MOMS summed up our feelings towards the Out the door on 74 protest previously in this post here and we published another supporter view on it here. Our main concern was perhaps it should have waited until Villa were officially relegated, so that certain sections of the fanbase weren’t alienated, but the walkout is up and running now and it certainly beats doing nothing.
Obviously the walkout has sparked a lot of debate and some fans on MOMS social media channel have said an outright boycott would have been better, which is why we thought it was a good idea to let Mike McKenna, the man who came up with the genesis of OutTheDoorOn74, to address the issue.
Regarding outright boycott, this fails to consider the fans who have prepaid season tickets and also those for whom going to Villa Park is akin to a religious tradition that is hard to break. That’s why MOMS proposed a commercial boycott in the ground (to run alongside any walkouts), so that such fans could partake in something, if they still wanted to express their unhappiness with the current state of the club. Also, there should be a purpose to protest, hence the proposed Supporters Charter for Improvement.
Below is Mike’s latest thoughts on the walkout initiative, which is also planned to go ahead at the forthcoming Spurs and Chelsea home games. These are not necessarily the views of MOMS.
Out the Door on 74 Statement
Many people have told the #OUTTHEDOORON74 campaign that we should be backing a boycott rather doing a walkout. One guy sent us a particularly sad message saying how his disgust with the hierarchy and the half-hearted attitudes of the players had led to such anger and sadness that he could no longer suffer the pain of watching Villa no more. My reply to him was this:
Really, really sorry mate about how you feel. We genuinely understand why people are turning away in their thousands and feel it is a tragic situation. “Wanting to go” is what we and thousands of others do.
Those that don’t go to games any more have made no difference to the state of AVFC. We would rather they all turned up and protested in some way. A sold out VP park calling constantly for Lerner Out who then walked out on the 74th minute v Spurs in their masses would be a massive statement the club could not ignore.
When fans turn away they often don’t come back, no matter how well we do. I know people who used to go to every game and then stopped going during the Ellis protest years. Many just got out of the habit and never came back when Lerner took over despite all the initial investment and relative success.
If they wouldn’t come back during Lerner’s first three seasons I don’t know what would get them back. The most vociferous opponents to the OTDO74 campaign have tended to be those who don’t go to games.That’s their choice and we respect their right to do as they please, but feel they should respect our decisions to keep going to matches and trying to change the way Villa is run.
Currently the club is completely broke, nobody apart from the players is making money. We dislike Lerner but he is still having to put money in – if he stops we are insolvent and believe it or not I think there is a chance we could go into Administration.
The rumour is that the finances are going to show another big loss. There comes a point where Lerner would be financially better off putting Villa into administration than cutting his sale price. People will scoff at the idea but it really isn’t that far-fetched when you consider Lerner is a preferred debtor, Reform Acquisitions in the UK losses can be used to gain future tax breaks by the parent company Reform Acquisitions in the USA. I don’t understand all this in detail but there is a tipping point.
People are losing their jobs at Villa Park and being treated very badly – the screws are really on – they are cost cutting everywhere. Some of the staff have been told to reapply for their jobs. One of the staff told me at Everton that it feels like the club is already in Administration!
During the last five years the gates have been falling, but it hasn’t made any difference to the direction of the club. The same was true of the Ellis years, Between 2001-3 when attendance money was more important, average gates dropped to around 31K but Ellis carried on. The gates are down by up to 15% since O’Neill’s years and it hasn’t made any difference. Boycotts organised or personal have never worked and never will in our opinion beyond losing long-term fans and future generations forever.
The OTDO74 campaign maybe imperfect and have little visible effect but we understand it has had a much bigger impact behind the scenes than people realize – the publicity it generated for Villa’s plight was massive – Lerner does NOT like bad publicity.
Loads of people after the game told us that they felt really proud for the first time in years when we all walked. Please join us. For us doing nothing generates nothing, doing something might, just might change something and help create a better future for Aston Villa.
Keep The Faith
More from MOMS on OutTheDooron74