The B6 Soap Opera Continues
Aston Villa supporters face an uncertain summer ahead as events behind the scenes at Villa Park have fast become a soap opera. Unfortunately, the club’s PR team continues to see fit to keep hiding the script from Villa supporters. For once it would be nice to see at least a few spoilers to know what’s ahead, especially when there’s renewing season tickets to be considered.
If you haven’t noticed by now there’s a draconian rule on the information that comes out of Aston Villa to supporters these days. This week, even Randy Lerner’s words were filtered through an article by the club’s head of media Brian Doogan, rather than being presented as a statement or direct address to supporters.
Villa have been increasingly described as taking a needless and frustrating ‘cloak and dagger’ approach when it comes to dealing with the media, whose job it is to report on the club and thus ultimately relay information to supporters.
These days supporters have more joy getting their own information off Twitter than the traditional press who are increasingly shackled by the club.
In recent weeks there’s even been anger in the air by the way the press corp were hoodwinked as Lambert failed to mention in a pre-match presser that Christian Benteke was injured, despite being asked about injuries, while meanwhile the news of the Belgian forward’s serious injury was breaking all over Belgian TV.
Fast-forward to the recent suspension of two key members of Lambert’s managerial team, and MOMS was informed that within hours of news breaking of the club suspending of Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa, Villa’s head of media had issued a decree to some journalists who would be attending the pre-Saints game presser, warning them that Lambert should not be asked about the sackings.
If there’s an internal investigation by the club and the issue is potentially serious enough to maybe spill out into the courts, then you understand the caution, but address what will be the proverbial elephant in the room in that context and move on.
Doogan himself was a former sports journalist, so you’d expect he’d have empathy with the press pack since working at Villa, so it’s particularly sad to see him seduced to the dark side [of PR]. This is the guy who once spent two-hours on the phone trying to convince MOMS that Alex McLeish would be a good manager for Aston Villa. As Yoda would say ‘Blinded by the dark side he is!’
From a supporter point-of-view, we’re not actually too bothered by what Culverhouse or Karsa did or didn’t do; the returning to them of a similar sentiment to what Culverhouse reportedly said to Villa fans at the Boxing Day game against Palace, applies here.
We’re more concerned by the fact that our manager, whose team has suffered seven loses in the last ten games, now has the heart ripped out of the very managerial team he’s built his management career with – at Colchester United, Norwich City and Villa.
The shy and retiring Glaswegian keeps the close council of very few, those few at Villa are no more, so Lambert now cuts a somewhat isolated figure.
It’s a situation that hardly fills supporters with confidence and I for one would like the press to seize the opportunity despite their warning to ask Lambert in the aftermath of what’s happen, such questions as:
How does a manager continue without the trusted managerial team he has relied on all his managerial career?
Do you feel you have something to prove to the Villa Supporters in the remaining games to keep your job?
Is sub-40 points good enough for Aston Villa, whether they survive or not?
If you were Villa boss next season, what’s key to ensure Villa really do progress this time?
Clarification is certainly needed as there seems to be very little consistent direction any more at the club, which is typified by Shay Given, a player discarded by Lambert now being welcomed back into the fold in a coaching capacity.
It’s finally time for answers…and proper questions are needed, if they’re allowed! UTV