As the 2015-16 Aston Villa team head to the history books as one of the worst in the Premiership era, are there any positives that can be learned as the final nail was banged in the relegation coffin?
SHORT ANSWER: NO
Bournemouth at home – a 2-1 loss. Come on, now. The goals were soft and the one Villa managed (their 23rd of the season – one fewer than Harry Kane has scored by himself) came in the 84th minute.
A crappy, boring, low-attended 1-2 defeat. At home. To Bournemouth.
Then even when Sunderland, who made Norwich look much better than they are for long spells, shed their pub team shackles and kept Villa’s wafer-thin chances of staying up alive for a few more hours, it was just a matter of time before Manchester United scored at Old Trafford and Villa were down.
The fans of course were loud and refusing to go without a fight, out-singing those who came from far and wide to watch a Manchester United, packed with potential but hardly all-conquering, do enough to snatch the win.
SLIGHTLY-LONGER ANSWER: NO, NO, NO
And after the game it all kicked off. With Gabby dropped for fitness issues (later to be apparently photographed partying in the wake of relegation in the classiest of manners – laughing gas, beer, and some female company described in the press as “hangers-on”) and “Villa fan” Lescott going at it with Stan Collymore on Tit-ter… sorry, Twitter… followed by Gueye’s agent telling the world his client wouldn’t be staying at Villa next season – even before the hardcore Manchester United fans had got on their bus back to Cardiff. What a shambles.
If nothing else, the fans were reminded some of their players need to work on their professionalism. While some of the players need to get off Twitter, or just post some nice photos of their teammates and thank the fans after games rather than try and punch above their weight and get into dialogue with fans who care more about the club than they ever could.
WHAT HAVE VILLA FANS “LERNED”
Without saying a word in public, it would seem that AWOL owner Randy Lerner has managed to stop any progress towards long-term recovery by antagonising two recent board appointees by driving them to quit.
While the full story is yet to come out, Mervyn King and David Berstein both resigned saying it’s clear the club needs to be sold asap (meaning Lerner needs to bore off) for any changes to be truly implemented.
Is a sale in the wings? This might compromise the board’s movement for a new manager or to think about building a team for next season. The board’s hands would be tied and the club would be yet again in limbo for the immediate future. Also, the board members’ jobs would be far from secure and the likes of Bernstein and King have too much pride to be sitting ducks.
Meanwhile there’s no new manager and Paddy is still in charge of finding the players to rebuild the Championship squad and with no money to pay for them.
And Randy can’t even find a well-edited statement for the long-suffering fans to say: “Sorry, I ballsed it up and I have no intention of coming back to Villa Park to say it in person (because you’ll all start singing that song), so here’s something I had my staff work on to say sorry in a roundabout way.”
STILL, THERE’S… NOPE
Outside the prospect of winning a few games (hopefully more than three) next season, what do fans have to look forward to? The better players (haha) will surely leave, the players that have all but cut their ties with the club might have to stay – unless LA Galaxy come back in for Lescott and some deluded lower league team thinks club captain Agbonlahor is just the man to inspire their club to better things.
With the 7th highest wage bill in the Premiership, even with the clauses (PLEASE say there are clauses) to cut the wages in the event of relegation, earners like Alan Hutton and Guzan will surely have to be sold or paid off, then replaced on the cheap.
Unless of course, some potential buyer can see the club as fans do: a historic club with a loyal fan base that can still remember the good old days, bright prospects in the U21s, a beautiful high capacity stadium and a chance to rebuild the stature it used to have. And for them to move as soon as possible to give everyone a lift.
Follow Adam Keeble on Twitter @keebo00
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