Smith: Villa de­served to stay up so peo­ple can say what they like about our ‘ghost goal’ con­tro­versy

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By John Percy

Dean Smith, who will give a de­but to goal­keeper Emil­iano Martinez tonight, has in­sisted that last sea­son’s Hawk-Eye con­tro­versy did not save As­ton Villa from rel­e­ga­tion.

Martinez will start the sea­son as Smith’s new No1 af­ter his £20mil­lion move from Ar­se­nal, with Sh­effield United re­turn­ing to Villa Park for the first time since the in­fa­mous “ghost goal” mo­ment.

United were fu­ri­ous in June af­ter the Hawk-Eye goal-line sys­tem failed – Oliver Nor­wood’s free-kick was bun­dled over the line by Or­jan

Ny­land but seven cam­eras failed to pick up the in­ci­dent and ref­eree Michael Oliver did not re­ceive a sig­nal on his watch to in­di­cate a goal.

The match ended in a 0-0 draw, with Hawk-Eye of­fer­ing an un­re­served apol­ogy af­ter the match.

Five weeks later, Villa avoided the drop by just one point but, ahead of the re­match, Smith claims his team de­served to stay up.

“There is no as­ter­isk next to our name over last sea­son and peo­ple can say what they want about the goal,” the Villa head coach said. “We stayed

Look­ing ahead: Dean Smith is con­fi­dent As­ton Villa will not be in a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle

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