Villa protest group blames Randy Lerner, not Remi Garde, for club's predicament
An Aston Villa protest group has expressed its sympathy for departed manager Remi Garde and blamed owner Randy Lerner for the club's current predicament.
The group behind 'Out The Door On 74', which encouraged Villa supporters to vote with their feet and leave the last two home matches after 74 minutes - symbolic of the club's formation in 1874 - in protest at the years of decline under Lerner, thinks the American should now go.
Garde, who left Villa on Tuesday night by "mutual consent", had been left disillusioned by a lack of backing in the January transfer window having failed to land any new signings and the group described the Frenchman as a "sacrificial lamb".
The group said in a statement: "Two wins in 20 is always going to leave a manager open to valid criticism regardless of the circumstances and his sacking has been inevitable for a while, whether now or in the summer.
"Yet, why is it that we find our sympathies turning towards a manager who has undoubtedly failed in his remit?
"He was hung out to dry by Mr Lerner and his sorry band of fools. The January window slammed shut on February 2 with zero investment provided, not a single player joined a squad that had finally shown some mettle but was still woefully short of both consistent quality and numbers.
"Whatever promises had been made to the manager, whatever token efforts were made, he was positioned as the sacrificial lamb and he has been slaughtered for it. The fight visibly drained from him and for Aston Villa our failure to bolster a fatally flawed squad was the final nail in the coffin.
"How many more times must we cycle through managers, players and board members before Mr Lerner finds the winning combination? In our view, he has had long enough.
"The Aston Villa job is a poisoned chalice because of one man's inability to provide either consistent support, vision or in Remi Garde's case, simply be true to his word. Randy Lerner, bow your head once again in shame."
The 'Out The Door On 74' campaign is set to continue when Villa resume Barclays Premier League action at home to Chelsea on Saturday.
Villa, bottom of the table and 12 points from safety, are now looking for their third manager of the season. Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and David Moyes, previously of Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad, have emerged as an early favourites with bookmakers.