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Before the Saints game MOMS was involved in the first proper Fan Consultation Group meeting at Villa Park, that was also attended by Villa chairman Steve Hollis and Brian Little. After what was essentially a development meeting a couple of weeks ago before the Bournemouth game (attended by Tommy Jordan & Lee Preece from the club), it was a chance to get the group (which had been an initiative of Hollis) up and running in earnest.

In the supporter reps discussion prior to the meeting proper, there was certainly a constructive exchange between supporter reps that eased MOMS initial scepticism of this potentially becoming just another talking shop (or ‘moaning shop’).

Of course, it will become what we all make it. This isn’t about providing content for football websites, or to make some fans to feel ‘important’, it’s about practically discussing and implementing initiatives to improve life for supporters and bringing them back into focus within the club. It will also help improve club-supporter communication and to help get this club back where it should be.

The first few months will also be about fine-tuning the procedure. For example, after doing our first official minutes, we saw a better way of doing them next time to make sure all the important points from the meetings are relayed to supporters.

A few points were raised during the meeting that may see spin-off groups to help work on various specific issues. The idea would be to get supporters involved who are privy to and knowledgable about those issues.

Overall, it was a candid and honest meeting between supporters and club reps.

Time constraints determined that not all issues were raised and those outstanding have been addressed to the Club for a more detailed response (see end of minutes). A first draft of the minutes seems to have been published on some Villa sites a little prematurely without mention of the season ticket rebate idea, Villa buyer info and a possible ‘Fight Like Lions’ section. Below is the latest edition of the minutes.

Aston villa lion designFan Consultancy Group Meeting Minutes

 

Club reps

Steve Hollis (chairman), Brian Little, Nicky Keye (Head of Sales),  Tommy Jordan (Head of Comms) and Lee Preece (Football Operations)

Supporters reps

Peter Warrilow and Kris Carr – AVST

Gary Kilburn and Vaughan Ellis  – Lions Clubs

Anne Mcgivern – avillafan.com

Joe Costello – Heroes and Villans

Steve Gough – AVISC

David Michael – My Old Man Said (MOMS)

Ian Stokes – Vital Villa

 

Clarification of situation at the club regarding: sale, manager, board

Steve Hollis said that for obvious reasons he could not go into details regarding a potential sale but that discussions were taking place and in part the appointment of a new manager was dependent upon the outcome of those discussions as were new board appointments following the resignations of Messrs Bernstein and King.

Steve also confirmed he is in dialogue with a number of parties interested in buying the club with interest coming from here in the UK as well as America and the Far East.

Club’s seemingly conservative season ticket price reductions & plans to incentivise supporters to come to Villa Park next season

Nicola Keye dealt with this and explained the rationale behind pricing. We would not be the most expensive Club in the Championship and recognising that there are important income considerations ( and Financial Fair Play ) to consider it is not thought that more drastic cutting of prices is possible. Villa Park has 40% concessionary ticket sales and as a result the average ticket sale is much below the ticket price.

The Club will review pricing in light of attendances. An invitation to participate in a ticket pricing group was extended.

The Club has details of lapsed season ticket holders and will be campaigning to persuade them to return.

The initiative was raised to the club representatives of having a percentage rebate to season ticket holders if the club failed to make at least the Championship play-offs. This is something a new owner could consider as a statement of intent.

It was also proposed a ‘singing section’ should be looked at to help & focus atmosphere in light of tier closure and redevelopment of the Lower North.

Lack of dressing room harmony, what action is being taken to ensure that our players are more media aware and prepared to play a more significant role in the community?

Dressing room harmony will be a matter for any new manager and Brian Little spoke at some length on the type of manager and player (including having leaders in defence and midfield) that he thought we should seek to recruit. The concern of supporter-player relations was discussed and what efforts to connect players back to Villa supporters could be made.

The issue of taking the Club captaincy away from Gabby Agbonlahor was raised but it was said that his actions are still under investigation.

What are the key objectives for Aston Villa next season?

The key objective for next season as stated by Steve Hollis is a return to winning ways and to win, win and win to secure an early return to the Premier League

Finally, Steve Hollis said that he welcomed supporter input from meetings such as these and was always prepared to meet and talk with supporters.

 

To be answered:

If a change in the badge was necessary why now and why not a full rebranding to demonstrate that Aston Villa is a cohesive organisation?

What are the Club’s plans for bringing about improved PR and ensuring that Aston Villa avoids the multiple PR disasters of the current season?

Will relegation and the cost implications impact upon the proposed new website and the new kit deal?

Will you be prepared to consider initiating a youth forum to involve younger supporters?

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Guys I want to thank you for taking the time to repair club/supporter relationship when I like many find it hard to attend home games even with ST!
    I agree with the narrative that more substance would be appealing but relationships born need to develop and much of this is extremely commercially sensitive. I welcome all future insight and every effort to repair this dreadful situation needs appluading (long overdue) and not just opinion! I congratulate those now involved and ask why dont more of us get from behind our keyboards and participate also?
    I would assume Hollis may be short lived also should new owners “sweep clean” and we should protect this communication stream to provide an inside oppurtunity on why we tumble so far? not so we can play expert trolls with hindsight but protect us from ever allowing such demise again!

  2. “Brian Little spoke at some length on the type of manager and player (including having leaders in defence and midfield) that he thought we should seek to recruit.”

    This is very frustrating, because I would LOVE to hear what he said about this. Especially given that, after a sale, the new manager and squad rebuild must be the next highest priority at the club.

    If the purpose of this meeting is for better communication with/to supporters, using website outlets, then why not include more details here about what Brian said? If he “spoke at some length”, there must be plenty more than briefly touched upon in the minutes.

    Now I’m left sat here thinking: well, it would be great to know what Brian thinks about this, but shucks, I guess that’s just secret information for the few representatives to keep to themselves…?

    • To be honest with you, the person taking the minutes could have added a lot more about this. The minutes in my opinion were far too brief. I asked to add some things in there and there was opportunity for others to do so, as well, they should have taken the opportunity. I think next time, there will be more detail, as we’ve worked out a better system to do the minutes. Little essentially said, a manager needs to come in and sort the dressing room out, he might not be the most likeable character, but that wasn’t important. Essentially, he would build the team spirit, get leaders in midfield and defence – like he had Townsend & Southgate in his team. He seemed to be describing Nigel Pearson!

  3. Looks like another PR job
    No substance
    No proper explanation for way remi,Sherwood were treated
    Or why King berstain walked
    Or why Riley still employed
    Hollis is just here to get money for Lerner
    Little has no power

    • Hollis is there to sort out the club for the sale. No one wants to buy a mess. At the same time, he is also running it as an on-going concern. He’s done his due diligence on what has gone wrong and one of the things he’s identified is that the club have made outcasts of its own supporters, hence his idea for proper supporter consultation. Little is his immediate Villa & football guide, so does have a valuable role. Put it this way, it’s a good job he’s there and I’m not talking just in terms of PR.

      Do you need explanation for the manager’s failings? Remi on a hiding to nothing and Sherwood, as well as whatever managerial limitations he had, obviously clashed with Fox’s player recruitment strategy. Riley – wasn’t mentioned, as not really relevant from a supporter POV.

      Obviously, the club’s sale is a sensitive situation and not much could be divulged to us. Some of the potential bidders apparently have big plans though. So, it doesn’t sound like bargain basement type of outfits.

  4. I attended the first three FCG meetings after Lerner took over, by the third one they had become a going through the motion exercise, with nothing of substance allowed to be discussed, and nothing brought up by supporters from those meetings, being acted upon. In other words, a PR exercise by the club, and to be honest, a complete waste of time.
    It now appears, things have changed for the better, especially having Brian Little involved, and a seemingly more open discussion, where obviously, details regarding take over talks etc, could not be divulged.
    If this kind of meeting continues far into the future, fair play to the club, but, being skeptical about all things related to the club these days, time will tell.
    That’s not being negative, just realistic.

    • As I stated above, it will be down to what supporters make it. The intentions are good and based on what has happened at the club over the years, the club would be wise to take it seriously. That is Hollis’s intention, but obviously he might not be around once the club is sold.

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