As Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish faces a meagre 13% approval rating from his own fans on Bantr is it worth posing the question to Alex McLeish, Randy Lerner and Roberto Martinez - do you regret your decision 8 months ago when Villa were searching for a new boss?
For Martinez, the decision to turn down the Villa role was a surprising one, as he nobly decided to repay the faith that Wigan owner Dave Whelan had shown in him by signing a new contact. However those looking on from the outside could see that such a move was masochistic at best.
Low attendances, no money to spend and a policy of selling on the clubs best talent meant that Martinez was only ever going to spend the year struggling to keep Wigan’s head above water. Currently sitting bottom of the League with 19 points it looks like his luck might have run out.
The quality of players and cash available to him had he left for Villa Park would surely have seen the team doing better than they currently are - and Villa fans might just have seen some better football in the past few months.
So instead, Randy Lerner looked across town to the recently relegated League Cup winners, The Clowns. Despite his reputation for dull, route one football and the protestations from great swathes of Aston Villa fans, McLeish was given the reigns with a worrying initial approval of just 63%.
Five weeks into the season and the Scottish boss seemingly began to win some of the fans over as he crept up to a high point of 70%. Those heady heights were to be the peak of his approval as Villa’s league position, and his popularity, have faced a steady decline to the point where they are now - 15th place with the second least popular boss in the league at the helm.
The truth sometimes hurts
The uncomfortable truth for McLeish is that his squad is very much capable of a top 8 finish, though right now top half looks to be a stretch.
For Lerner, his failure to lure Martinez has meant a year of discontent as his side have done just enough to stay away from the mess at the bottom and fans have voted with their feet as a result of the insipid performances served up by their team. McLeish finds his reputation in tatters and it's hard to tell what Martinez has lost more of this year - sleep, hair or football matches!
So would Martinez have fared any better? You would have to believe so. The squad McLeish inherited and added to is infinitely stronger than any that Martinez has managed to make do with at the DW Stadium in recent years.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Martinez’s Wigan play a far more attractive brand of football despite not being blessed with the likes of Darren Bent or Steven Ireland et al. If Randy Lerner wants to re-instill the sense of pride that has been lacking around Villa Park since Martin O’Neil’s shock departure, then I believe he could do far worse than showing McLeish’s derivative style of play the door and dipping back into the Championship - but this time for the progressive stylings of Martinez. Maybe then the club can look to return to their status as challengers to the top table.
But what of Martinez’s approval rating I hear some of you say? I'd argue that 80% for a manager who’s team sit rock bottom of the league compares very favourably against 13% for a team in 15th. I believe a story of over and underachievement is very much clear here.
But, would Aston Villa fans welcome Martinez into Villa Park if he were to get Wigan relegated this year? Has McLeish had a fair crack of the whip? And are there any players you feel should shoulder some of the blame for this years weak showing?