Preface to Stan Collymore Statement
As every day passes I find it harder to make the correlation between the Aston Villa FC of today and the one I first started supporting as a kid.
In over three decades of support, it’s never been all hunky dory. From the dismantling of Villa’s great early 1980’s team that ended in relegation five years later to the frustrating limited ambition of Mr Ellis, it was all part of the tapestry of supporting this great club and made those occasional moments of happiness sweeter.
What I’ve witnessed and experienced over the last five years is numbing. The only thing I recognise about the club from the one I first supported as a kid is the name and the colours. The identity and pride have been washed away by people who quite frankly have let the club down.
I could go on with many, many, many examples of how the custodians of the club from the chairman to middle management have let the club’s supporters down with their attitude and mismanagement. MOMS will expand on this at a later date, but at this point I just wanted to support the statement released today on Twitter by fellow Aston Villa supporter Stan Collymore, who has spoken uncensored and passionately about the state the club is in.
‘The club I have supported since childhood have become the laughing stock of the Premier League’ – STAN COLLYMORE
Collymore’s thoughts on Aston Villa are echoed by MOMS, other Villa websites, ex-players and many other supporters we’ve spoken to over the past few days, months and years.
His statement in full is posted below in its entirety.
Stan Collymore Statement
20th October 2015
After 6 years of doing an official Aston Villa programme column, today I’ve been notified by the club that they no longer wish me to continue due to my support of Tim Sherwood and fierce criticism of the ownership and club structure.
The club felt is essence that it would be inappropriate for me to write positively in a column whilst being critical on air or in a newspaper.
The column I have written for 6 years was at no charge to Aston Villa, but the club kindly gave me 4 or 5 tickets a season for games. I’ve asked for two which the club kindly have given for the Swansea game.
I am firstly a broadcaster, and a broadcaster who treats every club in the country the same. So if ownership is letting fans down, as proven last night on perhaps the only football show in the country which actually addresses issues rather than ignore them or pretend they don’t exist, we debate them and criticise or praise where necessary.
This has and always must be my objective as a broadcaster, to treat Aston Villa the same as any club. I do and I will.
On the watch of Mr Lerner, and laterly Tom Fox as Chief Executive, and Paul Faulkner before him, the club I have supported since childhood have become the laughing stock of the Premier League. This, Englands 4th most successful football club.
So do I pretend on sir everything is great? Or do I broadcast justifiable criticism alongside one of the best in the business, Mark Saggers, echoing the concerns of a huge fanbase, as they come to terms with a 6th year of complete and utter dross on the pitch, and ineptitude of the highest order off it?
I met Tom Fox in the summer and said to his face that I wanted to do anything, anything to help my club moving forward. Get on a plane, train, in a car, watch players, report back, anything to help my club.
A smile , a coffee and a patronising “we’ll call you” came and went. At the same time Aston Villa were employing a marketing man, that’s a marketing man as Director of Football. And we wonder why we are in the mess we are in. Industry professionals ignored when offering help, a man who can put a glossy Arsenal pitch together made Director of Football at my club.
The line is drawn now for me. It took an embarrassed Rob Bishop, programme editor and friend for over 18 years to tell me over the phone that my column had ended “for now”, but in reality for good.
I believe this treatment is symptomatic of how Villa fans generally are treated by the current owner , with disdain.
I will now join fan groups and individuals actively looking to other potential owners to come in swiftly and hasten change at Aston Villa Football Club.
Mr Lerner, Tom a Fox, the current Director of Football and technical staff are not fit for purpose. They all should go, now.
As for Tim Sherwood, he gets my unequivocal support and should get the same from every Villa fan. He really could have had no idea what mess he was coming into or some of the major decisions that he would have no hand in. An incredibly tough job.
I’ll walk into Villa Park soon with chest puffed out as a fan or broadcaster. It’s my club and I was here before this current ownership, firstly in the Doug Ellis stand aged 6, then on the pitch aged 27, then in the broadcast booth aged 35. I’m going nowhere.
Our great club will be back, but only with new ownership. So please Mr Lerner, instead of petty sackings of columnists who tell the truth about our club, please sell up and go.
Follow Stan on Twitter – StanCollymore
Follow MOMS on Twitter – oldmansaid