By Larry Pitt
For 50 years plus I have been a loyal, proud and dedicated supporter of The Lions. Claret and blue through and through, and totally true, no matter what. Like so many fellow followers I have experienced all the highs and lows of our once great club during this period.
I am fortunate enough to actually remember the times when Villa Park was a fortress, no one team enjoyed playing us at home, we were formidable – yes, honestly, every visiting club knew they were in for a game irrespective of our current form or league position. How times have changed.
The Villa’s current situation is without doubt, for me at least, lower than low, it’s through the floor and getting worse by the day, we are well and truly sunk. Having followed the lads into the third tier of football in the past, I can confidently predict that it will be a long hard road back to the status a club like ours should have.
The very heart and passion of the club has been systematically ripped out by a missing owner and so called chief executive and board. Are these people the ones we can confidentially expect to plan our course back, I think not. They are the very reason we find ourselves in our current plight in the first place – not one genuine football brain amongst them, clueless the lot of them. They have to go and go soon.
As supporters, we have the collective responsibility to make this happen. But how do we force an owner out who simply won’t go until he gets his overpriced valuation for the club, and as long as he can use his losses on his investment as a taxable deduction he isn’t going anywhere.
It’s all about the bottom line for Lerner, so he clearly has more time for cash than Villa. I am delighted to hear that finally some supporters are intending to show their teeth with a protest march prior to the next home fixture. I hope they keep their dignity, keep things peaceful, but more importantly carry the protest on inside Villa Park, don’t reserve their voices purely to Witton Lane, embarrassment is a strong weapon.
Let the board know, if they have the guts to show their faces, what it actually feels like to be humiliated week in, week out. Let the club know this is only the beginning with the prospect of far more to come. Stay strong and resolute.
“Are these people the ones we can confidently expect to plan our course back? I think not. They are the very reason we find ourselves in our current plight in the first place”
In 1968 Tommy Docherty famously proclaimed that 5000 supporters would turnout just to watch eleven Villa shirts drying on the washing line. Although a “tongue in cheek” remark, it was Mr Docherty’s acknowledgement of the value and strength of Villas supporter base – the 12th man. No matter what, that supporter base has never reduced in the 40 plus years since. Every single Villa follower should be congratulated for their long standing, undivided faith and patience. You have my total respect.
However, early in December, it occurred to me that Mr Docherty’s remark was pretty close to the mark today, but with a huge variant added. Today we see 30,000 plus turning out every other week – not to watch the washing dry – but to see our WHOLE CLUB HUNG OUT TO DRY, worse still, the rain keeps falling and the long term forecast is for far more stormy weather ahead with the supporters paying with hard cash to be mugged off by Mr Lerner and Fox.
Enough is enough.
No longer am I prepared to put 20 quid into the owners greasy little hands and seeing nothing in return. I don’t place the problem at the feet of the players, they cannot help it if they simply are not good enough. Firmly at the feet of those idiots who signed them.
“The very heart and passion of the club has been systematically ripped out by a missing owner and so called chief executive and board”
Not to be forgotten, we are no longer classified as supporters. Mr Fox considers us to be “customers”. Customers! The bloody cheek of it – customers – pure marketing banter.
Let me remind Mr Fox, a customer buys a product and expects value for money. Your product (along with yourself and board members) are not fit for purpose. What are my statutory rights Mr Fox? Can I have my money back or are you willing to issue a credit note. Go lose yourself, you’re pathetic.
Best wishes to every true Villan. May 2016 bring you the changes you so desperately want and deserve. UTV.
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Great article I’ve been a loyal supporter since mid 50s 3 years ago I said enough is enough and I have only been to a handful of games since. At the start of this season I predict ted that the stategy fo those in command would finally lead to relegation. But even I did not believe we would be related by Xmas!! I can only see further problems next year. The same clowns wil be in charge. Who would pay half of what Learner wants now? Poor old Garde you cud see in his face after the first game that he was thinking what the hell am I doing here. The appointment was yet again ill thought out. A french man who,had only one club experience. Just the man for a relegation ballet eh Mr Fox. If we finish mid table next season ill be happy. I may even start to go down again. But I fear that we are going to struggle to survive in the championship. And guess what we have got rid of a couple of high earners and replaced them with 10 low paid but a combined higher wage. Why the hell can’t they see it? You wold not trust this lot with a piggy bank let alone the huge bank they run.
I too have been a Villa supporter for nearly 60 years. For 50 of those years I have watched and prayed and hoped from the distance of Canada, but took every reasonable or other opportunity to see AV. whenever I could and always “followed” them as closely as possible. Saw them play in Toronto a few years back which was a real treat under MON
Then.lots of cable TV games after that, and then this year a wonderful (but very expensive) “live” experience at Wembley, (if you could call it “live”)..Changes were desperately needed, that was obvious, but assembling a whole new team with little or no PL experience (save for Hutton and Guzan) in the offseason, bringing in two untested and unbloodied managers (in quick succession) with similar lack of experience, was neither a good football or a good business decision.
Where was the sense in all that? .If I could see that that would end in tears, surely the high priced brains in Villas management could? Or maybe, it was just window dressing for a sale prospect that didn’t materialize??
I am sick about this. I will always be AV till I die. The only good thing is I don’t have run into too many bluenoses over here to be reminded how far Villa have sunk.
Can i say a great article.Thank you for saying what all villa fans are thinking.The biggest problem we have now is staying in the Championship. If we are not careful we could end up in the old 3rd division as Leeds did. The problem with football now its all about the money. I heard someone on the radio the other day saying all the villa players that won the european cup in 82 were all british. I had forgotten that. That will never happen again.Too much money too many foreign players being paid too much.
The villa are in a right mess and poor old Deadly Doug what must he be thinking about it all.
Lets hope we are bought out by a billionaire who is interested and wants to be involved rather than running the club from afar.
Totaly agree with all the heart felt and true comments all the board manager etc ain’t villa faithful it’s just a job for them even the players are looking to the next transfer its us villa till we die supporters who are left to pick up the club we can’t walk away shame on them all keep the faith
Well….shame on Villa fans. I have made all the above quotes continuosly throughout the last 4 chronic seasons. Since then, I not given the club one penny of my hard earned cash. I say ‘shame on you’ because you have awoken from you slumber only to be greeted by the nightmare that is Randy Lerner and co…….many saw it coming the day MON left. Although I’m NOT a MON fan, it was clear that he saw what was on the horizon for our great club!
The only way to hurt Lerner is by hitting him in the pocket. I am also a relic from the old Div 3 days where in one season we topped 40 000 crowds on 3 occasions! So why dont we now? The answer is in the great article written by Larry above ‘we are no longer fans but consumers’. That is a disgusting quote from ‘non football’ people who really dont have a clue what a supporter is! And therein lies the problem……until we get ‘proper football people’ at the club we are doomed!
For a great example of how to run a club with ambition look at Stoke City who have a chairman who was brought up supporting the club. The guy is Ambitious, a local and ‘a proper Stoke fan’……..if only we could find someone similar for Villa
Mr Lerner, Mr Fox and those who support ‘moneyball football’ please leave our great club NOW and dont EVER return!
As a villa fan since the early 50s I fully concur with the sentiments of the open letter. One cannot begin to describe the feeling of despair we all feel at the moment, even when we went into the old 3rd division things were not this bad, maybe that is because we did not have the social media to put up with but Villa are now the butt of all jokes, some of them are even funny and all deserved. I do not believe that it will do us to good to go down so while there is hope let’s support.
Spot on. Add fans being banned for standing too. Fuck you tom fox. Roll on 21st Jan at AVST agm
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