It’s never a pretty sight when you see grown men openly weeping and distraught.
Yet, when you’re in a relegation dogfight, there is always a glimmer of hope, a small light at the end of a dark tunnel.
Call it faith, hope or stupidity, there is always that part of you that thinks your club can turn this around, making it all the more traumatic when that hope is extinguished.
Aston Villa are a proud club with a rich history being one of six Premier League teams never to be relegated.
The air around Villa Park reeks of a proper Premier League team, with England captains having played for them, mercurial midfielders and lethal strikers too.
A club that should be too big to go down, yet they very well could.
However, this may not be the worst scenario for them, as we have seen in the past.
Teams who are too big and too good to go down, yet still drop to the second tier, with Southampton, West Ham United and Newcastle United just a few examples.
Clubs that produced the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer all had to take a step down and get their houses in order.
For some, the plight was worse than others, but they all came roaring back into the Premier League, and have shown quality since their respective returns.
For Villa, Paul Lambert has been tasked with developing a young side in a league where they simply don’t have the time to learn on the job.
Against Bradford, there was a tactical naivety as they attempted to get back into the tie, with swathes of players just bunching around the edge of Bradford’s area.
Perhaps an older, wiser head would have guided the youngsters and told Matthew Lowton or Fabian Delph to keep the width.
Too often, the Villa Park faithful have had to witness their side throw points away.
Without a leading senior figure, maybe Aston Villa would be better served in an environment where the education of their players could continue.
As things stand, they’re swimming with sharks, and going down fast.
Obviously, there will be a few who abandon the ship, with Christian Benteke already drawing admiring glances and has himself openly flirted with Arsenal.
Andreas Weimann would likely be the target of a few Premier League suitors, but the Villains would also learn who wants to be at the club, and is willing to fight for the cause.
Newcastle had to deal with this, and the likes of Fabricio Coloccini stayed at the club.
Adam Lallana had been linked with moves away from St. Mary’s ever since he first burst onto the scene, but has remained at the club to get them back to the big-time.
If Aston Villa can identify those players, added to the fact that some of the pressure would be relieved, it wouldn’t be too big a shock if they were to spring back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
But while they’re still in the Premier League, they’ll still have that glimmer of hope.
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