Things changed last season we beat the Villa for the first time in ages and the post O'Neil decline has been spectacular. Crippled with debt and an owner who has turned off the financial succour which kept Villa top of the pile. To compound their problems Lerner made a disastrous management appointment in Alex McLeish which not only generated fan discontent but also led to a flirtation with relegation.
Wolves are in some ways stronger in that they are financially sound however a combination of mismanagement and poor performances from key players led to their relegation. They will regroup in the Championship under Stale Solbakken who will be under intense pressure to achieve a speedy return. Steve Morgan has invested heavily in the club and the cost base is a premier league one even if the team isn't.
Wolves join Birmingham City in the championship. Not long ago fueled by Carson Yueng's money Birmingham looked like they would be the challengers to Villa for supremency in the West Midlands however their star faded faster than you can say "lets sign Nicola Zigic".
When we were not top of the heap many an envious glance was cast particularly at Wolves and Birmingham. Some fans saw the headline grabbing purchases of Roger Johnson, Scott Dann, Kevin Doyle, Jamie O'Hara and Nicola Zigic and asked the question why not us? In short we could afford neither the wages nor the fees. In fact neither could the Blues whose current position off the pitch is grave.
We now find ourselves at the apex of West Midlands football at the point when it is at a nadir. Blues and Wolves are licking their wounds in the Championship and Aston Villa are a mess. I do not want to decry the club's achievements and for a us a top 10 finish represents real progress but let us not get ahead of ourselves.Finishing above two poor teams is a bit like being the tallest pygmy in the village. Being ahead of Stoke and Sunderland feels like an achievement doing so again next year will ensure a solid mid table position finishing ahead of Villa might mean we are relegated in 18th.