By the middle of Monday morning, strong rumours, with some foundation, that Villa were in discussions to dispense with Alex McLeish as manager. By 3pm, it was confirmed: McLeish's contract had been terminated. And the language in the official statement released by the club made no notion of mutual consent, such a fashionable phrase in today's football manager merry-go-round. It was direct, decisive and damning.
As far as these things tend to go, this, from Villa's owner and chairman Randy Lerner, was as brutal and uncompromising as it gets; at least, in terms of publicly sanctioned comments.
"Compelling play and result that instil a sense of confidence that Villa is on the right track have been plainly absent," he said.
That's strong. But not only is it accurate, it is also what Villa supporters deserve; for the best part of a year, their concerns about McLeish have been widely dismissed as sour grapes, petty comments stemming from the fact that the new manager was disliked because he was formerly Birmingham City's manager.
His CV was never going to endear him to the Holte End, that is true, but to continually peddle the myth that that was the sole reason behind the lack of acceptance from the Villa faithful was downright insulting.
Over the last few weeks, sections of the media have realised what many, many, Villa supporters already knew. McLeish was the wrong appointment.
He was not the man to reunite what was in danger of becoming a fractured dressing room under Gerard Houllier. He was not the man to nurture Villa's blossoming younger players, the group identified, and quite rightly, as being key to the future of the club. He was not the man to work with a reduced transfer budget - although spending close to the £18m mark cannot be termed miserly and certainly there would be several other Premier League coaches falling over themselves to play with that amount.
He was not the man to work with a modest group of players, and inspire and cajole them to something greater than the sum of their parts. Why? Because he has never been that man, that manager - at least, not during his time in England.
No; any success McLeish had achieved with Birmingham City - and he did guide them to 9th place, three seasons ago - was built on defensive football. Nothing, ostensibly, wrong with that. But that Birmingham team of his had two near ever-presents in central defence, in Scott Dann and Roger Johnson, and the outstanding Joe Hart (on loan) behind them. In front of the back four, the whole team was geared to defending from the front. The formula worked, but Blues averaged a goal a game, and the football was sterile.
Upon taking the challenge at Villa, McLeish was adamant he was more than a defensive-minded coach. He seemed to bristle at the very suggestion, aware that sceptical Villa supporters demanded more. The point he missed, however, is that Villa fans would have accepted a team built on firm defensive foundations, but he delivered anything but. During his tenure at Villa, his team displayed hapless and careless defending. Halfway through the season, Villa had an entirely fair reputation as soft touches from set-pieces. It seemed opposition teams only had to deliver a decent corner to profit.
So, what is an Alex McLeish team if it cannot defend competently? Answer - nothing much at all. Lacklustre at the back, bereft of craft and guile in midfield, and clueless going forward, Villa's season stumbled from mediocre, to poor, to diabolical. Along the way, the manager's mistrust of any flair, attack-minded players, grew. Marc Albrighton was marginalised, Barry Bannan, so promising a year ago, restricted to cameo appearances, Charles N'Zogbia, the manager's big signing at a sliver under £10m, ever frustrated and increasingly sidelined. Even Gabby Agbonlahor wasn't immune. Having started the season like a train, he gradually disappeared inside his shell and, by March, was commenting that he simply wanted the season over.
A manager with a lack of vision or a plan, McLeish's final few games in charge were mainly spent eschewing any kind of responsibility for performances and results, citing injuries to his squad, the difficulty of the job and then, desperately, even claiming he'd done a good job to keep Villa in the division with a game to go.
Sunday's final match of the season summarised his viewpoint perfectly. For a meaningless game at Norwich, with nothing at stake (save for his own immediate Villa future), he started with two players - Carlos Cuellar and Emile Heskey - who had confirmed a few days previously that they would be leaving the club in the summer, contracts expired.
The manager's midfield comprised Stephen Warnock, more recognised as a left-back, alongside Ciaran Clark, a centre-back who has, more often than not, been fielded in the middle of the park this season, and Chris Herd, the workaholic Australian equally at home at full-back. Strictly speaking, it could have been interpreted that McLeish fielded seven defenders, or seven defensive-minded players, in his first X1.
A group of more offensive players; Bannan, N'Zogbia, Gary Gardner, the raw but extremely promising Samir Carruthers, all occupied the bench.
If this was the future under McLeish, Villa's bosses decided they didn't like the look of it. It may have taken them 11 months, but they finally reached the point the supporters started at.
There may be some mud coming the way of Villa fans over the next few days - no doubt some will say they got McLeish the sack - but they did not. McLeish had the chance, and, despite some very obvious warning signs, he was given a season to prove himself. A record of seven league wins in 38 games, of 38 points - one fewer than relegated Birmingham finished on in 2010-11, of nine victories in 42 competitive matches, tells the true story.
McLeish tried, and was simply found wanting. Now Villa must find its third new manager in two years.