Maybe I looked a little too close into the crystal ball with my recent look at Premier League relegation candidates and expressing my fears for Aston Villa. Lo and behold, Wednesday saw Paul Lambert exiting his job and, unfortunately, will be forever remembered for that awful quote about being “100% certain Villa would avoid relegation”.
The usual suspects were lined up by the media and the usual candidates were throwing their hats into the ring for what is still considered one of the biggest jobs, or perhaps the correct word should be ‘prestigious’, in the Premier League. It was certainly, in Lambert’s own words, ‘the biggest challenge’ of his career and it was a challenge that bested him. So who next for the Villa manager’s job?
Tim Sherwood is a media favourite for the job but there are certain reservations about Tim. He proved he can do a job in the Premier League with Spurs, but would he be prepared to risk relegation and take a step downwards to take a few upward, in time? I think not.
My nomination would be Karl Robinson. He has been doing a superb job at MK Dons and has them sitting nicely in the League One table, poised for promotion to the Championship. He has proved himself as a manager and also, perhaps more importantly in these days when managers move clubs with almost as much loyalty lacking as players, he has shown he is not a job hopper – the kind of young, hungry manager who stays a couple of years before moving to a better job and again and again. Karl has shown commendable loyalty to his Chairman Pete Winkelman and I’m sure Pete would not stand in Karl’s way if the move to a bigger club came his way. And make no mistake; Aston Villa is a massive club.
I remember when they dropped as far as the third tier back in the 1970s. As they swept all before them on the way to the 3rd Division Championship in 1972 they were pulling in crowds of 30,000 plus at Villa Park as well as setting a few away attendances into the bargain.
Eddie Howe has been mentioned in dispatches but, at worst this season, Bournemouth will be established as a Championship club, but, his club is well placed to replace Aston Villa in the Premier League next season so I doubt he will go to Villa.
One major factor that will influence Villa’s choice of successor to Lambert will be, can the next manager rescue Villa from relegation? He would only have the current squad to work with, and look where the current players have got the club to this point. If an interim appointment is made who will be brave enough to have a Villa relegation on his CV? Brian Little has been there, especially at Villa, and has got any number of videos and t-shirts. Randy Lerner could do a lot worse than give Brian a quick call and ask him to step into the breach until the end of the season, then reassess.
The other option for Villa is to make an appointment with possible relegation in mind and so a candidate who has experience of the Championship, and getting promotion from it, would be ideal.
All these factors have to be given detailed consideration as will the fact that it has become harder, year upon year, to bounce back into the Premier League after relegation, ask Wolves, just down the road from Villa Park.
Who would you like to see appointed as the next Aston Villa manager? Let us know in the comments!