Swift return to Premier League must be a priority says Villa board

THE chairman of Aston Villa has promised the club’s supporters that its new board will work hard to ensure a swift return to the Premier League.

The club’s relegation to the Championship was finally confirmed on Saturday following a 1-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The result was the final nail in the coffin of a desperately poor season for the club, which will now disappear from the top flight of English football for the first time in 30 years.

In an open letter to fans, chairman Steve Hollis said: “On behalf of the board, let me express my deep regret that I find myself writing this open letter to you, knowing just how much hurt and pain, anger and anguish will have been felt by you all after the club lost its Premier League status this weekend.

“Your profound sadness is shared by everyone connected with the club and while I know that will be of little consolation in the days ahead, it should be a source of reassurance as we rebuild the foundations for future successes.”

He said the result at the weekend was the culmination of an “unacceptably fractured” season both on and off the pitch.

However, he said the performance could not be put down to bad luck – and to do so would be insulting to the fans, many of whom had shown “unyielding commitment in adversity”.

Mr Hollis adds: “While it is of little solace at present, the process of identifying the root causes of our circumstances started long ago and the focus now has to be looking forward and making sure lessons have been learnt.

“The search for a new manager to provide drive, direction and immediate promotion has commenced.

“Together, we share the same goal. We intend to restore Aston Villa Football Club to its rightful place. It is a journey we must make together so we can bring success, enjoyment and exciting football back to Villa Park once more.”

However, before that occurs the club is likely to suffer a considerable amount of pain – both sporting and economic.

The drop to the Championship will significant impact the club’s revenues at a time when it has already been put up for sale by owner Randy Lerner – staff have already been warned to expect redundancies.

While it will receive a parachute payment to try and tide it over, this funding will only last for a limited time. Therefore the emphasis has been placed on a swift return.

It is likely the club will move on some of the players from its squad as it adjust to life in the Championship, however, this will be a decision for the new manager, whenever they are appointed.