Like any good obituary, this post has been planned and rewritten many times over the last few months. A Villa victory in our first match of the season appeared a false dawn because as Autumn turned into Winter it was quite apparent that Aston Villa would be starting next season in the Championship.
Of course, along the way, there were many games that were ‘must win’ with the feeling that if we did we would have turned the corner and started to move back up the league. But when you have played more than thirty games and only won three then even the most die hard fan knows what is going to happen – and I think that relegation will come today.
Looking back over the last five years it’s not hard to work out how we got here – a succession of poor managerial appointments, sales of any player that appeared to have talent and the purchase of some of the most inept players to pull on the claret and blue shirt.
For the first time in nearly thirty years Aston Villa will be playing in the Championship next season (or Non League Football as I have always described the division to my Father-In-Law who is a Wolves fan). I was standing on the Holte End when Sheffield Wednesday consigned us to the drop then and I will be sitting in the Holte End today as I expect the defeat by Bournemouth today will send us down again.
The only real difference between now and thirty years ago is that my experience of following Villa has allowed me to come to terms with relegation. I’ve had the time to put my affairs in order, I know what is coming and I am prepared for it. Even so, when the fixtures come out next season it will still take a little time to sink in why I can’t see out fixtures listed amongst the Premier League.
There has been far more fan disquiet now than I can remember in 1987 – but then again I don’t recall then players that played as though they didn’t give a damn. The TV money has blown a massive chasm between fans and players and that will only really start to narrow if we stay outside of the Premier League (which of course is not what I want!).
So, once we’ve got it over with we MUST start planning for next year. Get a new manager in (he won’t have got us relegated because we already have been), start playing the younger members of the squad (find out who is going to be an asset next season) and go out and buy Leandro Bacuna a copy of FIFA 16 (so he can finally fulfil his dream of playing in the Champions League).