David O'Leary insists that he will be proud to be the only Premiership manager in the depressed world of West Midlands football next season.
The Aston Villa boss is due to meet his board less than 24 hours after the season ends with Sunday's final game at home to Sunderland.
But Monday's board meeting is an annual, pre-arranged get-together to formulate a battle plan for next season. And on the day the club announced that they are freezing season-ticket prices for the new campaign, O'Leary's far-sighted talk points to him still leading Villa at the start of the 2006-07 Premiership season on August 19.
"I want the season over, so we can start preparing for next season," said O'Leary. "It's been disappointing but I never thought we'd go down.
"I always thought we'd be in and around the mix, which was exactly what happened.
"From Christmas onwards, the ambition was all about simply staying in this division and I'm proud we've achieved that. I'm proud of this club and I'll be proud to be representing this area in the Premiership next season.
"It's a big responsibility for us. We're the only place where the big clubs will be coming.
"And, although I don't want to rub people's noses in it, when I've been around the city this week, everywhere I've been, even just filling up with petrol, there's been a great mood. You can see it's given the Villa fans a real lift that they're the only ones in the Midlands still in the Premiership and hopefully they can look forward to better things.
"I'm disappointed at not having the derby games next season as I love them. It's not nice when you lose but you love the buzz of winning them and it will probably only hit home next season when we will be the only team there and it will be strange not looking round and wondering how Birmingham or West Brom, or even the Wolves have got on.
"But this part of the country deserves to have a club doing well and I hope it can happen for us."
How Villa shape up will be determined largely by the type of war chest O'Leary is handed on Monday.
Despite the club still being up for sale, he is getting signals that the on-loan James Milner could be a Villa player by the end of the month if Auxerre push through their expected deal to sign Mathieu Berson after his season-long loan.
O'Leary is aware that Milner has been told to report for pre-season training at Newcastle but he also points out that this is a standard procedure.
"If we had a player at another club in a similar situation, he'd be ours again from the moment he walks off the pitch on Sunday," said O'Leary.
"I'm hoping there could be movement on Berson next week but what I'm being told is that there's a deal to be done for Milner and it could be concluded very quickly."
O'Leary has already been advised he must sell before he can buy any more players this summer and, although Jlloyd Samuel will not be in the shop window on Sunday due to an untimely attack of tonsillitis, Milan Baros (left) is expected to resume against Sunderland following his half-time substitution at Anfield a week ago.
* Steven Davis last night dominated Villa's end-of-season awards, winning three of the five trophies on offer.
The Northern Ireland international was voted Player of the Year by the supporters, as well as Young Player of the Year, a title he also earned from his Villa team-mates.
The Players' Player of the Year was Gareth Barry, while Gary Cahill's spectacular scissor-kick to earn a first Premiership victory over Blues at Villa
Park last month won him the Goal of the Season prize.