You have to go back to when Martin O'Neil was manager of Aston Villa to consider the midland team as potential European contenders.
Last season was always going to be tough, a new manager from rivals Birmingham and the sale of goal providers Ashley Young and Stewart Downing. In fairness Alex McLeish was reported to have been asked to reduce what was described as an “astronomical” wage bill by Randy Lerner and the failure to invest almost cost Premier football at Villa Park next season.
In comes Paul Lambert from Norwich who has worked his way through the lower leagues before transforming the club's fortunes and Villa supporters have again had expectations raised.
Further good news is that he is likely to have money to spend and he will also be able to use the money he generates from the sale of current Villa players.
Villa ended last season in 16th place, two points above the drop zone a wakeup call for Lerner and the fiercely loyal fans deserve better.