Football

Villa Manager Dean Smith Made Promise To Ill Father Before Playoff Final

Villa Manager Dean Smith Made Promise To Ill Father Before Playoff Final

"The reality is just setting in," Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said after his side won Monday's Championship playoff final, earning promotion back to the Premier League after three years in English football's second tier.

"The last time I sat here I was not so good as we'd just lost 2-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy final with Walsall."

On Friday, Smith went to visit his father, Ron, who is in a care home living with dementia. There, he made him a promise.

He opened his eyes open for two minutes maximum. During that two minutes, I said, ‘next time I come and see you, I’ll be a Premier League manager’.

I got a smile, if not anything more. Hopefully, there was an understanding but it's a terrible illness. Everybody who knows somebody who's suffered from it knows that it's tough to deal with.

Smith said that the club had planned extensively for two outcomes following Monday's game: being a Premier League team next season and being a Championship side. He added that he expects John Terry to continue working at Villa Park next season.

As Villa celebrated victory, captain Jack Grealish suffered a cut above his eye when the trophy banged off his forehead. Smith said it was nothing more than a "papercut".

"He must be good, he told me he loves me.

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"I've got a special connection with the lad, he's a Villa fan, he's been through a lot in his career so far.

"A lot of people's perceptions of him are him lying in a road when he was 17 or 18. He was thrust into the limelight as a young kid, but boy the kid has matured."

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PJ Browne
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