Official: Richard O’Kelly leaves Aston Villa coaching role, Dean Smith reaction

Just two days before our first Premier League game of the new season, Aston Villa will have to deal with another departing member of the coaching staff.

Dean Smith saw John Terry leave the club earlier this month as he looks to take the next step in his managerial career, and so that would naturally have left a void in the coaching set-up that still needs to be filled.

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Craig Shakespeare remains on hand to help the Villa boss as his assistant, but it looks as though there might need to be a shake up in the coaching ranks as soon as possible, with the official announcement as per the club that O’Kelly has also now left.

The reasoning for the split remains unclear at this stage, but it’s hoped that Smith will offer some clarity on the situation moving forward in his press conference on Friday.

Whether or not he is expecting to be able to imminently add another member to his coaching staff remains to be seen, but it seems either an internal reshuffle or bringing in replacements was being planned for in recent weeks given Terry’s exit.

It’s not an ideal scenario to be in on the cusp on a new campaign, but ultimately Smith and his squad will be ready for this weekend and it’s hoped that an announcement is made sooner rather than later on any replacements.

What O’Kelly said on Villa departure

“Over the past three years I have had the tremendous privilege of being part of the progression of Aston Villa Football Club.  The investment by the owners in the state-of-the art facilities and recruitment in all areas has set the standards for Aston Villa to be a top club and achieve even greater success in the years to come.

“I have hugely enjoyed my time here; one of my favourite aspects of the job has been working with the talented and driven backroom team.  There is a fantastic culture amongst the staff who have all shown the ability to pull together in the same direction and support each other, including through some challenging times.  This is mirrored by the group of young ambitious players and more experienced role models that now form the first team squad, as well as the staff at the vibrant academy who create the perfect environment for the stars of tomorrow.

“I have witnessed first-hand Dean’s excellent leadership and coaching skills.  He is a top manager and I will take with me great memories of working with him and the other coaches. I am very grateful to the club and its wonderful fans for their support and will enjoy continuing to follow the Villa on its journey.”

Smith reacts to O’Kelly leaving Villa

“Richard has worked with me for the best part of a decade and we have always had a really close relationship. We are friends as well as colleagues and I will miss him. I would like to thank him on a personal level for the dedication and support he has always given me and on behalf of everyone at Aston Villa we wish him all the very best for the future.”