A Villa Fan Explains - NO MORE
For some background, Rob Carson is one of three brothers who have all attended Villa Park regularly for over 30 years. The older brother has already drifted out of desperation at seeing the club drift into mediocrity, now Rob - aged 38 - is saying he won't be renewing his season ticket.
I thought it would be good to see why and pass on the comments to the club because if they keep doing what they are doing, they are going to lose more than just a few 'core' fans. The attendances have been down again this season and from reading the comments on forums, once a fan leaves, they find other things to do and are very difficult to attract back.
Thanks for agreeing to the interview Rob, to kick things off, what was your first game and more importantly did we win?
Thanks for inviting me to air my views and re-kindle a passion. Preston at home August 1973 with my Dad and older brother Andrew. We won 2.0 ! I was six years old. I recall a marauding bearded pirate in the centre (Trevor Hockey) and a nippy number 7 with sweat bands (Ray Graydon) from that first season. As a small nippy kid myself I was always Ray Graydon when we played sides in the playground at Colmers Farm secondary modern.We played with an airflow ball !!
You've been an avid fan for years, I know you were a home and away supporter, so did you attend 'that' night in Rotterdam?
Yes. The whole trip will never leave my memory. 14 years old, I travelled with my older brother Andrew and two mates. I had to sell my train set and my bike to pay for the £30 package! I will never forget Dennis lifting the glinting cup in the balmy warm night air. As we left the stadium, my brother said 'take one last look at the floodlights because you will never see this again.' Looks like he was spot on !!
How long have you been a season ticket holder?
I must admit, your dad is a hero of mine because when he saw Ellis return he said he wouldn't step foot in Villa Park until the pariah left. Bet he didn't think it would be this long though! So what has prompted you to say no more, as I believe as of next season, you will no longer renew?
The lack of any ambition. The football has been dire for too long. I went to Burnley last season and Doncaster this and was not suprised at either result. It is my belief that a number of our players do not care about our club. The manager is not a Villan and as for our soon to be 83 year old dictator well....I will feel a mug if I part with my £800 for me and my two children to be part of that.
Is the main problem still Ellis, or has the current manager Mr O'Leary affected how you feel about Villa?
Ellis is the club. He carrys the whole blame for me. After all he hired David O'Leary. I love our club. My Dad and Grandad were at Wembley in 1957. Bet Ellis was not. We need root and branch change and Villa people running it before I ever come back .
I must admit, I don't think Villa realise that you aren't alone in this refusal to renew, I think they could be looking at very poor season ticket sales next year, there are plenty of people by me not renewing, once chap has been coming down for 50 years but just can't face another season of mediocrity. Is the love affair over or could you be tempted back?
I love our club. My Dad and Grandad were at Wembley in 1957. Bet Ellis was not. We need root and branch change and Villa people running it before I ever come back .
It is a shame that VFC, Shareholders or other groups involved before couldn't bring more pressure to bear to remove the chairman, but the fans have never really unified in the way other clubs fans seem to. Mind you, people no longer attending, with gates down dramatically again this season, speaks far louder than any protest or banner as people vote with their feet. I did an article recently saying Ellis and O'Leary To Stay - The Fans To Leave! Do you think - like so many - once you stop coming, you will ever be persuaded to return regularly?
As above, I'd feel a mug if I kept paying the money out to 'feed' Ellis's ego.
Do you think David O'Leary should resign, be sacked, stay or that it probably doesn't matter whilst Ellis remains?
Give Cowans and McAndrew a chance.
Apart from the obvious, what is your favourite memory of Villa?
May 26th 1982 aside, winning the league and Big Rons brand of entertaining football.
Best manager, or should I say best manager Ron Saunders aside?!
Ron Saunders followed by Ron Atkinson.
Who do you think has been our best player/s and who has been your favourite player?
Another thing wrong at Villa is the fact that we have not one crowd pleaser. Not one like Gray, Little, Cowans, Withe, Shaw, Walters, Daley, Morley, McInally, McGrath, Yorke, Deano, Merson. We have nothing like a Mortimer as a great leader and we even struggle for a Rimmer, Spink, Bozzie in goal. I'm very sad to say that if i saw any of our current players in the pub I would ignore them.
You sit in the Witton Stand ('Doug Ellis Stand' to so few). What would you like to see it re-named when Ellis eventually departs?
The Ron Saunders stand incorporating the Barton and Mortimer suites.
RC 'One of tens of thousands'.
With thanks to Rob Carson (although you'll still be paying for your own curry on Saturday, I'm not THAT thankful!!!)