Villa ap­point Smith, Terry as as­sis­tant

Cyprus Today - - SPORT -

AS­TON Villa have named Dean Smith as their new head coach, with ex-Chelsea de­fender John Terry as his as­sis­tant.

Smith, 47, leaves Brent­ford, who he led to top-10 fin­ishes in the Cham­pi­onship in each of his three sea­sons as boss.

For­mer Eng­land cap­tain Terry, 37, re­tired last Sun­day af­ter leav­ing Villa in the sum­mer, while Je­sus Gar­cia Pitarch joins as sport­ing di­rec­tor.

Villa sacked Steve Bruce on Oc­to­ber 3 af­ter a run of one win in nine Cham­pi­onship games.

For­mer cen­tre-back Smith — whose first man­age­rial role was with Wal­sall — is a life­long Villa fan and joins from a Brent­ford side who are three points and eight places above them in the ta­ble.

Terry earned 78 Eng­land caps, won five Premier League ti­tles, five FA Cups and a Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle in his time at Stam­ford Bridge be­fore leav­ing in 2017 af­ter two decades at the Lon­don club.

Pitarch has been di­rec­tor of foot­ball at Span­ish sides Va­len­cia and Atletico Madrid, help­ing both sides win the Europa League.

“Dean has a clear and suc­cess­ful coach­ing phi­los­o­phy as well as a real un­der­stand­ing of As­ton Villa Foot­ball Club. He is also knowl­edge­able about the Cham­pi­onship,” said Villa CEO Chris­tian Purslow.

“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.”

Villa had to iden­tify other can­di­dates to re­place Bruce af­ter their ini­tial choices; Thierry Henry, Bren­dan Rodgers and for­mer Manch­ester United as­sis­tant Rui Faria all ruled them­selves out of con­tention.

Smith’s first game in charge will be against Swansea at Villa Park next Satur­day, with the club still only four points out­side the play-offs in a con­gested Cham­pi­onship ta­ble.

The Bees say as­sis­tant head coach Thomas Frank will take train­ing on Thurs­day fol­low­ing Smith’s de­par­ture.

“Not only an ex­cel­lent head coach but a thor­oughly de­cent man. I wish him all the best in the fu­ture,” said Brent­ford CEO Mark Devlin.

Villa, rel­e­gated from the Premier League in 2016, reached the Cham­pi­onship play-off fi­nal in May, but they lost to Ful­ham and missed out on a re­turn to the top flight, which would have been worth in ex­cess of £160 mil­lion to the club.

That de­feat kick-started a sum­mer of tur­moil.

Fi­nan­cial is­sues came to light as they missed a £4 mil­lion tax pay­ment in June, with then-owner Dr Tony Xia un­der­stood to have cash flow prob­lems be­cause of strict rules about money leav­ing his na­tive China.

An agree­ment was reached with HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms over the pay­ment, but chief ex­ec­u­tive Keith Wy­ness was sus­pended and sub­se­quently ex­ited the club, be­fore di­rec­tor of foot­ball Steve Round’s de­parted in July.

Bil­lion­aire busi­ness­men Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris even­tu­ally stepped in with “sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment”, but a poor start to the cam­paign and grow­ing sup­porter un­rest saw Bruce de­part.

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