‘Revealed: Aston Villa’s owners are considering re-naming Villa Park’ read a Birmingham Mail headline last week to an article that stated ‘a well-placed source” had told them ‘that selling the naming rights to the famous old ground would not be ruled out’.
Nah. Not true. Fake news.
This Tuesday evening MOMS was present at an enlightening Villa Fan Consultation Group (FCG) meeting (minutes to come soon) with new Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow, who set the record straight on several matters, before we even got to the supporter-written agenda of the evening.
After introducing himself and giving his initial assessment of Aston Villa and how he saw the lay of the land, pretty much the first thing Purslow said, was to dismiss the notion that Villa Park would ever change its name under his watch.
“Wholly and completely and utterly inaccurate,” said Purslow of the newspaper report, adding that such an idea had never entered his mind.
So much for that ‘well-placed source’.
Oh, and while we’re here, there have been no discussions for a 15-team break away league from the Championship, as recently reported in the press, during the recent TV deal negotiations between Championship clubs.
What has been disappointing to see is the views of some fans baited for their opinion on Twitter, so the Birmingham Mail could run one of those worthless articles that’s justification and evidence is solely built on a handful of random tweets (you could collect five or six tweets to create any angle/agenda you want).
Without even reasoning or having knowledge of the actual value of such a stadium naming rights deal in the Championship (not much, given the estimates MOMS has previously been told by senior Villa staff), some fans were seemingly ok with wishing away such a key cornerstone attribute of the club’s identity.
Similar behaviour was seen by some people on Twitter when there was the prospect of losing home-grown Jack Grealish, a potential key to Villa’s immediate future (and winning promotion).
Instead of drawing a line in the sand and fighting to kept him, some people seemed happy to wave him away for far less than his potential value in a few seasons time.
Now, while it’s totally understandable that some fans will be left beleaguered by the trials and tribulations of supporting Villa in recent years, we must keep our identity and principles that define us as a club.
Villa have zero chance of promotion if the white flag is waved at every challenge that comes the club’s way.
Our soul should not be sold to cover up the slapdash running of the club, by someone who gave fans false hope after seducing them with a few Twitter emojis.
Interestingly in the FCG meeting, Purslow was giving off a fire and brimstone tone when it came to the principle of withholding the club’s core traditions and identity.
Recognising the club’s history and standing is something Villa have rarely got right compared to other clubs. At times, you could say, they’ve been too shy about it. That though could be about to change.
Judging by Purslow’s words, improvements across the board are planned for Villa Park (some have already been actioned), but the one thing that can never be improved about the stadium is its name.
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