In the upcoming weeks and months Aston Villa supporters will be increasingly demonstrating their unhappiness with how their club is being run, but it is important to also propose and campaign for improvement from a supporter point of view too. Don’t just sit there thinking just because we’re angry as supporters, the current Villa board will suddenly make everything hunky dory again.
In MOMS’ recent proposal for a commercial boycott, we suggested a ‘Supporter Charter of AVFC Improvement’, which we’re including in a separate post here to illicit more supporter suggestions and input, so please use the comments section, social media and email contact[at]myoldmansaid.com to get your views across.
PROPOSED SUPPORTER CHARTER TO IMPROVE
ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB
1. Reduction in ticket prices
The club should implement a more progressive strategy in terms of ticket pricing incentives to encourage bigger crowds in the Championship and not go down the conservative route of closing off sections of stands to cut overheads.
A conservative attitude has already seen the club refusing extra away ticket allocations and not cutting cup ticket prices as drastically as they could have to encourage bigger attendances and younger fans.
Such thinking will only carrying over the current depressing mood at Villa Park for another season, when the attitude needs to be one of igniting the supporter base in the Championship and not playing damage limitation.
2. Five-year Season Ticket Holder Compensation
If a Villa supporter has been a season ticket holder for the last five season they have suffered the worst run of home form in the club’s history. We are Villa supporters through thick and thin, but these season ticket holders should be afforded some rebate if they renew their season ticket, for they have directly suffered from Randy Lerner’s restraints on the club’s ambition. Such a move by the club would restore some good will.
3. Appointment of an SLO
A proper Supporter Liaison Officer and framework is needed at the club. Still nobody at the club has the title of ‘Supporter Liaison Officer’, since UEFA introduced the idea to have someone working at the club for the supporters.
Villa haven’t taken the role seriously enough and unlike other clubs have not considered it important enough to appoint a designated person. All they have done is pass on the role to an employee who already has another job title at the club. It’s unfair to expect that individual to do justice to a role that needs a dedicated person (if not more).
Such a move would massively improve communication and relations with the club and its supporters.
4. Work With Supporters Not Against Them
A dedicated SLO will greatly help with this, but there needs to be a better attitude all round. Throughout the season supporters have been thrown out of the ground during games for either unjustifiable reasons or situations that were avoidable.
Take for example, the supporters who came up with the ‘Fight Like Lions’ slogan that helped rallied the club’s fortunes last season. Ironically, the club picked up a ‘Fan Engagement’ Business Award for their ‘Fight Like Lions’ campaign, yet before the marketing staff picked up their award, those fans who inspired it were banned from Villa Park. This in a nutshell sums up what is wrong with the attitude at this once great club.
These fans should have been accommodated (as other clubs have managed successfully to the benefit of the team on the pitch) to avoid issues on standing etc. A ‘can do’ attitude would be a step in the right direction, as all fans will be needed in a promotion push.
Again, the club needs to shake its stubbornness and needless ‘zero tolerance’ persecution of some supporters – the example of the recent ejection of a girl with her 81-year-old dad following, was simply out of order – or it will lose more and more dedicated supporters.
In short, respect Aston Villa supporters.
5. Pay the Living Wage to match day staff
Aston Villa should pay its match day and part-time staff the living wage, whatever division we find ourselves in. It’s peanuts within the context of wages in the industry, and going into the new season it would improve staff morale amongst the club’s work force after it has suffered in recent years.
6. Vote for Away Ticket Price Cap
The Aston Villa representative at the upcoming Premier League stakeholders meeting on 23rd March, will get to vote for the cap on away tickets next season. Since Aston Villa probably won’t be in the Premier League next season, we request them to use their vote for the good of supporters and not Premier League greed. Do the right thing.
7. Transparency on the £200,000 Away Fund
The away fund is the amount the Premier League have instructed clubs that they should spend on ticket price/travel concessions to away fans to help them support their teams. We would like to see more transparency on the spend by Villa and it should be listed on the club’s website, so all supporters can easily view it.
8.Tom Fox to Reconsider Position at the end of the season
Due to this being a results business, Tom Fox must consider his position at the club after his restructuring process has had devastating consequences for the club, which he admits himself he is accountable for.
Prior to joining the club Fox was celebrated for his commercial marketing credentials, well his new kit deal with Under Armour will suffer greatly as the financial package is readjusted due to relegation. In short, despite his good intentions, his failure on structuring player recruitment and getting the management side right has heavily compromised what he has done and can do off the field.
If the Villa CEO strongly feels as he did in 2015, that he actually couldn’t think of any better candidate for the job than himself, he must be made to re-apply for his job, like other Villa staff have been made to.
As stated above, please send in your suggestions for Villa supporter-related improvements to add to this carter, in a drive to help improve the club and make it an institution to be proud of again. UTV
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