Nigel Spink suggests how he thought Aston Villa would fare at start of season, suggests what has cost them

The former Villa goalkeeper did not expect the club to crumble in the fashion it has this season.

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper Nigel Spink has told the Express & Star that he has been stunned by the manner in which the club has crashed and burned this season after initially feeling optimistic about their chances.

Villa's relegation to the Championship could be confirmed on Saturday before they have even played if Sunderland do not win at Norwich City, and even if that does happen, the bottom side would have to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, something they have only done in the league once in the last 33 years.

It has been the most catastrophic of seasons for the Birmingham club, with just three league wins all season long and the club now on their third manager.

Spink, who made 460 appearances across two decades at Villa and was their goalkeeping hero on the club's greatest day, the 1982 European Cup final against Bayern Munich, admits he has been shocked by the club's plight.

He told the Express & Star: "It has been stunning, particularly when you think of how they started the season under Tim Sherwood, winning at Bournemouth on the opening day.

"There was a real sense they might do quite well, but it just never happened. Things just got steadily worse and worse and it just hasn’t been good enough. The recruitment last summer was, in retrospect, just horrific."

Villa's transfer policy last summer, which included signing a raft of players from the French top-flight, has been cited as a key factor in the club's failure, but in fact it can more likely be attributed to a myriad of reasons, many dating back well before the current campaign.

Whatever the cause, the club are now facing up to the harsh reality that they will be enduring a first season outside of the top division for nearly three decades come August.

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