The prospect of watching Villa is bad enough, never mind trying to find five reasons to be cheerful. Against Bournemouth, I couldn’t bring myself to do both, so skipped the Five Reason Column.
In terms of the Saints game, shortly before setting off for Villa Park in the morning for a Fan Consultation Group meeting with supporter reps, Villa chairman Steve Hollis and Brian Little, a friend offered me free tickets for both of the FA Cup semi-finals.
It was the perfect excuse to avoid watching the current shower in claret & blue, so after the meeting, I headed to News Street to catch the train to London. It was an opportunity to catch up with my old man, who’s a United fan, so it was a decent treat for him and also for me it was a rare opportunity to watch football in which both teams had a chance of winning.
Certainly the football was of a better class in the first FA Cup semi-final between United and Everton, but the interesting thing about the Palace vs Watford game was both teams’ support. Both teams have ultra-type supporter groups and they have obviously worked with their clubs to arrange their support at Wembley. it was fantastic.
Anyway, since i missed the Saints game, here’s a little later than usual five reasons to be cheerful as a Villa fan.
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3. Fan Consultation Group
There’s been various Villa fan supporter consultation groups before, some PR exercises by the club, while others have been wasted opportunities by supporters. All of them have fallen short. Ultimately though, there’s previously been a certain arrogance at the club in not taking supporter’s input seriously. The new Villa chairman Steve Hollis though has come into the club with an outsider’s open mind and identified that such thinking is selling the club short and also seeing them miss out on a valuable resource the club could ultimately benefit from.
The Fan Consultation Group that is now two meetings old was the idea of Hollis, who gave instructions to set it up asap. While it is a work in progress, it is a real chance of changing the culture at Villa Park for the better. Now Hollis may be only at the club until it is sold, but as well as shepherding Randy Lerner out of the club through arranging its sale, this may also be a vital contribution from his potentially brief service to the club.
At the end of the day, he is applying nothing more than common sense, but that’s a quality that has been lacking at the club for years.
Another one of his common sense decisions was to bring Brian Little to the fold and Brian was at the FCG meeting before the Southampton game. His main input in the meeting was discussing the kind of manager Villa need in next to turn the club around. Perhaps more of what he said should have been in the minutes, as it certainly wasn’t off limits in anyway. The minutes will certainly be more detailed next time.
Essentially Little said that the next manager shouldn’t necessarily be a nice guy, he must instil discipline and a team spirit and also have leaders in the defence and midfield like he did with Southgate and Townsend.
With the shock resignations of two of the football board, Little will probably be doing a little overtime in advising Hollis over the next few weeks.