It’s been four years and a day since Steve Bruce revealed a ‘five-year’ plan to get Aston Villa back into the top-six of the Premier League despite Villa languishing in the Championship at the time – their first season in the second tier after relegation the previous summer. Dr Tony Xia backed him up on Twitter and said he wants to aim for a higher position in the top-flight, leading to a lot of mockery given their lowly position.

Bruce said on Villa’s YouTube channel: “In five years, if we’re an established Premier League team, I’ll be very happy. I think that’s what we’ve got to try and achieve. It’s going to be very difficult to try to break into the top six or seven of the Premier League, but I think that’s got to be the aim.”

Villa were 12th in the Championship with 51 points from 38 games, 11 points adrift of the playoffs, so there was little chance of getting out of the second tier that campaign. The Midlands outfit ended up finishing 13th and Bruce would be sacked months into the following season, so things didn’t work out.

Dean Smith replaced Bruce and led Villa to the playoffs in 2017/18, but they lost in the final to Fulham. Xia’s financial gamble didn’t pay off and the club were at risk of a winding up order. The following season did see Villa finally return to the Premier League, but they did it without Bruce and Xia.

Dr Tony sold his majority stake in Villa to NSWE in July 2018 and Smith led Villa to promotion a year later, so fans were glad to see the back of their former owner and manager.

And now the Villans are 10th in the league after 28 games, so they’ve definitely turn things around.