Former Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore has lashed out at Jolean Lescott after the defender said their relegation from the Premier League was a “weight off the shoulders.”
Villa, European Cup winners in the 1981/82 season, lost 1-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday to confirm demotion following a disastrous campaign in which they have won just three matches and employed the same number of managers.
Lescott has endured a tough time since signing from West Bromwich Albion in September but the 33-year-old said he wanted to stay on with the seven-times English champions.
“We showed a level of pride that there’s probably not been enough of throughout the season,” the central defender, capped 26 times by England, told the BBC after Saturday’s loss.
“It’s about results so regardless of how we played in patches today we are relegated … but now it’s confirmed maybe it’s a weight off the shoulders and we can give these fans what they deserve, some performances.
“Throughout the season we have given reasons for people to jump on us. It’s part of football, we have to take that on the chin. It’s a tough time at the minute. But at the back of our minds is next season to get promoted. I’m here for as long as Aston Villa want me.”
Lescott had angered Villa fans by posting a picture of a sports car on Twitter after a 6-0 home loss to Liverpool in February which he later said was published accidentally from his pocket while he was driving.
Collymore, who spent three years at Villa now works as a commentator and presenter on radio station TalkSPORT, said relegation should not be regarded as a relief and that people would lose their jobs at the club.
“Today this is a senior international footballer in the modern era, now confirmed ‘maybe it’s a weight off the shoulders.’ Why is it a weight off the shoulders Joleon?” Collymore said on a radio programme.
“It should hang on your shoulders.
“There’s the Villa staff, there’s real weight on their shoulders, people are getting made redundant, that have been there 20 years, that don’t know where the next pay cheque is going to come from.”