This Sunday we come up against Nottingham Forest, one of the few teams in this league that can rival us in terms of a proud history.
Under Clough, and with back-to-back European Cup wins in the late 70s, Nottingham Forest cemented itself as a footballing heavyweight on the world stage.
This week the club Nicklas Bendtner.
If there was ever a more stark warning of the plight great teams can suffer, I’d like to see it.
Of course, I am being slightly unfair, and the Nottingham side has had a good start to the season, but my point that we should use Forest as a cautionary tale still stands.
And it’s not just Nottingham Forest. Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town and Blackburn Rovers have all had great success in the English game and now fight for survival in the second tier. That is not good enough for clubs of their standing.
It would certainly not be good enough for Aston Villa.
As has already been talked about plenty of times during our stuttering start to the season, it is paramount that we establish ourselves in this league as soon as possible. Two gut wrenching defeats and two frustrating draws have composed our naive first month in the Championship. A satisfying victory over Rotherham United has been our only real occasion for celebration. That has to change soon.
The game on Sunday is going to be the first time two former Europeans Champions meet outside of the top flight. We might be far removed from the days of European glory but we can at least show that we intend to return to the Premier League. Sunday’s game brings with it a great opportunity to properly stake our claim in this league. It feels as if we say the same things every week and an unsatisfying result follows but next week, with a result against Ipswich Town too, we could be on the up. It’s a long shot, I know, but I think if we mean business we need to target at least seven points from the next three games.
The squad is now assembled. We are coming out of an international break. We face a historical adversary on Sunday. We must do the business. Otherwise, who’s to say it won’t be us signing the Nicklas Bendters of this world a few years down the line? That is not a reality I can entertain. If only for that reason, let’s get the three points on Sunday.