#outthedooron74

A few people have asked what is MOMS stance on the #outthedooron74 initiative. Well, off the bat, we’re in favour of any action over supporter apathy, when it comes to addressing the current direction of the club. If you feel like you want to show your disgust at the plight of the club, then join in.

We wish those supporters who have worked on it the best of luck, as supporters have to do EVERYTHING possible to fight for the name of their club.

However, saying that, the club’s current direction is a serious matter and accordingly needs proper strategy and maximum impact to address it. From MOMS’ experience – from Alex McLeish’s appointment onwards and also when you look back to the ‘Ellis Out’ campaign – Villa supporters are not the most forthcoming of protesters, so there is a big question mark over it happening to mass affect.

We’re all suffering and we need to be together in spirit at least, even if our actions differ.

MOMS hasn’t publicly got behind this walkout, simply due to the walkout’s strategy and its timing. In short, because there is no real purpose for the date of it, it should have waited until the club were mathematically relegated, as then much more fans would get involved.

Protest Issues to Consider

 

A Question of Mathematics

A certain section of season ticket holders believe Villa aren’t going down until it’s mathematically certain. Where there is hope (and the alternative is pretty terrible), people will cling to it.

These fans are alienated by the proposed walkout on the 74th minute. While many of us personally have given up hope, you must always consider other supporter’s feelings and likely reactions when planning such action.

Pride (In the Name of Love)

Also, understandably there are certain pockets of Villa support that would rather go down fighting than raise a white flag; it’s just a shame the club’s players and board don’t show the same pride. As mentioned, it was a better idea for such action being staged when Villa are mathematically relegated, then you’d have more supporters on-board backing any action.

Timing and Purpose

Back in January last year, MOMS was approached by two Villa fan blogs to put out an open invitation for a Holte End demonstration during the Liverpool game. Long story short, our resistance to the idea was it would take a good few weeks to organise if it was going to be pulled off. They reasoned, it had to happen in January to pressure the board into action in the transfer market. They had a point.

While I only expected a few hundred fans tops would do it (although it would have been more if the club didn’t turn off the live feeds on the concourse to flush people out), there was potential to get Villa’s plight into the press in a big way to apply pressure on the board during the January window. The resulting media fire was intense and what was essentially a phantom protest was backpage news in the nationals for the whole week, as well as being covered by Sky, BT Sports and even getting a mention on Football Focus. You couldn’t ask for more press coverage, so it achieved its aim in that sense.

People woke up to Villa’s situation, Carles Gil was signed a couple of days later, while we’re not claiming that one it may have helped push through what seems in hindsight a PR stunt of a ‘new contract’ for Fabian Delph.

So, due to the timing, whether the actual act worked or not, the press coverage had a solid purpose.

Originality and Tailor-made

The Villa Walkout is obviously inspired by the Liverpool walkout. There’s a big difference though. Liverpool fans had a clear objective, it was to protest against ticket price increases symbolised by the most expensive ticket at £77. The 77th minute was what they were protesting about. It’s clear cut. Where as the 74th minute represents 1874, which isn’t something we’re rebelling against. It’s a big difference psychologically to why someone would walk on that minute.

Good Fixtures for it

Supporters are more likely to walk if losing two or three nil. So, the Everton, Spurs and Chelsea fixtures are pretty good ones to have for it.

Media Bellows

Since the turn of the year MOMS has had at least two emails/texts/calls a week from press asking about protests. The media have been desperate for a protest story, but supporters are not here to provide them with stories and ad-clicks.

Unfortunately, #outthedooron74 has walked into their trap. A couple of people doing some interviews and eagerly courting the press does not generate a groundswell of backing for an action. For the media bellows to affectively blow the protest flames successfully, there needs to be a real movement in the first place, and even on social media supporters are split on the notion of a walkout.

Crying Wolf

The issue with having walkouts during the Everton, Spurs and Chelsea games is they must build momentum or a) fans will get bored of them and b) the press will lose interest. It becomes an issue then, if supporters want to do a mother of all protests once we have been relegated, as the media may just look upon it as the boy that cried wolf.

It’s important to take a long-term outlook, as there’s three months to go and this will be a long drawn out issue.

Real Life

There’s a massive disparity between what is said on social media and what happens in real life at Villa Park. We saw this time and time again when supporters were constantly talking about McLeish protests during the season he was Villa manager.

Towards the end of McLeish’s reign, when every Tom, Dick and Harry was trying to set up a protest via social media on a weekly basis, ‘protest’ just became a dirty and boring word to Villa fans.

The Protest Last Year Against McLeish's Proposed Appointment
The Protest Against McLeish’s Proposed Appointment

Some supporters got boxes of around 15,000 flyers printed for a protest at the final home game of the season against Spurs. While you can’t fault their endeavour, most of those boxes remained unopened. What the organisers didn’t fully realise was with Villa still needing a point from Spurs, supporters that would attend were more concerned about the team getting that point they needed for survival than protesting. Then when the point was achieved, fan’s relief dampened the need for any after-match protest.

It was an important lesson, and we must consider that until Villa are mathematically relegated, they’ll be sections of fans that will still be reluctant to get involved and you have to factor that in.

Conflict

Unfortunately, when opinion is divided on an action, it can cause conflict, even if the people are acting for totally the right reasons. During the time of the ‘Ellis Out’ campaign, some supporters were spitting on people handing out the ‘Ellis Out’ flyers around Villa Park. Supporters handing out ‘McLeish Out’ flyers also received some hassle too.

Hopefully during the #outthedooron74, those supporters staying won’t begrudge the actions of those who walkout. It’s completely understandable why fans would want to do a walkout protest, but also you can understand why other supporters would want to stay. That’s the main reason MOMS felt such an idea should wait until Villa are mathematically down, but we can only ask for supporters tonight to respect the actions of each other.

We’re all suffering and we need to be together in spirit at least, even if our actions differ.

UTV

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

 

 

Opt In Image
BECOME A FREE MOMS E-MEMBER
Exclusive extras, newsletter & supporter issues news
SHARE

LEAVE A REPLY