Aston Villa finished five places above Brentford last season, losing in the play-off finalAston Villa have named Dean Smith as their new head coach, with ex-Chelsea defender John Terry as his assistant.
Smith, 47, leaves Brentford, who he led to top-10 finishes in the Championship in each of his three seasons as boss.
Former England captain Terry, 37 retired on Sunday after leaving Villa in the summer, while Jesus Garcia Pitarch joins as sporting director.
Villa sacked Steve Bruce on 3 October after a run of one win in nine Championship games.
Former centre-back Smith – whose first managerial role was with Walsall – is a lifelong Villa fan and joins from a Brentford side who are three points and eight places above them in the table.
Terry earned 78 England caps, won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and a Champions League title in his time at Stamford Bridge before leaving in 2017 after two decades at the London club.
Pitarch has been director of football at Spanish sides Valencia and Atletico Madrid, helping both sides win the Europa League.
“Dean has a clear and successful coaching philosophy as well as a real understanding of Aston Villa Football Club. He is also knowledgeable about the Championship,” said Villa CEO Christian Purslow.
“John is one of the most decorated players in English football, has an affinity with the club and is ready to make the next step in his career working alongside Dean.”
Villa had to identify other candidates to replace Bruce after their initial choices; Thierry Henry, Brendan Rodgers and former Manchester United assistant Rui Faria all ruled themselves out of contention.
Smith’s first game in charge will be against Swansea at Villa Park on 20 October, with the club still only four points outside the play-offs in a congested Championship table.
The Bees say assistant head coach Thomas Frank will take training on Thursday following Smith’s departure.
“Not only an excellent head coach but a thoroughly decent man. I wish him all the best in the future,” said Brentford CEO Mark Devlin.
All change since Wembley defeat
Villa, relegated from the Premier League in 2016, reached the Championship play-off final in May, but they lost to Fulham and missed out on a return to the top flight, which would have been worth in excess of £160m to the club.
That defeat kick-started a summer of turmoil.
Financial issues came to light as they missed a £4m tax payment in June, with then-owner Dr Tony Xia understood to have cash flow problems because of strict rules about money leaving his native China.
An agreement was reached with HM Revenue and Customs over the payment, but chief executive Keith Wyness was suspended and subsequently exited the club, before director of football Steve Round’s departed in July.
Billionaire businessmen Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris eventually stepped in with “significant investment”, but a poor start to the campaign and growing supporter unrest saw Bruce depart.