What Aston Villa must do to recover in the Championship next season

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It has been another torrid week for Villa fans. Following the sacking of Remi Garde, another lifeless performance against Chelsea has sent them one step closer to relegation.

There is some hope for the fans, the ongoing reshuffle of the board shows there is hierarchical change at the very top of the club and those who are the key figures to blame for their demise are moving on.

The job at hand is not as simple as that however – firstly they need to appoint a manager with experience in English football. Remi Garde’s appointment was marred by his inexperience with the Premier League, particularly in a relegation dogfight.


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Settling the Wage Bill

The second biggest problem for Villa is getting rid of their current high earners. After their performances on and off the pitch this season, which Premier League sides will be willing to take most of these players? Clubs in the Championship certainly would not be able to afford them, so they will have to look at selling them abroad.

The wage bill is a particular issue for Villa when it comes down to rebuilding. Villa will have three years before parachute payments for relegation will be eliminated, they have to use that time wisely to rebuild a new squad – or fear a lengthy spell in the Championship and potentially further relegation.

One thing is certain; the current crop of players at Villa Park are not good enough for promotion next season. They have covered the least ground in the Premier League this season suggesting a lack of fitness or commitment from the players.

Fresh Faces Needed

This becomes an issue in the Championship, where competing in a 46 game season alongside cup games becomes a fitness battle for every side. Villa will need depth and energy in their squad if they want to finish anywhere near the play-off places.

Whilst there has always been optimism about the academy at Villa, with players like Andre Green and Jordan Lyden looking set to join Jack Grealish as the latest products to join the first team, they cannot rely on youth to carry them through the season.

One of the current players who has struggled this season but will be a good asset for Villa in the Championship is Rudy Gestede. Whilst he has struggled with scoring in the Premier League, he has already proven in the Championship that he can score goals providing he gets the right service.

The Twelfth Man

Equally as important for the Villans is to keep the fans entertained. They still attract 30,000+ attendances at Villa Park in the Premier League, but mediocrity in the Championship could lead to this number falling.

The fans at Villa Park are yearning for that winning feeling again. Perhaps life in the Championship will rekindle that feeling and bring back the feel good factor for the fans. This also means a reduction in ticket prices is necessary; some fans will not be willing to pay Premier League prices to watch a lower standard of football.

Recovering from relegation in the Premier League is not impossible. Newcastle and West Ham prove to be excellent examples of how getting relegated can be beneficial. For Villa, that requires widespread change from top to bottom which the club has commenced starting from the board.

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Micah Richards
Joleon Lescott
Premier League
Aston Villa
Gabriel Agbonlahor

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