Paul Lambert gets his marching orders at Aston Villa

We are in the middle of a very bleak period in Aston Villa’s history. They are of course still in The Premier League. But you can’t say, with any certainty, that they will still be gracing the top tier come August.

Perhaps a new manager will make all the difference. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest and Aston Villa certainly needs some reinvigoration.

But we always felt that Paul Lambert was an excellent coach and if he can’t turn things around on a budget, after doing such great work at Norwich, then will anyone else do a noticeably better job?

On his departure, Lambert himself highlighted the challenge facing the next coach when he said:

“The club’s owner, Randy Lerner, warned me that I was embarking on the toughest challenge of my working life and he was not wrong,”

The Telegraph, meanwhile, speculates that there are as many as 10 candidates on the short list to replace Lambert.

Of these, we would say that Jurgen Klinsmann or Michael Laudrup would be the best bets. Others, like David Moyes and Gareth Southgate, have also been mooted as potential successors. But we feel that Aston Villa need inspiration more than perspiration right now. Moyes and Southgate could be described as solid and workmanlike in their approach. But we feel that Aston Villa need to work smarter rather than harder.

Klinsmann and Laudrup could well bring that touch of genius to Aston Villa and we feel that both would be great additions to the coaching staff.

That said, the sacking of Lambert is cruel, and most fans would agree that he has done well with the comparatively small resources that he has had to work with.

But the choice of the next coach is absolutely pivotal to the long-term future of the club. If they get the wrong man, relegation could well follow. And, with the lack of money on the table for investment, Aston Villa could then be looking at a protracted spell in the lower leagues.

The next couple of weeks will be crucial for Aston Villa.