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Aston Villa revival sparked by local boys Smith, Grealish

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 407

Pin Aston Villa revival sparked by local boys Smith, Grealish.
Aston Villa revival sparked by local boys Smith, Grealish.

Aston Villa revival sparked by local boys Smith, Grealish

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 407

Led by a manager steeped in the club's rich history and inspired by a dynamic young star who bleeds claret and blue, Aston Villa return to the Premier League united at last after years of turmoil.

After three seasons in the Championship wilderness, Villa are back in the big time with boss Dean Smith and midfielder Jack Grealish providing a home-grown foundation that could give them a base to take on English football's monied elite.

Villa are more than just another club to Smith and Grealish, with the locally born boss once sweeping terraces of the Holte End while his father Ron worked as a steward in the Trinity Road Stand.

A down-to-earth character, the 48-year-old Smith served his managerial apprenticeship at Walsall and Brentford before taking over at Villa following Steve Bruce's sacking in October.

Guiding his boyhood team to promotion with a 2-1 Championship play-off final win over Derby was a sweet moment for Smith in front of his family and friends.

But the celebrations at Wembley were tinged with sadness due to the absence of his ailing father, who suffers from dementia.

"I think this team has caught the imagination of our supporters. There's a great bond between the two," Smith said as he counts down the days to Villa's Premier League opener at Tottenham on August 10.

Grealish, born a stone's throw from Villa Park, is equally ingrained in the ethos of the club he supported in his youth.

The 23-year-old has been at Villa since he was six, a time when he used to dive into the bushes in his back garden to mimic the celebrations of players who would leap into the stands when he watched his heroes in claret and blue.

Now Villa's captain, Grealish has cast off a reputation as something of a wild child and showed his maturity by responding to being punched by a Birmingham fan during last season's derby at St Andrew's by scoring the winner that kept his side on course for promotion.

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