Tony Xia Meeting
Earlier in the week on Tuesday evening before the Huddersfield Town game , MOMS, as part of the Fan Consultation Group, met with new Villa owner Tony Xia and also CEO Keith Wyness in a meeting that lasted around an hour.
At the moment, I can’t say anything too specific until the meeting’s official minutes are signed-off. They will give you a full overview of what was discussed with Tony Xia and Keith Wyness. However, since that won’t be until the start of next week, I thought I’d give you a brief overview to keep supporters in the loop, since people have asked.
Originally the meeting was set up with just Keith Wyness, but with Xia being in the country and attending the Huddersfield match that evening, there was always a good chance he would attend, which he did. He didn’t have to, which is a good sign.
In Wyness, the club finally we have a CEO that understands football as more than a commercial opportunity. He showed an empathy and understanding of all the issues, with previous experience on many due to his time at both Aberdeen and Everton. Also, he wasn’t afraid to own up if anything was new to him.
Tony Xia was actually very much like his Twitter account. During the meeting, he showed himself to be very straight-forward in what he said and was also humourous at times. His ethos is very much about hard work and positive thinking. He doesn’t seem to tolerate any slackers or negative vibes when it comes to the players.
On the playing side, Xia explained there was very much a policy of getting leaders in, who would also prove to be better examples to follow for the younger talent that exists in the squad like Jack Grealish.
There’s no doubt Xia has made it his business to understand the first team squad and what has been wrong with it. Encouragingly, he seems very much up to speed on most club issues.
Before Xia came in, the group covered a few general topics with Wyness like the situation with the incoming Aston Villa Technical Director, who as already been reported, will commence his work at Villa, September 1st (he’s still currently under contract at another club).
The upshot is apparently he’s well-respected within the football industry and will work at Villa in creating an overall football ethos and identity at the club – from Bodymoor Heath to Villa Park. So going forwards Villa won’t be so dependent on whatever manager is in place. Instead, there will be a continuous through-line in the terms of the football culture at the club, a bit like what has been achieved at Swansea and Southampton in recent years.
What ethos that will be, will be founded once the new Technical Director starts their role at Villa.
New Communication Channel
Something that MOMS has mentioned to the club previously over the past year or so is the need for the club to have a specific Twitter address to tackle supporter issues (aka a Supporter Liaison Officer/SLO Twitter address), where Villa supporters can easily contact the club with practical issues they need help with.
Currently, a lot of other clubs have them alongside their official Twitter addresses to deal with more practical supporter questions and issues.
It seems that Tony Xia’s Twitter work has shown them the light and the amount of standard club issue tweets to his address has clearly shown the potential benefits of such a Twitter account and a NEED for one!
Wyness confirmed at the meeting that this would happen.
Wyness also confirmed something that has already been reported on, that there are apparently no release clauses left in the current Villa player’s contracts. Micah Richard’s one has apparently expired.
The club will make a specific commitment to try and drive Safe Standing in English football (more details on that to come).
The club have employed a new IT manager and he is carrying out an overhaul of all the club’s computerised systems – including the ticketing side of things – which the club admit are outdated and haven’t been ideal. This will hopefully eventually solve most the issues that supporters have faced, especially in booking tickets. This is something that Xia thought was key to modernising the club.
Anyway, those are some general takeaways, but next week you’ll hear more detail on the other issues we discussed like: the scope of funds of the new owner, board structure (referencing all the recent company house changes), redevelopment of the Aston area and the 12 acres of land the club own in the area, improving PR, future re-brand consultation with fans, North Stand redevelopment, disable seating, youth engagement, steward situation, Acorns, Villa Midlands Food (VMF) and Living Wage situation.
Keep you eyes posted next week for the full details of the meeting.
Follow MOMS on Twitter here – @oldmansaid