Sunday, July 22, 2018 03:19:13 AM
John Terry has pledged to lead Aston Villa back into the Premier League as the Championship season kicks off with a host of big-spending clubs gearing up for a frenzied promotion battle.
After winning 15 major honours in 22 years with Chelsea, Terry had to search for a new club following his release at the end of last season and rejected interest from several Premier League clubs to sign a o60,000-per-week deal with Villa.
Terry's presence in the second tier will keep Villa in the spotlight while Steve Bruce's side battle to return to the top-flight after a two-year absence.
But the former England star knows he won't have an easy ride as he plays his first matches outside the Premier League since a brief loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 2000.
Given Villa's abject failures in recent years and the cut-throat nature of the Championship, the 36-year-old believes winning promotion at a club that finished 18 points adrift of the play-offs last season would rank among the finest achievements of his glittering career.
"It would be really special, it would be up there for me. To step out of my comfort zone was a big decision," Terry said.
"It's probably one of the most unpredictable leagues within world football. "We have to go up as champions, if not automatically.
"Does that bring more pressure on you? Probably. Do we like that as a group? Yeah. With the history of this club, it deserves to be back in the Premier League."
All three teams relegated from the Premier League have undergone painful changes as they try to bounce back at the first attempt.
Garry Monk's o30 million investment on Jonny Howson, Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga has convinced the bookmakers Middlesbrough are promotion favourites in their new manager's first season after leaving Leeds.
In contrast, Sunderland are still mired in recriminations, as Darron Gibson proved when the former Manchester United midfielder was filmed in a bar making a foul-mouthed rant about his team-mates following a friendly thrashing against Celtic last weekend.
That blow to squad morale was the last thing new Sunderland boss Simon Grayson needed ahead of what may be a trying year following the departures of star striker Jermain Defoe and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
"This is not going to happen overnight with the project we are on. We have to give the supporters something to cheer about," Grayson said.
Hull are also under new management, with Russian Leonid Slutsky the fascinating choice to replace Marco Silva following the Portuguese coach's move to Watford.
Slutsky has been busy in the transfer market, signing Ola Aina, Fraizer Campbell and Michael Hector to off-set the sales of Harry Maguire, Tom Huddlestone and Andy Robertson.
"We now have a core and that is very important," said Slutsky, who led CSKA Moscow to the Champions League quarter-finals in 2010 and also had a spell in charge of Russia.
It is a testament to the Championship's pulling power that Slutsky isn't the only one with Champions League credentials.
Wolves, whose new boss Nuno Espirito Santo won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho at Porto in 2004, have spent a Championship record o15.8 million on Porto midfielder Ruben Neves and also signed Atletico Madrid's Diogo Jota on a season-long loan.
Harry Redknapp, who managed Tottenham in Europe's elite club competition, saved Birmingham from relegation last term and believes promotion is a realistic target.
"We're going to have a go," he said. "The aim has to be the top six for the season to be a success."
Nottingham Forest v Millwall (1845 GMT), Sunderland v Derby (1845 GMT)
Saturday (1400 GMT unless stated)
Aston Villa v Hull (1630 GMT), Bristol City v Barnsley, Burton v Cardiff, Fulham v Norwich, Ipswich v Birmingham, Preston v Sheffield Wednesday, QPR v Reading, Sheffield Utd v Brentford, Wolves v Middlesbrough
Bolton v Leeds (1530 GMT)
The day is finally here and Ishaan Khatter - Janhvi Kapoor starrer Dhadak has hit the theatres. The film that marks the debut of late actress Sridevi's daughter opposite Shahid Kapoor's younger brother has won audiences heart. A remake of the Marathi blockbuster Sairat, Dhadak is helmed by director Shashank ...
Sanju has become one of the biggest hits of Bollywood. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, Sanju gives us a glimpse of the controversial life of Sanjay Dutt and touches upon sensitive issues like his addiction to drugs, his difficulty in dealing with the passing away of his mother and the label ...
THE lack of government's desire over holding elections to the regional council and the three District Councils in Chattogram Hill Tracts has long been depriving indigenous people of their right to have elected representatives in the local bodies. News media reported that for almost two decades, the District Councils have ...
AP, United Nations : The United States on Friday welcomed the U.N. Security Council's united support for the fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and pressed China and Russia to strictly enforce U.N. sanctions to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused North Korea ...
ROHINGYA refugees reaching Bangladesh said violence, including torture, persists against them in Myanmar and the overall environment remains "menacing" for ethnic and religious minorities. UN human rights investigators carried out the Rohingya's plight after a five-day visit to the refugee camp of Kutupalong in Cox's Bazar where they interviewed new ...
AFP, Los Angeles :Juan Mata grabbed the 78th minute equalizer as Manchester United opened their pre-season with a 1-1 draw against Club America on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona.A header from Henry Martin in the 59th minute - past substitute goalkeeper Joel Pereira - had put Mexican outfit America in the ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :There was a family relationship between Kolkata’s popular film actress Rituparna Sengupta and Bangladeshi popular late hero Manna and his wife Shelly Manna. As a result, when Rituparna came to Bangladesh she always met Shelly Manna at her residence. Manna’s production house Kritanjali Chalachchitra is going to ...
AP, New Delhi :Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi accused the government of failing to live up to its promises as the Indian Parliament on Friday debated a no-confidence motion moved by the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, accused the government of ...
BBC Online :US opposition politicians are calling for Donald Trump's interpreter to testify before Congress about his summit talks with Vladimir Putin.The lead Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, called for Marina Gross to be subpoenaed to appear at the committee.Controversy has raged over the summit, with ...