Being an Aston Villa fan isn’t something to shout about at the moment. Rooted to the bottom of the table since November, the boys in claret and blue look certain to be relegated to the second tier sooner rather than later. Sunday 14th February 2016 brought with it possibly the worst Aston Villa performance in recent memory and a 0-6 mauling by a very average Liverpool side that was made to look like it was comprised of world beaters. Following our heaviest home defeat since 1935, can we sink any lower?
Ironically, the battering by Liverpool came after our best run of results so far this season. The previous six games heralded eight points and a confidence-boosting win over relegation rivals Norwich City the week before had given us a glimmer of hope of avoiding relegation. Newcastle’s thrashing at the hands of Chelsea and Norwich City throwing away a 2-0 lead at home to West Ham United a day earlier had handed the Villans a great chance to close the gap. Up against a team that had won once in its previous six games, it seemed an ideal opportunity to seize the initiative in the survival race. Then the players took to the field and served up a performance that lacked any effort, fight, determination or skill. Each member of the starting eleven put in a very poor performance but, personally, I thought Micah Richards had one of the worst games a Villa player has had in Premier League history. He was constantly out of position and spent most of his time jogging back to chase the Liverpool attackers. If that is the example set by our captain, who has a Premier League winner’s medal to his name, then who are the youngsters expected to turn to for guidance and leadership?
However, this is not the time to blame individuals. The question is: how much worse will it get before we hit rock bottom? Aston Villa Football Club is a dying animal that should have been put down weeks ago. This season has been a slow, painful slide into the unpredictable world of the Championship. In all honesty, I’ve found it much easier to come to terms with our impending relegation this way rather than through a cruel twist of fate on the final day. Imagine how heart-breaking an own goal, a cruel deflection or a missed penalty would be if that was the way that we were relegated.
Relegation to the Championship is inevitable – and has been for some time. After such an embarrassing defeat, the remaining twelve games are all about regaining some sense of pride in our football club, however hard that may be. There are problems greater than one bad result at Aston Villa Football Club and I fear that we are still to hit our lowest ebb. Whilst the current regime continues, things are going to get worse before they get better.
Can we get any lower? Only time will tell.