Aston Villa sack Sporting Director over poor player recruitment

Just a day after Villa had secured Premier League survival by virtue of a 1-1 draw with West Ham, the club moved to dismiss Pitarch, who oversaw £140m of spending on players last summer.

It’s understood that the powers that be at Aston Villa are unhappy with the player recruitment this season, but are happy with manager Dean Smith – reports claim that he would have stayed at Villa Park regardless of whether the club were relegated to the Championship.

Smith is allegedly responsible for the capture of Tom Heaton and Tyrone Mings, but several underperforming signings such as Wesley, Marvelous Nakamba and Mbwana Samatta were all on the Sporting Director’s watch.

Whoever the club bring in to replace the outgoing Jesus Gracia Pitarch will have a job on their hands, with their first task the unenviable challenge of keeping hold of star player and talisman Jack Grealish.

West Ham United 1-1 Aston Villa: Villa secure Premier League survival at West Ham

With Watford losing away at Arsenal, Dean Smith’s side have survived by the skin of their teeth in a dramatic final 15 minutes at the London Stadium.

The tension was palpable right from kick off in East London, with the Villa bench spending much of the game checking for updates elsewhere.

Villa did create more in a nervy first half, with Mbwana Samatta testing Lukasz Fabianksi.

But as the nerves began to creep up after the break, Villa allowed the Hammers back into the game, as Michail Antonio wasted a brilliant chance.

Skipper Jack Grealish did look to have had ahead his Roy of the Rovers moment, as he fired home John McGinn’s pass with five to go.

But Villa fans have learnt to things the hard way this season, as Grealish deflected home Andriy Yarmolenko’s strike for an instant equaliser.

Dean Smith was torn between his team and his tablet in the closing minutes, but in the end, his side and just just enough to hold on.

FULL TIME AT THE LONDON STADIUM IT’S WST HAM 1 ASTON VILLA 1