Many clubs can remind Aston Villa that relegation is only the start of the nightmare

The lower leagues are littered with plenty of ex-Premier League clubs unable to return

Aston Villa, Joleon Lescott

Aston Villa's captain Joleon Lescott walks from the pitch with teammates as their team is relegated from the English Premier League after being defeated 1-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday, April 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

"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."

Those were the words uttered by Aston Villa defender Joleon Lescott which has generated a fair degree of ire.

The former England defender might think it is a relief that Villa's squad have been put out of their misery after a miserable campaign, but relegation from the Premier League might be just the start rather the end of the nightmare.

The Championship, League One and even League Two are littered with clubs who are stuck in no man's land after tasting Premier League high life.

Some like Newcastle and Southampton have either bounced back straight away or took the scenic route back to the top flight - the Magpies though appear to be running dangerously close to heading down to the Championship - but for clubs of the stature of Nottingham Forest or Leeds, things have been altogether more painful.

Leeds United's Alan Smith (r) and goalkeeper Paul Robinson stand crying after losing against Bolton Wanderers to be relegated from the FA Barclaycard Premiership. Picture by: Mike Egerton / EMPICS Sport

Leeds' descent in 2004 was fueled by financial woes but the club has never recovered, with a ten-point deduction after going into administration in 2007 plunging them into the third tier for the first time in their illustrious history.

They remained their for three full seasons before winning promotion back to the Championship, where they remain as a lower mid-table side, and endure instability of the ownership-variety.

Two-time European Cup winners Forest have been away from the Premier League since 1999 and for the bulk of that time has been spent in the second tier where they have reached the playoffs four times without subsequent success. 

But like Leeds, they spent three years in the third level of English football between 2005 and 2008, which was a level they hadn't been to since the early 1950s.

Sheffield United are putting up with that right now. Relegated from the Premier League in May 2007 on the final day after a one-season stay thanks to a winner against Manchester United by West Ham's Carlos Tevez - which angered them due to question marks at the time over the issue of third-party ownership - the Blades slid into League One in 2011 at the same time as city rivals and another former top flight side in the shape of Sheffield Wednesday.

While Wednesday were promoted back to the Championship at the first attempt, just ahead of third-placed United, the latter failed at the playoff stage, losing 8-7 on penalties in a shootout against Huddersfield.

Sheffield United are still in League One after failing in the 2013 and 2015 seasons, and this campaign they are 9th in the third tier, six points off the playoff places with four games to go. Coventry City are still mired down there too. Bolton Wanderers (confirmed) and Charlton Athletic (again) are poised to move in for the 2016-17 season.

Top of that division this season is Wigan Athletic who went from winning the FA Cup in 2013 to relegation that same season and then another drop down to League One at the end of last season.

They are lucky in a sense because other sides have plummeted even further. The 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth are in League Two after their financially-fueled decline. Bradford City spent some time at that level before returning back to League One where they currently reside. 

And as things stand, Blackpool who spent the 2010-11 season in the Premier League are sitting in the League One relegation zone.

Aston Villa may be bigger than some of those clubs based on their history, but there is no assurance that the trapdoors below the trapdoor will necessarily hold their weight.