Aston Villa fans remember the 1986/87 soccer season well as it was the last time the famous English club was relegated. They’ve been a fixture in the English Premier League since it was born back in 1992. However, the ride may finally be coming to an end this year unless the squad can dig itself out of the relegation zone. The club fell into 18th place in the league on Feb. 10 following their dismal 2-0 defeat at the hands of Hull City. The team is winless in 10 league games with seven of those being losses and franchise owner Randy Lerner felt somebody had to pay for their brutal season.
That somebody was 45-year-old manager Paul Lambert as he was fired the day after the Hull game. For Villa fans, the move probably comes a little too late since Lambert has been dragging the team down with him since about the fifth week of the campaign. Villa got off to a flying start as they went unbeaten in their first four contests. Lerner then made the foolish decision of signing Lambert to a four-year contract extension even thought the team finished 15th in the 20-team league the previous two seasons.
Lambert’s signature on the contract will now cost Lerner a pretty penny to pay him off. Villa has scored just twice in their 10-game winless streak and has just 12 goals on the season after 25 matches. This is a new Premier League low and their goal total is the worst of all 92 professional English teams. Lambert joined Villa in 2012 after leaving Norwich in the lurch by more or less walking out on the club for a bigger and wealthier team. The club’s brass recently said Lambert would stay on until the end of the season, but things changed as soon as they dipped into the relegation zone.
bet365 lists Aston Villa at 6/4 to be relegated and 7/1 to finish last in the Premier League.
The fans and local press turned on Lambert several weeks ago by chanting for him to be sacked during games and publishing articles prompting the team to remove him. Marc Reeves, the editor of the Birmingham Mail said of his newspaper articles, “It’s a voice that needs to be listened to and the Mail wanted to play its part in amplifying that voice to the Aston Villa board. I still believe Lerner will sell up during the summer. To a certain extent he’s protecting his investment here. He’ll be terrified about Villa going down – they have not been relegated since 1986-87 – and they look as if they could.”
With Lambert in charge, the team scored 98 goals in a total of 101 league games and earned 102 points out of a possible 303, meaning they dropped 201 points under his reign. In addition, the squad’s goals-per-game average is 0.48 this year, which is the lowest in the history of English pro soccer. Lambert’s winning percentage at Villa was 24.75 per cent. Lambert has gotten the team into this mess and it’ll now be the job of senior coach Scott Marshall to get them out of it with help from goaltending coach Andy Marshall as they’ve been named as interim managers.
The pair of Marshall’s have their work cut out for them for the remainder of the season as bet365 lists Aston Villa at 6/4 to be relegated and 7/1 to finish last in the Premier League.