Ugo Ehiogu believes it has been a five-year Aston Villa decline, George Boateng suggests much longer

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Aston Villa have struggled this season and have suffered relegation as a result.

Aston Villa have finally suffered relegation to the Championship after a dreadful season in the Premier League.

For many it has been a long time coming and former Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu had his say on the matter this week.

Ehiogu, who is now the under-21 coach at Tottenham Hotspur, spent nine years at Aston Villa before joining Middlesbrough in 2009.

He was speaking to BBC Radio Leeds this week and explained how he feels that this has been coming since the Alex McLeish era at Villa Park:

“It hasn’t been a secret; it hasn’t been a sudden decline.

“They had, under (Alex) McLeish, going back quite a few years now, they flirted with relegation so the evidence has been coming, it’s been prevalent.

“At times they’ve sold some of their best players and haven’t bought in players that have been good enough to keep them in the Premiership.

“It’s a shame.”

But another former Villa player believes the demise was starting much earlier.

George Boateng spent three years at Villa but in 2002 surprisingly pushed for an exit, also heading to Middlesbrough.

He feels something was changing at the Midlands club already back then – 14 years ago. He told Sky Sports News HQ this week (15/04/2016):

“I actually left because I felt after that game no more ambitious enough to get into the top four.

“We had John Gregory who signed me for the club and at that period we were flying. We had good players. Paul Merson, Dion Dublin, Darius Vassell, Julian Joachim, Gareth Southgate – we had a top six team.

“Then something changed in the boardroom which we don’t know as players. You could tell. John Gregory left, (Graham) Taylor came in an all of a sudden the football was going to change.

“I felt it was time to leave and move on.

“I just don’t what has happened and what’s changed so that they are where they are.”

Aston Villa’s demise has been steady and not dramatic and finally they have dropped to the second-tier of English football.

Hopefully this can be the catalyst to turn things around at Villa Park rather than another footnote on the steady decline of this great football club.

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