Sir Doug Ellis admits it is “a certainty’ that Aston Villa are doomed to relegation.
The former Villa chairman has seen the team slide to a desperate position at the foot of the Barclays Premier League.
And Ellis has reconciled himself with the view there is no way back with the club nine points adrift of safety.
Tim Sherwood started the season in charge at Villa Park but was sacked in October after a poor run of results, and successor Remi Garde has been unable to transform Villa’s fortunes.
Ellis sold Villa to American Randy Lerner in 2006, and for the first time in the Premier League era the club appear set to slide out of the top flight.
Villa are eight points from safety and Ellis told Sky Sports News: “In the end, it’s the players that are really responsible. Unfortunately, they’ve not been good enough this season.
“It’s now a certainty that [Aston Villa] will be in the Championship next year.”
Ellis regrets Lerner, who has other business interests in the United States, has not been able to be a regular in the directors’ box at Villa Park.
Ellis, 92, is president emeritus of the club, and said: “I’m rather sad that the man I sold to hasn’t given more of his time to come and see Aston Villa play.”