Five things Aston Villa fans can look forward to in the Championship

It has been a wretched season for Aston Villa fans, who have their club plummet out of the Premier League with little evidence of pride or passion from the players.

In fact, it’s been the club’s worst top-flight campaign since the 1986/87 season, when they finished in 22nd place and were resultantly relegated to the old second division, and one of the worst campaigns we’ve seen in the Premier League since it’s creation in 1992. Only Derby County in 2007/08 and Sunderland in 2005/06 finished with fewer points than the Birmingham outfit’s current haul of 16.

But what’s done is done, and the Villans must now begin preparing for life in the Championship, which is by no means as dreadful as it may initially seem. After all, the Championship is the toughest, most popular and most lucrative second division in world football, recently outspending the Dutch Eredivisie.

So with that in mind, us silver lining merchants at FootballFanCast have unearthed FIVE things Villa fans can genuinely look forward to (no trolling here!) in the Championship next season – although we’re sure there are a great many more.

ACTUALLY WINNING SOME GAMES

Gestede
Let’s start with the obvious. Aston Villa have won just three Premier League fixtures so far this season, their last victory coming all the way back in February, amid one of the worst campaigns in the club’s 141-year history.

But facing a significantly lesser quality of opposition over a 46-game season (eight more than the Premier League), Villa fans can rest assured that they’ll have far more opportunities to celebrate in the Championship. Then again, that also means far more opportunities to be left bitterly disappointed.

MIDLANDS DERBIES

Gary Rowett
Since Wolves’ relegation in 2012, Aston Villa have suffered a bit of a famine when it comes to local derbies. There’s only so many times you can face attritional enthusiasts West Brom and Premier League champions Leicester City without getting completely bored and any inkling of a serious rivalry slowly melting away.

But the Championship looks set to be filled with Midlands clubs next season, including the Villans’ closest local rivals Birmingham City. Likewise, Wolves, Derby County and Nottingham Forest will be in the second tier next term, whilst Burton Albion have sealed promotion from League One and Walsall could follow.

That should add some extra spice to Villa’s season and hopefully some memorable nights for the fans.

CHEAPER TICKETS

Aston Villa v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League
Villa Park season ticket holders are guaranteed a reduction of at least £10 for next term as a consequence of the club’s relegation.

That might not seem like much but there are an extra four home games in the Championship, meaning the price per match actually drops from £17.63 to £14.13, and the club are also throwing in a free ticket for the first cup match of the season. One can only assume matchday tickets will come down somewhat as well.

A very slight silver lining, perhaps. But amid an era in which extortionate ticket prices have become the norm, Villa fans are getting a decent deal for next season.

YOUNG PLAYERS GETTING A CHANCE

Jack Grealish
For far too long, Villa Park has served as a home for Premier League mercenaries; top-flight veterans looking for a final payday or cut-price signings from abroad who view Aston Villa as a stepping stone to greater things. The first-team resultantly lacks any real identity and the club is devoid of players looking to give something back.

But Villa boast a decent academy and dropping to the Championship should see some of their youngsters get more chances at first team level. We already know about Jack Grealish’s enormous potential, whilst Gary Gardiner and Jed Steer have proved themselves on loan in the second tier this season. The likes of Lewis Kinsella, Riccardo Calder and Andre Green are highly-rated too.

RANDY LERNER INVESTING OR SELLING

Lerner out
By his own admission, Randy Lerner is part of the problem at Aston Villa. The owner has constantly flip-flopped between investing, implementing shoe-string budgets, looking to sell and expressing his commitment to the Villa cause.

But now certain for at least a season in the Championship, Lerner faces a dilemma he has no choice but to solve. On the one hand, he’ll have to sell Villa at a loss and recover as much of his original investment as possible before he makes even more of a mess. On the other, he’ll have to spend to get Villa back to the Premier League and restore the club’s value.

Either way, it’s a win-win for protesting Villa fans who’ve had enough of their American owner.