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July 27, 2020, 03.32 PM

LONDON, – The Premier League ended on Sunday after 352 days since it began, making it one of its longest seasons to date.

There was a sense of relief and grief for Dean Smith as the final curtain closed last weekend.

Joy met with sadness for Aston Villa on the final day of the Premier League season that has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Such sadness was especially felt for the football team's manager, Dean, who could not share the achievement with his father.

Dean’s father, Ron Smith, passed away at the age of 79 in May from the Covid-19 virus.

Ron was one of Great Britain’s 45,752 Covid-19 victims and died during the shutdown of the Premier League.

“It’s been emotional,” Dean Smith said after Sunday's 1-1 draw at West Ham. “I’m sure he’ll be looking down on us.”

The point earned in east London kept Villa just above the relegation zone. Bournemouth and Watford joined Norwich in dropping into the second flight of competition.

When the league was suddenly halted in the second week of March, after coronavirus infections were reported at Arsenal and Chelsea, Villa was two points from safety and used the hiatus to regroup.

“I thought we used it really well,” Smith said, “We had to, because we couldn’t keep doing what we were doing.”


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