New Villa owner wants club in world's top three in a decade

SoccerBy Sunday World
New Aston Villa owner Xia Jiantong has some grand plans
New Aston Villa owner Xia Jiantong has some grand plans

New Aston Villa owner Xia Jiantong intends to revamp the newly-relegated side in order to spring straight back into the Barclays Premier League.

Villa were relegated from the Premier League for the first time in the club's history, having been one of the 22 founder members of the reformed division in 1992.

The side had never finished below 18th in the top-flight before this season and Xia, a 39-year-old Chinese businessman, is ready to turn their fortunes around with the new manager set to have a sizeable transfer budget.

Speaking to the Guardian, Xia said: "My ambition is to bring Villa to the top six in less than five years and I hope it can be [one of] the top three in the world - even the best well known in the world - in less than 10 years.

"The most critical thing now is to get the right manager.

"(We) need a really good coach who knows how to play in the Championship. It's even harder than the Premiership. We need to figure out how to reorganise the team."

Villa fans held a number of protests throughout the season against former owner Randy Lerner, including protest marches, arriving late to matches and through inflatables on the pitch on the last home game of the season against Newcastle.

Xia is hopeful that fans will get behind him and is eyeing promotion from the Sky Bet Championship at the first attempt.

He said: "Forget the past and think we are going to enter into a new age.

"The first priority is to get promoted. I feel a lot of pressure. I think a lot of Villa fans are eager to get back up to the Premiership, so the next one year will be very tough for me. I hope we can do it."