After months with the axe dangling above their heads, Aston Villa were officially cut loose from the Premier League on Saturday, courtesy of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
United starlet Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the game at Old Trafford, and while Rudy Gestede did hit the frame of the goal late on, it was another deserved defeat for the Villans.
Now 15 points adrift from safety with just four games to play, the Birmingham giants now must prepare for life in the Championship next season, a tough division to get out of.
Speaking after the final whistle, Joleon Lescott said: “Relegation’s been on the cards for a while so this is a weight off our shoulders.”
Inspirational words indeed from Villa’s captain-on-the-day. A true fan’s favourite if ever there were.
The mid-season introduction of Remi Garde for Tim Sherwood failed to make a shred of difference to Villa’s plight, with the club’s failure to bring in a single player during the January transfer window a shocking example of the malaise at the once great club.
Following the departure of Garde, caretaker boss Eric Black’s job was impossible, with the Villans already destined for the drop.
However, it is owner Randy Lerner who must take 99% of the blame for Villa’s capitulation, with the American’s stewardship of the club an utter disaster.
With Lerner himself wanting out of the club, there is much work to be done if the 1982 European Cup winners are to claw their way back into the big time.
Here’s a photo of those better days to cheer up the no doubt disheartened and frustrated Villa faithful…