Preston's Simon Grayson highlights the moment his former club Aston Villa's decline started

Simon Grayson has analysed the situation surrounding his former club Aston Villa.

Preston North End boss Simon Grayson believes Martin O'Neill's departure sparked Aston Villa's recent struggles, as seen in a video posted on The Chronicle.

Grayson, 46, has worked wonders at Preston, turning them from a struggling League One team into a thriving Championship club in just three years, taking the club up into tenth place right now.

His managerial success comes after a long playing career, which saw him turn out for big clubs like Leeds United, Leicester City and Aston Villa.

His time at Villa saw him play 64 games, scoring two goals during his time with the Premier League club before moving on to Blackburn Rovers in July 1999.

Whilst he's currently enjoying success with Preston, his former club Villa are struggling at the foot of the Premier League table, and look doomed to relegation, where they would then face Grayson's Preston in the Championship.

Grayson is no stranger to a fallen giant having managed Leeds United, and has now given his views on the fall of Aston Villa in recent years.

Grayson, in a video posted on The Chronicle, suggested that Villa will have a chance to succeed in the second tier, but believes the demise started with Martin O'Neill's departure back in 2010.

"It's a huge football club," said Grayson. "I remember leaving Leicester to go there, and obviously played there a few times but you don't realise the size of football club Aston Villa is. We had a good time when I was there, playing in Europe, but over the last few years - probably since Martin O'Neill left - the club has had that gradual decline, and it's a sorry state of affairs to see a football club as big as that in the problems that they're in."

"Sometimes you don't realise how good things are with certain individuals, and then you make a change and it isn't always for the better. We talk about giving people the opportunity to weather the storm when things are not going well, and whether they've made the right appointments or the wrong appointments, time will tell."

"If they do go down, they're going to be the big scalp. Other clubs have found the same problem, like Blackburn when they went down. It's very difficult, but if they get the right core of players, and the understanding of what the division is all about, then they've got a good chance because they're a big club, but ultimately that doesn't give you any divine right to do well in this division," he added.

Under O'Neill, Villa finished 11th, and then record three successive sixth place finishes, before falling into their current state after the poor appointments of Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish, Paul Lambert and Tim Sherwood once O'Neill resigned in 2010.

Current incumbent Remi Garde has no experience of Championship football, and if fans want a veteran Football League head in charge of the club next season, bringing Grayson back to Villa Park may not be the worst idea in the world, considering his work with Preston.

Did O'Neill's departure spark Villa's fall?

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