Dave I feel I have to answer, but don't really want to because I am so enjoying Dean Smiths Tenure.
I get that you don't like/rate him...but I struggle with your reasoning.
We were 90 odd minutes away, One goal resigned us to a life outside the Premier League as disappointing as that was....24 wins in the season and 72 goals scored and 42 against 83 points.....I concede the football now is far more convincing and what has been achieved by Dean is remarkable under the circumstances.
The reasoning I struggle with is " Miserable Failure"....Do you mean it was miserable for you, because you was expecting to go up?.....or do you mean the failure was of a miserable nature?
Personally, I would describe a season like the one where we managed 3 wins under Lambert as a "miserable failure" not missing out by 2 goals in a final.....I would call that just Failure, without the adjective.
PS In all my days watching Villa since 1959......I have never expected promotion, always hoped for it, such is the topsy turvy world of football where so many factors can trip you up....I don't expect it now and we are on the back of the greatest run in our History, because football has twists and turns, injuries,suspensions,form drops etc,etc...not to mention freak goals and freak incidents.
I am very Happy with Dean and glad the decision was made.....but I will never look down my nose at Bruce, he had a go and failed to get us up.....miserably failed no not for me....I enjoyed the 24 wins, but not so much the style of football.
I think we have a manager now, where I would concede the future looks brighter and the football more entertaining and convincing....and I just want to be grateful for that.
But taint the last guy, no not for me...I would imagine Dean himself would be pleased with some of the players he left, even though Dean has improved them.....I would prefer to be gracious, with him, it comes around you know.