Let's start with a few basic assumptions. The first: Aston Villa's season is over. They are relegated and there is no way back to safety for them. Yes, this is mathematically untrue, but a path to safety would require this team to play like (checks table to see who is at the top) Leicester (weird) for the rest of the season. It's not going to happen.
The second assumption: fans are angry, and rightfully so. It's been revealed that our CEO is making £1.25 million per year. He hasn't even eased some of the big issues that were under his purview, issues like wage inflation and the like. Randy Lerner is still in charge, and while that may not be his fault, it's not making anyone happy.
At this point, there are very few things that Aston Villa could do to make the fans happier. Firing Tom Fox would probably work. Refunding the purchase of some tickets would, too. As would releasing details of a 2015-16 ticket plan in which tickets for The Championship are cheaper than those for the Premier League were this season.
Barring those things (and probably one or two others) not much is going to ameliorate our anger. At this point the best option is probably just to shut up. Stop saying stupid things. Stop doing stupid things. Stop actively pissing us off. In fact, stop doing everything that you have been doing in 2016. Because what you've done in 2016 hasn't worked.
There was January, a month in which you would have been entirely justified in saying "to fix this team, we'd have to buy a new team, and we're not prepared to do that in the winter transfer window." That would have made some people angry, but it's the truth and it would have been fair. Instead? You've told the Aston Villa Supporters' Trust that you had two deals in place and that those deals fell through. Now how do you expect us to take that? There are two possibilities here. The first is that you're lying and there were no deals in place for the aforementioned reason. If that's the case, don't lie to us. That will just piss us off.
The other option is that you really did think you could fix some problems and went out to sign new players AND HAD TWO OPTIONS. When those options fell through, you... I don't know. Shrugged? Look at what happened here. By justifying yourself with a half-assed excuse you've painted yourselves into the corner of either a team that lies to its fans or a team that doesn't understand a basic fundamental of transfer windows: have back-up plans. Either option is bad, and either is destined to anger us.
Or how about the ham-fisted attempts at controlling image in Villa Park? The fan who, with her father, yelled about football being nothing without the fans and was kicked out and had her season ticket removed. Sure, you gave it back, but the damage was already done. "We will not tolerate criticism" was the message that we heard all heard from that.
Then we had the fracas this weekend in the North Stand. You know, the time in which a few fans held up a (quite frankly terrible) banner that said "Lerner Out." The banner that looked like this:
You decided that this banner, this bedsheet with some hasty marker scrawled on it, was the hill on which you would die. This banner that hadn't been shown on the TV broadcast and probably hadn't even been noticed by most in attendance at Villa Park. So what did you do? You sent stewards to take it down. First one, then many. Suddenly a junk banner became symbolic of everything that is wrong with you right now. You can't handle the scrawlings of a few pissed off patrons. Really?
You've done more harm by letting us all know 1) the banner existed and 2) it was your desire to end it than the banner ever would have done by itself.
And the list goes on. Joleon Lescott's butt-tweet of a car. His admission of not giving his all. Your plans to clarify where the club stands at the end of the season. Your method of addressing the issue now by throwing big names onto the board.
Can't you see what is happening, Villa? Every time you do something, you piss us off more. Whoever is advising you in what is and isn't good public relations is doing a terrible job. Or maybe you're just not listening to them. Given the way you act and what I know about the people trying to steer you well, my guess is that it's the latter.
So allow me to offer the free advice I've already said: shut up. Just shut up. If fans complain, take it. If fans make banners, let them fly. If Joleon Lescott's ass logs onto twitter again, don't let his fingers apologize.
You've done enough damage. Heed the words of Will Rogers. "Let me tell you about the law of holes: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."
Just. Shut. Up.