the corner of the man expected to be confirmed as the new Canaries head coach, having lost his job at Villa Park last Sunday.

Here, we bring you their post in full...

Villa fan in peace. I honestly think Deano is getting a bad rap on here and people not actually realising what a good job he has done throughout his career. So stick with me - I'll try and settle your minds a bit on it.

Smith had his coaching education as assistant to Martin Ling at Leyton Orient before moving to Walsall as a youth coach. He took over as caretaker manager at Walsall before being given the head coach job. Remember this is Walsall, a club who sell their best players, never re-invest any money and solely rely on loans and free transfers.

Under Smith, they were regularly challenging at the top of League One, vying for promotion to the Championship. They were second when he left for Brentford and they lost out in the play-offs to Barnsley in the end. Walsall have nosedived since and are just keeping their heads afloat in League Two.

At Brentford he went in and took them from a bottom half club to vying for the play-offs each and every season. Together with the smart recruitment strategy at Brentford, he developed so many players. Ollie Watkins was brought in from Exeter for pennies, sold for £30million. Said Benrahma another one. There are so many examples.

He left Brentford for one reason and it was the Villa job, but he left them in a really healthy place for Thomas Frank, his assistant, to continue the work done and fight for promotion, which eventually happened. 

Most Read

He came into Villa which was an absolutely sorry state at the time. Hours away from liquidation until our new owners came in and saved the day. Bruce with his backwards recruitment left us with one fit centre-half and another playing with an injury which eventually cost him his Villa career (James Chester).

Smith came in and instantly galvanised the place. Yes, you could say we had the likes of Jack Grealish, Tammy Abraham and John McGinn, top players at that level, but Grealish was nothing like the Jack Grealish you think of today. He took him under his wing and took him on that journey to the player he is today.

Without Smith, Grealish was nothing. We had a good run when he first came in, dipped a bit in the new year when Grealish was injured, Smith went about correcting the unbalanced side Bruce had left by loaning Tyrone Mings & Kortney Hause in the January.

Then from sitting in 13th, took us on a club-record 10-game winning run which culminated in the play-off final at Wembley in the May, beating Frank Lampard's Derby. When he came in, the owners wanted promotion within a couple of seasons. Dean did it within seven months. 

Whilst promotion was great, it left us some big problems. We lost 15 members of our playing staff due to contracts expiring or loans returning to their parent clubs. People will talk about how Villa spent £120m that summer but it was on 11 players at an average of £9m per player.

We had to do that as we literally had no squad, we had to somehow build a squad ready for whatever league we were playing in. Yes we were fortunate we had the backing of the very wealthy and ambitious owners, but even so, it was never going to be an easy task.

We were okay until Christmas, keeping our heads above water. We struggled in the new year, despite making it to the League Cup final after beating Leicester over two legs in the semi-final. We were on a bad run which coincided with losing Heaton, McGinn and Wesley to long term injuries and Covid-19 struck and probably saved our season and Dean's job.

He was able to take stock over lockdown, came back and we had a much improved defence and ended the season with four matches unbeaten to stay up. Some will say Hawkeye kept us up, but worth remembering there were nine and a half fixtures left following that incident (against Sheffield United) - so much football still to play.

And then that summer we replaced the sporting director, brought in some smart signings such as Watkins, Matty Cash and Emi Martinez, and tied Grealish down to a new deal. Had a strong first half of the season and everyone through Europe was on the cards.

We stuttered somewhat, again coincided with injuries to Grealish, Ross Barkley and Bertrand Traore and finished 11th. The summer is where it kind of unravelled. 

Richard O'Kelly and John Terry both left for different reasons, leaving Smith a bit vulnerable. A couple of new coaches came in on the advice of the sporting director and owners and it never seemed to click. Losing Grealish was massive, yes we took £100m but he was our talisman, he was Aston Villa and replacing him was going to be difficult.

Again injuries have been rife - we still are yet to see Danny Ings, Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey on the same pitch for more than 15 minutes together. We have had some flashes of brilliance this season, winning at Old Trafford and hammering Everton at Villa Park but overall it has not been great - but as I say, there are various reasons for that happening.

I was still convinced Smith would have turned it around because he always does.

Most of all, he is such a good man, a good footballing man. He is adaptable, understands he makes mistakes and works to put them right. He is a brilliant man manager who builds strong relationships with his players. The players were gutted when he left Villa last week.

He predominantly plays a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 and will certainly get Billy Gilmour and Todd Cantwell in the team if he joins you guys. When it really works for Smith, it really works and the football can be a joy to watch.

It's important he gets his right backroom team in. If he could bring O'Kelly and Shakespeare alongside him, you guys would be fine.

He's not a sexy name but, for where you guys are, I genuinely think he is a perfect fit. He has experience of a relegation battle and if worst comes to the worst and you go down, he has extensive knowledge and experience of the Championship and you'd back him to get you straight back up. I hope he takes the job as the guy deserves it. 

Villa fans are so grateful to him, came in when we were floundering for a third season in the Championship in 15th place - he leaves us as a regular fixture again in the Premier League, albeit going through a bad patch but with the tools to improve once again.

Good luck for the rest of the season. 

- Click here to read the full thread and all of the latest City discussions on the Pink Un messageboard

NCFC EXTRA: Shakespeare poised to join Smith at Norwich City

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter