Writer: Chris Heath
Date:Tuesday March 13 2012
We are well into the second half of the season and Aston Villa's season is in danger of unravelling as many fans feared it would.
At the start of the season Alex McLeish was appointed manager and Ashley Young and Stewart Downing were both sold.
One of the oldest, and the fourth most successful club in English football history, faces the prospect of possible relegation from the Premiership for the first time since it was founded in 1992.
One of only four English clubs to have won the European Cup after a historic night in Munich in 1982 against Bayern Munich, to which you can add seven FA Cups and five League cups, might not be good enough to be playing in the top division next season.
Fans are upset.
Players are upset.
Manager Alex McLeish looks increasingly like the wrong man for the job.
Where do we go from here?
The current state of Aston Villa Football Club is something fans aren't used to seeing with the past success the club has had.
Currently near a relegation battle, only eleven points above the drop zone, is something I couldn't of expected to happen this season.
Unrest is visible in the Villa Park dressing with players showing ill feeling towards manager Alex McLeish, both on and off the field. On Twitter recently one Villa player tweeted, "He was unhappy for the first time playing football" and in a recent Barclay's Premiership match against Newcastle several senior players told McLeish to '**** off'during the match. If any player has a problem with the way things are they should speak directly to the manager, not broadcast it through social networking sites.
If a team appoints a manager who has previously managed your team's biggest rivals, it isn't going to go down well. But that's exactly what Randy Lerner did, appoint Alex McLeish who quit Birmingham City to take the Villa job, after two relegations in three seasons with them. I couldn't personally believe it was happening to my beloved team, our new manager having a CV like that.
When the news broke on Talksport that he had been appointed my head literally dropped when I was driving my car down the road.
Along with the controversial appointment also came Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, Villa`s best two players last season leaving to join Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. It wasn't new to me that Ashley wanted to leave for Champions League football, but the news of Stewart wanting to leave, meant we had no wingers to supply record £24 million signing Darren Bent.
40 million was there to spend and one of the men brought to replace the pair has already been on Twitter saying he is unhappy at the club, great news in itself that. The other Marc Albrighton, a Villa academy graduate was then frozen out the team for the first half of the season by McLeish to the anger of many Villa fans including myself.
Over six months have passed with Alex McLeish in charge and the predicament Villa find themselves in is eleven points above the relegation zone even with away wins at Chelsea and Wolves. If Martin O'Neill was still in charge I honestly think we would still be finishing in the top six and pushing for Champions League qualification each time and gracing the pitch at Wembley, twice done under him.
I think I speak for the majority of Villa fans here when managers like Mark Hughes were available why did Randy Lerner think that a manager who has got relegated twice in three seasons with our biggest rivals Birmingham City should be the man to take Villa back to glory days of the past.
Social networking protest groups prior to the appointment and even a 1,000 strong fan protest at Villa Park, which I attended, which got coverage from several media outlets including Talksport and Sky Sports News were expected to happen.
So the question is does Lerner sack him or back him, with the realism of Championship football next season now a realistic thought.
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Date:Tuesday March 13 2012
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