BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa celebrates his sides first goal as Birkir Bjarnason of Aston Villa scores during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Reading at Villa Park on April 3, 2018 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Why Aston Villa Could Be Staring Down the Barrel of Chaos if They Fail to Win Promotion

With the conclusion of the Championship campaign fast approaching teams will be looking to prepare for a promotion push next season, but for some this season still holds something to play for. 

Aston Villa are one of those teams. Villa have already assured their place in the play-offs and  still have an outside chance of reaching the automatic promotion places. 

But unlike the teams around them, Villa have put all their eggs into the promotion basket, and if they don't achieve their goal this season it could spell disaster for the Midlands club. 

So here are the six reasons why Aston Villa must achieve promotion this season if they are to avoid succumbing to the fate of other prestigious clubs like Nottingham Forest and Leeds United, who have been stranded in England's second tier for more than 14 years. 

6. The Money Differences

The obvious reason is money. 

The English top flight boasts a TV deal which cannot be compared with any other league in the world, which explains why the 20 Premier League teams are all among the richest clubs on the planet.

Last season it was estimated that the bottom placed Premier League team, Sunderland, earned £99.9m. 

Championship clubs that are chosen to host televised matches are awarded around £100,000 per game, and £10,000 for away games. By the end of the season Villa will have been on TV 19 times this season, meaning they will earn around £840,000, an incredible difference compared to the Premier League money.

If Villa remain in the Championship for multiple years, the quality of the first team will be so far behind the established Premier League clubs that they will struggle to compete in the top tier. 

5. Bruce Out?

Aston Villa fans have been agitated by the style of football that manager Steve Bruce has played this year, and have only stuck by him because he has been achieving positive results. 

But Bruce was brought in because of his record at getting promotion from the Championship, having won more promotions than any other manager. 

If he fails to get Villa up this year fans will turn quickly on the former Hull City boss, and a change may be on the cards. 

Any change, however, might not be positive for the Birmingham club. Bruce has proven that he can build a team that can challenge in the Championship, and had turned the fortunes of Aston Villa around, despite playing a defensive style of football. 

4. The Contract Situation

Villa currently have five first team players on loan this season. When these loans expire, the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Sam Johnstone and Josh Onomah will almost inevitably have offers from Premier League clubs after impressing for Villa this season. 

Likewise Villa have an experienced but ageing squad. A further five first team players' contracts expire at the end of the season, including captain John Terry and Villa stalwart Gabriel Agbonlahor. Terry will be 38 next season and will likely retire if the club do not get promoted. 

Failure to achieve promotion will see a big overhaul in the summer, and the new recruits might not work out quite so well.

3. Top Players Getting Tempted Away

If the Claret and Blue's don't go up this year they may lose some of their star players. 

There are many in Aston Villa's squad that will have been promised a quick return to the Premier League when they joined.

The likes of James Chester, Scott Hogan and Jonathan Kodjia are all capable of making the step up to the Premier League level, while Jack Grealish has also be linked with a move away. 

2. Parachute Payments Nearing End

Another year in the Championship will see Villa receive their third and final instalment of parachute payments from the Premier League. 

The third instalment is by far the smallest of the three, estimated at around £15m of the £89m that clubs receive in total, meaning Villa's ability to invest in the summer will be far reduced. 

Chairman Dr Tony Xia has invested £80m in the squad since the Villains were relegated. Transfers of Ross McCormack, Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan alone have set Villa back £35m. As a result they have had to deal with financial fair play restrictions this season, restrictions that will be even tighter next year with less money coming in from parachute payments.  

If they lose their best players Villa will struggle to find the money to fund replacements of the same quality.    

1. Next Season Will Have More Competition

The bottom three in the Premier League currently consists of West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, and Southampton who all boast an abundance of talent capable of performing in the second tier. 

Albeit a number of their key performers will have offers to move elsewhere, but the point still stands that next season's Championship will be more competitive than ever. 

Sheffield Wednesday have picked up recently and look capable of challenging next season, while the likes of Leeds, Norwich and Bristol City will all look to improve on this seasons form. 

There will also be five teams in the play-off places that will also fail to go up and be looking to challenge Villa for promotion places next season.  

Aston Villa are the fifth most successful club in England and one of the aristocrats of the game. A multitude of reasons has seen them fall from the extraordinary heights of winning a European cup in 1982 to a current stint in England's second tier. 

This season certainly has been a positive season for the club, but it could all still end in disaster. Hopefully Villa break back into the top tier sooner rather than later, so that we don't see them go the same way as some of England's other historic clubs and stagnate in the lower leagues.