Apr 15, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT
Once-mighty Aston Villa has a reasonable chance of finishing in the Bottom Five of the Premier League for the third consecutive season, a feat the club hasn’t dealt with since the late 1960s.
If the long struggles aren’t enough for a club that qualified for the Europa League in 2009 and 2010, now a mysterious suspension has been handed down to manager Paul Lambert‘s top two assistants.
Former Villa player Gordon Cowans and current back-up keeper Shay Given have been “temporarily promoted” after suspensions were issued to assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of footballing operations Gary Karsa “pending an internal investigation.”
Culverhouse and Karsa came to Villa with Lambert from Norwich City.
Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner was at the club’s training ground, Bodymoor Heath, on Tuesday for talks with under-fire manager Paul Lambert, Culverhouse and Karsa as the club attempt to halt their slide down the Barclays Premier League.
And while the details of why Culverhouse and Karsa have been suspended are yet to emerge, the club have deemed whatever happened to be serious enough to remove two of Lambert’s most trusted backroom staff while Villa fight against relegation.
The Midlands club have picked up just seven points from a possible 30, and are currently on a run of four consecutive defeats.
Faulkner released a statement ahead of Villa’s tough run-in, which features matches against Southampton, Manchester City and Spurs. He called for the club and its supporters to come together:
“Four games ago, on the back of two good home wins, we were looking up the table and feeling confident of a strong, positive finish to the season.
“Since then we have suffered four consecutive defeats and that is hard to take. We are hurting. Fans are hurting, players and the manager are hurting. The frustration is shared by everyone who loves Aston Villa.”
Villa’s remaining fixtures are as follows:
- FIFA ethics committee bans 11 current, former officials from all football-related activities 3
- UEFA calls for postponement of FIFA presidential election, threatens to boycott congress 5
- FIFA president Sepp Blatter releases first statement since overnight arrests 11
- Three things we learned from the US Department of Justice news conference on the FIFA investigation 6
- FIFA presidential elections will go on Friday despite arrests 6
- FBI, US Department of Justice issues damning statement on FIFA, details corruption investigation 8