In one of his most recent tweets, the owner of Aston Villa, Dr Tony Xia spoke about creating an “only results matter” culture at the club.
Twitter: A crucial month. Time to build real confidence and ‘only results matter’ culture at Villa as RECON always did as firm culture.#Septemberwish (@Dr_TonyXia)
The difficulty is that you can’t artificially create a mentality. If you could, every corporation and sports team in the world would have already done so. I’m not saying that a certain culture can’t exist at football clubs – they certainly do – but they exist through a more organic means of the club’s own history and circumstance.
You can try and navigate the club towards a mentality but you cant force the staff to adopt it fully if they don’t want to. You can lead a horse to water, but you know the rest. Identities of individuals and teams have to be forged and not forced for them to work.
Aston Villa needed to change from the Lerner era to the Xia era. Of that, there is no doubt. However, the change needed was in attitude, of both the board and the players. For the most part, this has already been accomplished. The board was swept clean of its ineptitude and its blase attitude when Dr Xia purchased the club, and nearly all of the squad that got relegated has been moved on. In two years, a new Aston Villa has been put together and now must be allowed to develop naturally.
There is an upside to saying that only results matter, and that is that it frees the coaching staff from having to adhere to one single style of play. Having a so called philosophy is extremely limiting and only really works when being implemented by clubs with limitless resources. Steve Bruce and his successors must be free to do as they see fit with the players they have as long as the results are acceptable. Dr Xia for his part seems to be on board with this.
The only culture Aston Villa need is one of respect for the traditions and fans of one of England’s grand old clubs. Anything after that is superficial re-branding at a time when the focus should be on rebuilding.