For Aston Villa this season is a complete write off.
As we accelerate towards the climax of the Barclays Premier League they sit bottom of the table, having picked up just three wins from 31 matches in the league this season.
Villa have scored a pathetic 22 goals in that time, while they have shipped 57 goals at the other end.
When Remi Garde took over following Tim Sherwood’s sacking, he cannot have had the faintest idea just how bad things were at the football club. The former Lyon manager had absolutely no chance of keeping them up without significant investment in the January transfer window.
Number of January signings: zero.
Randy Lerner for the last four years has concentrated solely on running a once great football club into the ground. He mangles any potential sale so badly that the club continues to turn into a laughing stock.
Sunday’s defeat to Tottenham was a metaphor for Aston Villa on and off the pitch. A comedy of errors from experienced professionals leading to the inevitable.
The sales of both Christian Benteke and, more controversially, Fabian Delph, were a dagger in the heart to Villa fans and indeed the club’s chances of staying in the Premier League. Then, the releasing of Ron Vlaar left them without the leader they so desperately needed.
Their replacements have been at best, abject. Out of those bought in to replace them, only Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott had Premier League experience.
Between them, Richards and Lescott have made over 450 Premier League appearances and that experience should have been vital. They have to take some blame for this unprecedented collapse.
The biggest failings though by a mile were the players Tim Sherwood signed from abroad.
Ligue 1 imports such as Jordan Ayew, Jordan Veretout and Idrissa Gana Gueye have been as effective at replacing Delph and Benteke as tipping a bottle of water over a house fire.
Adama Traore was bought from Barcelona for over £10m, with Sherwood beaming in the summer that a once promising Barcelona wonderkid was a “mixture of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.”
Had we have actually seen him this summer we might be more the wiser as to whether that claim is true.
Sherwood also claimed upon signing this glut of European unknowns that you sign the same quality from abroad for much cheaper than their English counterparts.
He didn’t bank on the two things you cannot buy; Premier League experience and a willingness to play for the shirt.
But while this season is over for Villa, next season heralds more heartache.
If they keep hold of the team the team they currently have, and a change of ownership does not materialise to replace these buffoons for football men, then next season they will struggle to stay in the Championship. Never mind try and get promotion back out of it again.
Mismanagement of a football club can often see teams disappear into the abyss and quickfire relegations from the Premier League to League One and beyond are no longer unusual.
It happened in successive seasons for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2012 and 2013, while it took the once mighty Leeds United three years from 2004-2007 to achieve that feat. Fulham, relegated in 2014 to the Championship, are a point above the relegation zone as I write this. And just look at what happened to Portsmouth back in 2010.
There are similarities between all of those examples and the case study presented here. Football men need to run football clubs.
Unless Aston Villa have a complete change on and off the pitch they will carry on this comedy show all the way into the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.