Ex-star George Boateng laments Aston Villa's slide in Premier League
There will be one spectator watching Aston Villa vs Hull from his Malaysian home with much interest.
The current manager of Kelantan FA is George Boateng – a likeable, funny, and down-to-earth former claret-and-blue ace who is carving a career for himself as a boss in Asia.
Boateng also played for the Tigers between 2008-2010, six years after leaving Villa where he made over 100 appearances.
Having enjoyed a run to the FA Cup Final and regular top-eight finishes during his time in Birmingham, the Dutchman finds it hard to accept Villa’s recent struggles.
“I follow Villa very closely because everywhere I go abroad I get recognised from my Villa days,” said Boateng.
“Whenever I meet Hull fans they all want to talk about the Phil Brown half-time team talk on the pitch, which many still remember.
“I am more critical of Villa, though.
“I think both clubs have different agendas and both are going about their business in different ways, but with the same target which is Premier League survival.
“It’s very painful for me to see Villa going from a top-five Premier League team to a bottom-five Premier League team in recent years.
“The goalposts have dramatically moved because normally they should be playing to get into Europe and win a cup but it’s my former team Hull who have achieved that.
“They should be proud of their achievements up in Humberside.”
Boateng reckons the summer signings at both clubs will help them this season but not necessarily in the short term.
“The players that have come to Villa are more experienced and, yes, it’s good for the dressing room, but I am not sure if they will improve the team immediately,” he said.
“I know that financially Villa is not as big as it used to be under Doug Ellis and there are not as many players who get the fans excited these days, which is a real shame because it’s such a fantastic club with a great fan base.
“I think Joe Cole is a great signing, though. He has so much experience and he is very versatile so he can fit in anywhere in the midfield.
“Senderos should be a decent defender for the club, also.
“Hull fans won’t be happy with me for saying this but I think Villa should have looked at Curtis Davies again. He has great leadership skills and he knows the club and the city.
“I like the way Steve Bruce has gone about his business since the promotion and, slowly, Hull City is becoming the other Tottenham team from Humberside with Livermore, Huddlestone and Dawson already there.
“I am not sure if it was wise to sell Shane Long, especially with Snodgrass being out for a while.”