STOOD just a few yards from one of the biggest huddles ever seen on a football pitch, Michael Oliver had a perfect view of Villa’s wild celebrations.
It is just a shame for Bournemouth that Olivier did not have a better sight of the goal-that-never was in the first game of Project Restart.
From that moment, we all knew Villa were staying up by a point.
The moment Oliver failed to see that a free-kick by Sheffield United’s Ollie Norwood was fumbled over the line by Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland.
The moment the goal-line technology then failed to work for the first time in 9000 matches.
And the moment when the VAR men at Stockley Park forgot something was happening in Birmingham on a Wednesday teatime in the middle of summer.
Villa earned a point against the Blades and without it, Villa would have gone down yesterday instead of Bournemouth. On goal difference.
It would be unfair to say one monumental cock-up was the reason Dean Smith has kept his club in the Premier League because that is not true.
And on the basis of these 10 matches, with two wins and four draws, Villa did enough while Watford and Bournemouth were just a bit weak.
Instead, Villa will be facing west midlands neighbours West Brom and Wolves next season rather than the mob who play in blue shirts and white shorts.
Heavily involved in the celebrations was Jack Grealish and he will be pursued by other clubs once again.
He did not play particularly well but scored a decent goal and then featured in an agonising home equaliser.
Regardless of his future, Grealish will forever cherish the fact that he played a big part in keeping his boyhood team in the top flight and deserves credit for that.
For Villa fans, this was a great escape but they need a proper lie down.
The biggest team from our second city have done much greater and grander things in the past but never before have they ever suffered a couple of years like this when the fans have cried tears of joy and anger at regular intervals.
They almost went into administration in 2018, finished fifth in the Championship but went up via the play-offs.
They blew £140million and barely made the squad much better than it was already. They reached a Cup final at Wembley and then seemed to be doing their best to return to the second-tier.
Yet Smith deserves credit for keeping the belief there, something which was not evident at any of the three relegated clubs.
West Ham were also looking over their shoulders when the football returned but they had done enough.
Equally, their final seven games of the season – apart from a home loss to Burnley – were confirmation they are going in the right direction. But they must obviously stick with David Moyes rather than make any more silly appointments like Manuel Pellegrini.
West Ham could have made life much harder for Villa had Michail Antonio put away an easy chance early on.
This is the guy who banked £250,000 in midweek after scoring a penalty at Manchester United to reach his bonus target of 10 goals.
He picked up a harsh booking and as he kept delivering tackles which could have landed him a second caution, he was replaced by Seb Haller, the £45million striker who has potential but must do much better than seven goals next season.
West Ham were poor going forward although the visitors – with Grealish anonymous – no better.
And then the Villa poster boy came alive for just a few seconds, but enough time to nudge the club to safety.
Grealish received a pass across the area from John McGinn and with neither Andriy Yarmolenko or Ryan Fredericks attempting to tackle, the midfielder hammered a shot from just inside the area.
It may have taken a slight deflection off Fredericks because home keeper Lukas Fabianski misread the shot and Grealish jumped with joy and then sprinted over towards the bench to celebrate.
A minute later, there was one slight twist which opened up the potential for a real killer blow. Yarmolenko’s shot deflected horribly off Grealish’s right boot and looped spectacularly over Pepe Reina.
But even though the four minutes of injury time would have been agony for Villa fans, West Ham’s players were not interested in becoming heroes for another club on the south coast in Dorset.
Villa, who looked in massive trouble when they lost 4-0 at Leicester for a fourth successive defeat before the season was suspended, were professional enough to see the game out without doing anything stupid.
And then, Oliver signalled the end of the game. Villa had pulled it off.
But the smiling, screaming and shouting was in complete contrast to the away team on Merseyside.
Instead, Bournemouth fans will always wonder what would have happened had Oliver blown his whistle in the 42nd minute for a Sheffield United goal on June 17.