Aston Villa director David Bernstein comments on where he thinks club should be

The new board member says he is excited by the challenges ahead for the club but Villa are nowhere near where they should be.

Newly-appointed director David Bernstein has told the Aston Villa official website that the club are still the top team in the Midlands and should be one of the six biggest clubs in the country.

Bernstein joined Villa's board alongside club legend Brian Little earlier this month as new chairman Steve Hollis undertakes sweeping changes off the field in preparation for the club's inevitable relegation.

The 72-year-old businessman has a great deal of experience in football, having helped to revive the fortunes of Manchester City as chairman between 1998 and 2003 and holding the same role at the FA for over two years at the start of this decade.

Bernstein admitted that he found the challenge at Villa "particularly interesting" and insists that the club should be amongst the top six in English football rather than destined for the second tier.

He told the club's website: "It's a fantastic challenge. I have been offered a number of things in football since I left the FA and frankly I wasn't interested.

"But when I got the opportunity to get involved with Aston Villa, I think the mix of it being such a great club and yet with so many issues at the moment was particularly interesting for me. I have always been very, very fond of Aston Villa. Now the mix of problem but potential attracts me.

"I instantly think one of the founding clubs of English football, I think of the premier club in the Midlands despite Leicester's success and we should be one of the top half dozen clubs in the country.

"It's got a great heritage, great support, great stadium, great training ground - it's got everything and frankly shouldn't be where it is. But it is - and we have to deal with the issues."

Villa's Premier League status hangs by a thinner and thinner thread every week and it is only a matter of time before that thread snaps.

After Saturday's home defeat to a mediocre Swansea City, the Birmingham club are now 12 points adrift of safety with just seven matches remaining.

Despite the relatively encouraging changes off the field, with unpopular CEO Tom Fox departing last week, the new board will have a huge rebuilding job on their hands this summer ahead of a first season outside of the top flight in nearly 30 years.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch