Many supporters believe Martin O’Neill’s departure from Aston Villa in 2010, days before their Premier League season opener against West Ham, started the club’s demise.
Whether or not you are in that camp, expect the Northern Irishman to get a mixed or even hostile reception when Villa take on his Nottingham Forest side on Wednesday night at the City Ground.
Dean Smith’s side, who beat bitter rivals Birmingham City last time out, will be looking to continue their promotion charge, while their former manager will be aiming to guide his own team into the Championship’s top-six.
It is fair to say that these last nine years have arguably been the worst in the club’s history, with bad managerial appointments, woeful CEO’s and even worse players wearing the Claret & Blue shirt.
When O’Neill left Villa in such an abrupt manner at the start of the decade, he left a team was competing in and for European places as well as going deep in domestic cup competitions without any success.
Six years later, the former European Championships found themselves sitting in the second tier of English football for the first time in nearly three decades.
Since then, Villa have tried their best to get back to their once great days, but the task has probably proven to be more difficult than some thought.
Boyhood Villa fan Dean Smith and star man Jack Grealish will be hoping to bring back the glory days to B6, whether they do it this season or the next, the club’s supporters will be behind them all the way.