Having already been relegated in what is set to be one of the lowest points totals in Premier League history, one would think that Aston Villa’s season could not get much worse.
Since that day, however, the air of the club has been one of a ship sinking without trace – everything coming out of Villa indicates that something is rotten within the 1982 European Cup Winners.
The fans are furious, the owner is disinterested, directors are quitting all over the place, the players aren’t trying any more, there is no manager in place – the club is an absolute mess right now and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
Caretaker manager Eric Black called the Villa Park atmosphere “toxic” following the side’s 4-2 defeat at home to Southampton on Saturday, and it is a sentiment he repeated today ahead of Vila’s match against midtable Watford this weekend.
Black was refreshingly honest yet massively downbeat in his press conference earlier today:
“Obviously I knew the job was going to be difficult. I didn’t know the timescale of it, whether it was one week, six weeks, seven weeks, I had no idea.
“There have obviously been other elements that have happened since then to make it, certainly for me…I can’t remember other jobs like this in terms of the negativity surrounding the club for so long.
“There’s no manager in place, the club is potentially up for sale, there’s people losing their jobs, there’s a negative environment on the training pitch.
“A real toxic mix of a lot of things.”
To compound matters, captain Gabriel Agbonlahor today resigned from his role, though he is free to return to action next week following suspension.
Agbonlahor has been a lightning rod for Villas fans’ anger recently, being heavily criticised for being overweight in mid-April and being spotted with laughing gas cannisters on the night of Villa’s relegation. The 29 year old former England international is currently under suspension by the club (his second of the season) and has scored just one goal all season.
The ex-England international took the measure of announcing his resignation today on his Instagram page:
I want to begin with an apology to all Aston Villa fans for my actions in recent weeks, especially at a time when it is devastating for everyone involved with the club. I am stepping down as club captain with immediate effect as I do not deserve to carry out such a role anymore. This role was a huge honour to me and it hurts to have lost it. I have spent 16 years at Aston Villa and played some memorable games. My celebrations and passion, especially in games against local rivals shows my loyalty to Aston Villa. I am asking Aston Villa fans for forgiveness as I’m hurting as well despite reports and photos in the press making out otherwise. I agree my performances this season have not been good enough but I will be working hard to make things right! Up The Villa, Villa Till I Die! I would also like to add; numerous fake social media accounts and have been created using my name. This is my official Instagram and I do not use Twitter or Facebook.
In the statement, Agbonlahor asks for Villa fans’ forgiveness for his conduct throughout the season, as well as explaining his reasons for stepping down.
The former captain has two years remaining on his current contract, and while he proclaims loyalty to the club in the above post, he makes no comment regarding whether or not he plans to stay at Villa Park in the Championship next season.