Winning at FFP
In the recent statement by Villa chairman Tony Xia, the Villa chairman stressed, “no shareholding sale of any size will contribute to meeting FFP”.
The solution was simple, as he explained, ‘we must reduce costs and increase revenue’.
Despite cost-cutting by interim CEO Steve Hollis before Xia and the Chinese bought the club, once the deal was done, the club reversed the process by increasing the number of middle management posts and began very much operating as a Premier League club off the pitch, despite the reality of their Championship status on it. Parachute payments balanced the books, as the club behind-the-scenes seemed to assume it would get promoted.
Into season three of the Championship, with parachute payments diminishing fast, the first clear sign of the knock-on effect of the departure of former Villa CEO Keith Wyness has become evident.
One of Wyness’s chief mantras was that of outsourcing. Outsourcing the catering, the e-commerce, the retail and service staff, etc. Villa’s kit, although designed by Luke 77, very much has the retail side of things facilitated by the American company Fanatics (they own Kitbag, which now essentially powers the Villa online set-up).
In a reversal of this outsourcing strategy, Villa have now taken the first steps to tackle their financial crisis by making the club more self-sufficient. The relaying of the Aston Villa pitch over the summer, presented the club with an opportunity to innovatively use Villa Park as farm land.
Certainly Villa as a club are ahead of the curve with this initiative and with the good fortune of this summer’s heatwave, it allowed the groundsmen to sow the seeds to the various ingredients to make up the garam masala of the Balti Pies the club will sell next season.
“We thought we’d take on the Brexit spirit,” explained a club official, who hasn’t been sacked yet. “Why rely on India for spices when we can grow them in the holy soil of Villa Park?”
As well as providing the ingredients for Villa Park’s Balti Pies, the claret salad to accompany Villa’s burgers, will also be grown on the pitch.
With the various lamps and heaters the Villa Park groundsman have to preserve the pitch during the season, it’s thought that with a few modifications there is scope to also grow cannabis.
In reality, the club will probably have to wait until the herb is legalised, at least for widespread medical use, as the illegal selling of it may trigger FFP penalties.
After all the reports of financial woe coming out of the club over the summer, it’s great to finally have some news that the club is again moving in the right direction and thinking outside the box along the way.
A Venglos View is a satirical (and sometimes surreal) look at the Villa.