Rock bottom Aston Villa reeling from life post Paul Lambertby Andy Dillon / 23 December 2015, 10:06Tweet
The Sun's Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) looks at how the Premier League's basement club, Aston Villa, have sunk to new dismal depths since sacking Paul Lambert back in February.
BEING CAREFUL what you wish for is most poignant at Christmas time.
Aston Villa fans would do well to remember this as they ponder life post Paul Lambert.
Especially if they end up swapping places with their one-time despised manager come next May.
Blackburn Rovers lost their first game since Lambert took over in a 1-0 defeat at Reading on Sunday.
Villa are planning an open top bus parade after a 1-1 draw against a team considered erratic even by Newcastle's volatile standards at the weekend.
Villa are ten points adrift of safety at the foot of the Premier League. Blackburn are six points off the Championship top six and Play Off places.
Lambert's transfer embargo is being lifted while Villa will struggle to sign anyone except the most desperate or mercenary players when they go scrabbling around when the winter window opens next month.
Under Lambert Aston Villa spent only two weeks in the bottom three of the top flight.
That was achieved with a limit on spending. His biggest signing was around Â£6 million on striker Christian Benteke.
And every year he managed to persuade the highly-rated Belgian to stick around at Villa Park despite interest from bigger and more successful clubs.
Benteke has now gone as a Â£32 million star to Liverpool. Villa are now preparing a massive clearout under Remi Garde, the second manager to have a go at trying to do what Lambert did since he got the sack ten months ago.
Tim Sherwood had a pop and got Villa to the FA Cup final where he was totally humiliated by Arsenal last May. He is still feeling a bit red-faced: only at the moment he is soaking up the rays on a sun lounger in Barbados while 'looking for work'.
Lambert engineered back to back promotions when he was at Norwich prior to Villa park too.
Before Norwich he came to the attention of City's board by masterminding a 7-1 win for Colchester at Carrow Road.
He took Norwich from League One to the Premier League and a twelfth placed finish.
A man of steely resolve and derided for playing boring football, he is big on results but not so on pairing football with Strictly come Dancing.
He is now focusing his energy on reviving Blackburn Rovers - the only team outside of the elite group of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City to win the Premier League title.
Remi Garde must think his eyes are deceiving him when he looks at the Premier League table as his team flounders.
When Lambert got the sack it meant there wasn't a single Scotsman working as a manager in the top tier of English football - in the 1970s and 80s that would have inconceivable.
Football seems to be like the festive season where people fall for fancy wrapping and shiny paper - in this case foreign sounding names.
Lambert is one of those gifts that doesn't look like it's any good but turns out to be the most useful thing you ever got.