Fallen idol Dwight Yorke is determined to repair his rift with the claret and blue faithful once and for all – by one day returning to Villa Park as manager.
Yorke was the darling of the Holte End during the mid to late 1990s but tossed away his hero status when he defected to join Manchester United.
His controversial departure hurt Villa fans and while some have forgiven him over time, others are still angry at him for turning his back on their club.
And Yorke, who has started studying for his coaching badges, would love to completely make amends with a successful spell in the Villa Park dug-out.
“Ideally, I would love to manage Villa in a few years,” said Yorke.
“I don’t want to be a manager when I’m old. I want to be young, because I’ve seen the changes in football and I’ve had to change myself as a player.
“That, without a doubt, would be the ultimate dream in a manager’s job.
“I feel like I’ve gained a lot of experience in the 20 years I’ve been involved. I know what the modern-day players are like and how to deal with that. I think my personality suits that so there’s all the ingredients there for me to be a manager.
I just hope that somebody gives me that opportunity. If it’s not my first job at Villa then hopefully in the future.’’
Yorke, who retired from playing at the end of last season, was rocked by the death of his mother just under three months ago and has used his coaching studies at Keele University to occupy his mind.
“When you think of retirement you think of just lying on the beach and relaxing,” he said.
“It hasn’t quite been that way because of the tragedy of my mum passing away so that’s obviously a bit of a shock to the system for all of my family.
“I’m trying to do my coaching badges and I’m a keen golfer as well so it all adds up.
“At the moment I’m just trying to get in the management side of things. I’ve been doing my coaching badges and I just hope for that one opportunity to have a go at management.
“I’m just about to complete the B and then I’m going on to the A in January.”
But Yorke admits homework and classrooms can be a bit boring after hanging up his boots following a glittering career, including a clean sweep of domestic trophies and a Champions League-winning medal.
“You ask any footballer who’s doing it, they don’t really enjoy it,” he said.
“It puts in your mind how to arrange things and put things together and I can see why you need it.
“But they’re things that you sort of know and you just have to tick the boxes. You’ve got to put the hours in to become a manager.
“There are all sorts of people, people you don’t know, people from abroad. I think Andy Cole’s trying to do his as well.
“It does take its toll when you’re having to go away and do assessments. It’s a bit like going back to school. It’s another two-and-a-half years before I get the pro-licence. That’s what they want you to get.”
Yorke has assured Villa fans who have any lingering animosity over the way he left in the summer of 1998 that he still holds the club who gave him his chance close to his heart.
The smiling assassin believes his decision to turn his back on his beloved claret and blue to wear United’s red was vindicated by the treble win during his very first season at Old Trafford.
And when Yorke moves into management he insists he will use former Villa bosses Ron Atkinson and Brian Little as his inspiration – as well as Sir Alex Ferguson, of course.
“I don’t think people could not forgive me because of what I’ve done and what I achieved by leaving Villa,” said Yorke.
“I certainly didn’t leave Villa for money and I think everyone knew that because the reality was Villa actually offered me more money to stay.
“The fact was that I’d achieved as much as I could and I’d learned my trade well at Villa.
“I was very fortunate to be at such a big club to provide me with the facilities and the knowledge of the game. I was able to play under some great managers there as well.
“Brian Little was very instrumental and Big Ron helped me a lot to become a footballer and showed me what it takes mentally to achieve in the game.”
Yorke believes there were similarities between his own upsetting exit from B6 11 years ago and Gareth Barry’s decision to quit the club last summer.
But while the Trinidad and Tobago frontman was justified by the medals on his mantelpiece, Yorke is not convinced the England midfielder went for the right reasons.
“I don’t want to talk too much about the Barry situation, but he was in a similar position,” added Yorke.
“Has he left Villa to go to a bigger club? I’m not so sure, but obviously the money is there and maybe he needs a new challenge himself.
“I went to United and won the treble in the first year. You couldn’t ask for a better thing to happen, could you?
“I mean how spawny you probably think I am. I was very lucky to move to Manchester United and play in a great team for a great manager at a great club and that’s why we won what we did.
“But Aston Villa are the club that took a chance on me so that’s why I will always have a special affection for them and would love to go back to be the manager in the future.”