Beneath a brash exterior, Sherwood never looked confident in his own abilities after we lost away to Leicester City, despite Jack Grealish looking sharp. His successor, Garde, wasn’t able to put together a competitive team after the now outgoing owner Randy Lerner seemingly gave up halfway through the season and we were left to witness performances that defied all logic.
After flirting with relegation for the past few seasons with young and inexperienced players under Lambert, every pundit and his dog called for us to sign Premier League experience to stave off the threat of relegation. The unholy trinity of Sherwood, Fox and Almstadt seemed to agree with that analysis but their approach to bolstering the squad was one of many factors that led to the Villans’ relegation.
It wasn’t long after Garde left that the majority of fans lost all respect for the club as an institution.
On the pitch, Bacuna looked a shadow of his former self, never replicating the better form he produced under previous managers and looking like he was going through the motions before he could whip out his hover board at Birmingham Airport and fly as far away from Villa Park as chartered flights out of Birmingham would let him. Meanwhile, club captain Agbonlahor seemingly went full 2012 Carlos Tevez – without the talent. Villa fans would probably be forgiven for forgetting such an uninspiring character who was once dubbed a club legend but reporters for ‘The Sun’ didn’t shy away from a few front page stories on his in-season antics. There may be scary stories coming out of Bodymoor Heath over the next few months after Randy Lerner accepted his own failures and decided it was time to sell the club to Dr. Tony Xia.
In this absolutely dreadful season, the one shining light was the fans. We showed over the last few games of the season that, no matter how lifeless a Villa team can be, the fans will never let a beautiful institution like Aston Villa Football Club down. In the face of uncertainty and disappointment, we have proven to fans across the country – and around the world – that we will be a beacon for Aston Villa Football Club, even if the eleven players on the pitch appear not to care.
Whatever happens to our club over the next few months, it is vital that we see the culling of players who only really wanted a final pay day. The takeover by Dr Xia and the Recon Group will hopefully bring us a custodian who understands the fans’ andappreciates that Aston Villa Football Club should be central to the local community’s needs.
Come what may, we’ll have each other – claret and blue through and through.
Piece submitted by guest blogger James Clark.