Not sure its such a ridiculous decision, the owners had to do something to avoid the ignominy and financial cost of relegation, especially as champions. They have probably seen how Villa have struggled in the Championship and have recognised that an automatic bounce back to the premiership is never guaranteed, following relegation.
If, as is now being reported on Sky Sports news, the players had a meeting with the chairman to express dissatisfaction with their manager, then the board had to do something - although there are some parallels with another club some 26 miles up the road from them...............? The choices are to either change the manager or change the players - good luck with getting that one right, in the eyes of the punters.
Whilst football is now touted as "a business", as a sport it is morally bankrupt. Telling players to "take a long hard look at themselves" sadly harks back to a previous era, before accumulating obscene quantities of money became the all-encompassing obsession of today's players and their agents. The second half display against Seville demonstrated how they had been holding out on Ranieri, as much as the same squad of players had been holding out on Pearson in his last season there.
Its a sad reflection on the game today and football, as I used to know it, just died a little more with last night's news