Aston Villa were once among the greatest clubs ever to play the beautiful game. However, recent times have not been so kind to the Birmingham-based club as they now face relegation from the Barclay's Premier League for the first time in their illustrious history.
Villa were founded back in 1874, making them one of the oldest clubs in the English professional game. They have played all of their home games at Villa Park since 1897 and they were actually the originators and founder members of the football league, as well as being founder members of the Premier League in 1992.
The Villans are one of only five current English clubs to have ever won the European Cup, which is now known as the UEFA Champions League. They lifted the famous trophy in 1983.
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They have the fifth highest total of major honours won by an English club, having won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times and the UEFA Super Cup in 1982.
Villa fans are some of the most loyal and passionate fans not only in England but the whole of Europe. The fans have high expectations from their club and being in the second tier does not adhere to those demands. They feel there are many people to blame for this, including their current squad, the managers they have had recently and most importantly, the owner and major shareholder, Randy Lerner.
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Lerner became the majority shareholder at Villa Park in 2006 when he acquired full control from the previous chairman, Doug Ellis. Since then he has pumped money into the club season in, season out, just the way he should, but recently the money seems to have dried out.
The most recent example of this is when he failed to open his chequebook even once during the January transfer window. This seems to the naked eye to be an absolutely ludicrous decision as this past transfer window was arguably the most important window Villa have had in years.
They were in a terrible predicament, and needed players having bought poorly in the summer, yet nobody came in at all. This has lead many people to assume that Randy Lerner and the Aston Villa board had simply given up on any hope of staying up, which at that stage of the season is absolutely insane. That is definitely not the attitude to have, especially given the money on offer to the Premier League teams next season.
Lerner put the club on the market in May 2014 when he felt he should move on to greener pastures, but he valued the club at around £200million which many think is too much for a team fighting relegation, definitely too much for a club which has already been relegated. This is why it has been up for sale for two years and there hasn't been so much as an offer to buy the club.
Lerner recently installed Steven Hollis as the executive chairman so that he could take a backseat in the day-to-day running of the club. Villa fans were not overly pleased with this as Hollis immediately started making changes and tightening the purse strings, hence the lack of money spent in January.
Worrying Times for Aston Villa
He now plans to make loads of redundancies at the club in the summer which has been brought to the attention of the media recently, creating yet another unwelcome distraction.
Over the past two years, Villa have made poor choices not only among their hierarchy but with the coaching staff and the playing staff too.
Paul Lambert took control of the team after leaving Norwich City in June 2012 and he tried to install a policy in which the young players would be brought through. This policy ultimately failed in the end and it lead to him losing his job in February 2015.
After that, they appointed the hot headed Tim Sherwood as manager to keep them up, which he did successfully. They started the 2015-16 season awfully as they lost game after game and Sherwood was eventually sacked and replaced by the highly regarded Frenchman, Remi Garde.
Garde was in charge for nearly three months before eventually registering his first win away at Southampton in January. This wasn't enough though as he lost his job last month and was replaced by Eric Black as the caretaker manager.
All in all, Villa are a massive club in a very sorry state. They need to find the right manager who can calm the players down, and reduce distractions from players like Leandro Bacuna after he openly stated his desire to play in the Champions League last month. Once they do this, they must find a bit of stability and regain their Premier League status, and only then will they be able to attempt to regain their status as one of the games mightiest forces.
What has gone so terribly wrong at Aston Villa over the past two seasons? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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