Having made over 250 appearances across seven years at Aston Villa, Paul McGrath is in a better position than most when it comes to assessing his old club.
Villa, staring relegation from the Premier League square in the face, this week parted company with manager Rémi Garde after a run that had seen the team win just two matches out of twenty under the Frenchman’s regime.
McGrath, however, does not place the blame for Aston Villa’s travails at the feet at Garde – as he put in his own words with a tweet on Wednesday morning.
Best wishes Remi Garde , I don’t believe Aston Villas fall had anything to do with you , let down by the board and by the players… #adieu
— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5) March 30, 2016
McGrath expanded further on his comments by appearing on Irish radio station 2fm’s Game On programme on Wednesday evening in which he defended Garde, insisting that the job was an impossible one:
“I thought he walked into a spider’s web there and he’s got caught in it now. People might think he didn’t do his job, but I think he did the best job he could,”
The former Republic of Ireland international has some strong words for the current set of Villa players’ apparent lack of respect for their manager:
“I don’t think the players are giving any manager who walks in there the respect that they deserve and Remi was just one of those people who got caught up in the web.
“They don’t respect the club they’re playing for and that’s the problem.”
The 1993 PFA Player of the Year had even less regard for the board, who he feels are financially driven and have sold the fans up the river in their efforts to make as much money as possible, saying:
“I think it’s about money. I think it’s about an American guy [Randy Lerner] coming in and thinking it’s a business.
“Aston Villa is a massive club. We’ve got a massive fan base, we’ve got people around there who are willing to support them…The saddest thing for me is that the supporters are the people who have to pay for it now.”
With Villa almost certain to go down, the rebuilding process must begin in earnest. Nigel Pearson and David Moyes are the early favourites to take charge for next season – but after years of circling the drain, the sad demise of a once-great club is almost complete.