Can Aston Villa Bounce Back From The Championship?
March 31, 2016
OK, while Aston Villa may still be officially a part of the Premiership, they are clinging onto this status by their fingertips. The failure to win any of their last five league matches (they have been victorious in just three so far this term) would instantly see them relegated, for example, while 17th place Norwich City only need to earn one more point to secure the same outcome. In short, if Villa were to retain their status, it would represent the single greatest escape in footballing history.
Where has it gone wrong for the Midlands Club?
It is a sad end for a proud club, who won the European Cup as recently as 1982 and now face the prospect of joining other fallen giants such as Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday in the lower leagues. The last 12 months have also been defined by huge mismanagement at the Midlands club, with chairman Randy Lerner coming in for huge criticism from disgruntled fans.
At this stage last term, manager Tim Sherwood was inspiring his Villa team to survive a taut relegation battle while also leading them to Wembley defeat against Arsenal in the FA Cup final. This was followed by a summer of rebuilding, with stars such as Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke leaving in big money deals and a host of talented but unproven French players being signed from overseas.
The decision to sack Tim Sherwood in the autumn now seems hasty in the extreme, as he was never given enough time to mould the side he was invited to build in the summer. Hiring former Arsenal midfielder Remi Garde hardly helped the situation, as he cut a forlorn and at times disinterested figure during which time he achieved just two wins in 20 matches. Interim manager Eric Black is now in place to hold the fort until a new manager is named, but Villa certainly face a bleak and uncertain future in the Championship.
Will Villa slip through the divisions?
At this stage, there appears to be a huge risk of the Villains slipping through the divisions, as this is a fate that has befallen previous Premier League sides such as Oldham, Wigan and Blackpool. Of course, the Midlands team has far greater resources and support than these sides, but the process of hiring the right manager and driving purposeful player recruitment will be more pressing than ever.
Whether chairman Randy Lerner bows to fan pressure and sells the club or not, Villa need to act quickly to secure a hungry and experienced manager to take the helm. Former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes is among the favourites for the Aston Villa job, although the club may be better served by targeting a successful championship leader such as the current Hull City incumbent Steve Bruce.
The club must also offload players that lack commitment for the cause, as it instead looks to blood motivated youngsters and invest in experienced, hardened stars who can cope with the rigours of Championship football. If it fails to achieve this, we may see this proud and well-supported footballing giant facing a battle to secure its future.