Here are five reasons for the club and their fans to feel positive...
1) Alex McLeish is gone - and Paul Lambert is in
Alex McLeish is a manager few fans want to hear of at Villa Park again, his reign was a disaster and he came perilously close to getting the club relegated. Say what you like about Villa's board from appointing him in the first place, they acted quickly to sack him and should be praised for taking decisive action. In his place comes Paul Lambert, one of the most highly rated young managers in the game. In his playing days, a Champions League winner with Dortmund, he has a wealth of experience to bring to the table. He achieved two successive promotions with Norwich, and led them to a higher finish than Villa in his debut season. He will be keen not to lose the momentum he has built up and cement his impressive reputation.
2) Brett Holman
Australian playmaker Brett Holman agreed a deal with Villa to sign on a free, and he could prove to be one of the signings of the summer. The 28-year-old helped AZ Alkmaar finish fourth in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, and was voted the Australian player of the year by his fellow professionals. Importantly, he will help Villa become a little less predictable in attack. He can play as a second striker, and also as a winger, and his arrival hints at a more open style of football next season after the turgid offering which was served up in 2011/12.
3) Andreas Weimann and Gary Gardner
Last season was a tough time to blood the youngsters, but having come out the other side surviving relegation, hopefully they will be better for it. Andreas Weimann scored two crucial goals to earn the side four points at the tail end of the season, and he will start the season as a senior striker, joining Darren Bent in attack. With Holman in support too, Villa are well placed, but still need to sign another forward. Gary Gardner is another who is very highly rated, after finishing Villa's NextGen Series campaign as the highest English goalscorer in the competition with six goals, he became a regular in the first team for the second half of the season. He will hope to use that tough experience to improve and reap rewards over the year ahead.
4) Darren Bent will be fresh and raring to go
He may not have been able to prevent England's dismal style of football, but there is no argument that Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad would have been stronger had Bent been fit. As it was he narrowly missed out, and can focus on his rehabilitation and getting back for Villa. Bent is a proven goalscorer and will continue to offer an outlet to Villa. The good thing about him missing Euro 2012 is that he will have no fatigue heading into the new season, and this can only be good for his club. He will be keen to remind fans just what he can do.
5) More signings are on the way
Paul Lambert is just getting started at Villa. Karim El Ahmadi of Feyenoord is on his way, strengthening the side in the centre of midfield, and he won't be the only one. Villa have been strongly linked with a number of full-backs on the left and right, and arrivals are expected to keep on coming throughout July. A new striker should also be on the list, while if Lambert decides Jean Makoun is worth a second shot, the Greek title winner's return will be like having a new signing. All in all it will be an exciting summer for Villa fans, as unlike last season they are hanging onto their main stars and not selling, and it is all about the prospective incomings.
Are you excited for the season to kick off? Where do Villa need to strengthen?
image: © ell brown