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.
Fan Consultancy Group Meeting Minutes
Steve Hollis (chairman), Brian Little, Nicky Keye (Head of Sales), Tommy Jordan (Head of Comms) and Lee Preece (Football Operations)
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?