It has been well over 2 weeks since victory at Wembley which ensured us Premier League football next season. I am sat here in front of my laptop struggling to put in words the whirlwind of emotions this past season has given – which had such the fairytale ending.
We only have to go back to the middle of March where it looked like the season was all but over. Poor performances which included defeats to Brentford and local rivals West Brom saw us sitting mid-table, however after a few stern words from Dean Smith at half time away to Stoke and a promising 2nd half display, this seemed to be the turning point of our season. What followed was a record breaking run.
A return from Injury for Jack Grealish saw Villa thump Derby County and go on a 10 game wining run which also included wins against loacal rivals Birmingham City and Play-Off contenders Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City, Villa had done the impossible and secured a playoff place.
Whilst a lot of credit will go to the returning Grealish and rightly so, I think the whole squad deserves a massive pat on the back for getting us to the play-offs. Speaking of the Play-Offs, in my mind these looked to be tougher fixtures than last season. West Brom. Were first up. I was lucky to get to go to this game at Villa park and I thought we were far the better team and deserved our 2-1 victory. Whilst the game was flat and frustrating at times, this was always down to West Brom’s style of play. I always felt we were in control. The return leg at the Hawthorns, despite losing over the 90 minutes 1-0, again I thought we were the better team and perhaps should have won it before the end of extra time. Jed Steer was the hero when it came to penalties.
There you have it, a 2nd successful Play-off final for the boys.
Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough of get a ticket for the final and probably a good job to be honest as I don’t think my anxiety levels would have taken it. Though now in hindsight I wish I was able to get one. Derby came from behind to defeat Leeds in their semi-final, which was a surprise to everyone and despites our 7-0 aggregate score over the Rams this season, we all knew that would count for nothing. Despite this. other than the last few minutes, I thought again it was a game we very much controlled and were deserving winners.
Fixtures are released tomorrow, perhaps this will be when it really sinks in that we are PREMIER LEAGUE and back home where we belong!
The below will always be a fond moment of our Wembley Victory.