Ray Houghton has been talking up his old club.
Aston Villa are looking for a new manager after parting company with Steve Bruce.
Villa are 15th in the Championship but only four points off the play-offs, in what looks to be a very competitive second tier this season.
The likes of Thierry Henry and John Terry are amongst the favourites to take over.
Ray Houghton claims that the carrot for anybody taking the job is that they have so much potential, especially when it comes to attracting fans.
The former Villa player saying that the club are now the ‘big hitters’ in the Championship, just like Newcastle were two years earlier.
Houghton says that ‘what is on offer’ is to grow the crowds like Newcastle United did to ‘54,000 fans coming to watch all the games…’
Villa have got a decent history, just like Newcastle United, but in terms of crowds in the modern era they aren’t anything special.
In the Premier League era they have only once managed to scrape a 40,000 average and that was 40,029 in 2007/08.
In that 2016/17 season in the Championship, Newcastle’s crowds actually went up!
Having averaged 49,754 in the 2015/16 Premier League, with Rafa sticking around, Newcastle got 51,106 on average in the second tier – Villa on 32,107.
Last season, with Newcastle not around, Villa topped the Championship crowds with an average of 32,097, just ahead of Leeds with 31,521.
Whilst this season, it is Leeds (32,942) just edging it from Villa (31,440).
So I’m not quite sure you can even claim Villa are the undisputed ‘big hitter’ in the second tier, never mind what might happen if they got back to the Premier League.
Looking back down the seasons, Aston Villa tend to average around 35,000 in the Premier League.
Ray Houghton speaking to the Daily Record:
“Taking the Aston Villa job would be a bit like managing Newcastle when they were in the second tier – they (Villa) are the big hitters in the division.
“Most people are looking at them to do well and if you do, that then look what happened at Newcastle.
“You have got 54,000 fans coming to watch all the games, so that is what is on offer.
“There is no doubt Aston Villa are a huge club.”