Aston Villa Club Focus - Dismal display sums up Villa season
The drama of the final day of the Barclays Premier League season 2011/2012 will never be forgotten, and quite possibly will never be matched. Manchester City claiming the title with a last gasp goal, ripping it from the hands of their bitter rivals Manchester United as it looked to have squirmed away from them at the final hurdle. They are no longer the noisy neighbours, they are the Champions of England.
For Aston Villa, the story of their season was summed up with their final 90 minutes against Norwich City. A dismal 2-0 loss against a team that had been playing in League 1 this time two years ago epitomised the lack of character and desire in the current crop of Villa players and staff. Norwich controlled the game from start to finish, arguably achieving their easiest victory of their entire campaign. Villa looked out of shape, out of their depth, and out of imagination as they could only muster a few attempts on goal against a team in Norwich who had struggled to find form themselves of late. Villa had no answer to a relentless Norwich attack, and were lucky to get away with just a 2-0 loss.
Many fans may point out that the outcome of this game was irrelevant for Aston Villa, especially as neither QPR or Bolton managed to achieve the maximum three points from their two league encounters. Villa also had the far superior goal difference, meaning they were almost guaranteed to be safe whatever the result of both games. A point which may be argued by Villa manager Alex McLeish as he looks back at a torrid first season in charge.
Today was not a day for Aston Villa to begin planning for their summer holidays. It was a chance for the club from the Midlands to give something back to the fans, to give them something to cheer in a season that has been filled with negativity. It was a chance for them to build from the point they achieved against Tottenham last weekend, and a great chance to end the season on a high note. Once again, all that Villa achieved was confirming to the Villa faithful that this has been a season of misery, a season where the club has taken a huge step back from the Champions League chase they were involved in just a few short seasons ago.
Villa have achieved safety, and will continue to ply their trade in the Premier League for one more season, but it is results and performances like this that will stick in the hearts and minds of the Villa fans. Chairman Randy Lerner must now begin to plan for next season and make sure that performances like these are eradicated in the following seasons to come. Fans have called for a change of management, a clearout of both staff and players. Whatever Lerner decides, a change is definitely needed if Aston Villa are to become the great team they once were. He will have to make a few tough decisions this summer, that is for sure. Villa fans will hope that this season will be regarded as a blip in years to come, and not as the start of the decline of Aston Villa Football Club.