Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday July 16 2006
So, we keep hearing about Michael Neville, but who is he? I'd intended to try to do some in depth research but by luck stumbled across an article by Hyder Jawad of the Birmingham Mail from November 2005.
Despite constant reports saying 'life long Solihull born Villa fan' he was in fact born in Droitwich.
The article says that Neville, a fan since the 1960's, has an 'encyclopaedic knowledge of the club's history' and went on to suggest that he could become the most important figure in the clubs recent history if he was able to pull off the proposed takeover by the Comer brothers. Obviously that takeover never happened - although Doug Ellis is still conveniently hiding behind the 'preliminary approach' to ward off difficult questions from shareholders and fans. However Michael Neville has continued to look for adequate funding to mount a fresh approach and recent reports and talks suggest he may just be nearing a formal approach with a new set of backers.
The Mail said back in November 'His background will certainly delight supporters, for he has been one of them for 45 years - long before Ellis had any affection for the club. Aged 51 and a self-made millionaire, Neville began his career as an electrician and is in charge of various publicly-listed companies. Unlike Villa, he has not known failure.'
'Neville was the fan who became a friend of the players. He is close to Charlie Aitken, the club's longest-serving player, and the two men used to walk to Villa Park together to watch matches.'
The talk of potential approaches has certainly increased in the last week or so with a few groups now said to be either looking or close to making approaches. Until one of them puts the talk into action, I'll remain slightly sceptical because we have been told for so very long that a takeover is just a matter of days or weeks away and I can't afford to keep my fingers crossed anymore as my hands are starting to look more like claws.
Lets just hope that whoever does approach and succeeds has the best interests of Aston Villa at heart. Lets also hope the board sell to the group who have the best interests of the club as first priority, as opposed to the what will be in the best interests of the major shareholder at Villa.
Date:Sunday July 16 2006
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