Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday July 26 2006
VILLAN OR VILLAIN ?
Neville or Lerner - that is now the question - providing of course all the media reports are correct. Indeed if Sky Sports are correct, Lerner may have made his offer by the time this piece is posted. The share price movement yesterday certainly indicated that a credible offer is imminent.
Maybe, this sudden new interest has been initiated by the prospect of the increased revenue from Television - but this will only make the Top6 Premiership Clubs richer - which rules Villa out until we are able to compete at that level. I also hear that Lerner sees a "rosy" future using the Internet for streaming live Prem. Games to the USA. No doubt he believes that ownership of a Prem. Club would help facilitate a closer involvement with this incredibly lucrative, but highly speculative venture. Not a lot to do with Aston Villa`s progress back to "top-flight" football - but very good business for the Lerner dynasty. But what happens when Aston Villa have served his purpose?
So the most important question is which potential investor has the best Business Plan for Aston Villa. Are our views as supporters going to be included or do we continue as terrace fodder as under the Ellis years. Or are people like Jonathan Fear going to be given the right to sit at future Board meetings and "veto" decisions not in the benefit of all the loyal fans and supporters. I think not. The executive management of Aston Villa will be focussed totally on generating profit for the sole benefit of the owners.
Let`s assume that Lerner is successful and acquires all the shares he requires to take control of Aston Villa, and I suspect he will want 100% and put the club back into private ownership. Bear in mind that Lerner is a lawyer by profession, he lives in New York and where does he practice? Yep! -New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street!
Will he then follow the Glaziers model? The Glaziers are now borrowing totally against the assets of Manchester United, including mortgaging all future income in order to pay back the loan taken out to buy the club.
In other words, real money wasn`t used to do the deal for Man.U, just "paper". So the days of seeing the UK`s wealthiest club being able to pay £30million+ for top players are now gone! They will be managed no differently from the way that the Villa is now managed under Doug Ellis - ie the "sell to buy" policy.
Is this what you want for Aston Villa? Does this represent progress? Is this the long-term financial model you are looking for to put us back to being on of the UK`s top Clubs? It is reported that Lerner`s club, the "Browns" are one of the richest teams in the American NFL but have never won anything in the seven years under Lerner`s control. So should we therefore ask him, "why is this"?
On the other hand, we know almost nothing of Michael Neville or his consortium. How much will they plough into the Aston Villa to give MO`N (let`s pray for that at least) all he needs to spend both in transfer fees and wages to build a team fit to grace Villa Park? We need to know this or will his be the Glazier model where they are investing purely for a "quick buck".
Finally, I have to remind everyone that a few months ago a poll was put on the VillaTalk site www.VillaTalk.com. You can see that it is still running. 12.5% of the VT readers voted for Doug Ellis to either "sell his shares or retire" but 87.5% voted in favour "To support a new fan backed initiative for change".
As many of you know, I have been 'slogging away for months' to make that wish come true. I intend to publish a detailed report that would make this a reality, if that is what the majority of fans and supporters prefer. Or do they now prefer one of the two (or possibly more) consortium solutions now being reported?
The choice is yours. Will all readers please let me know how they personally feel about the changes possibly in store for our beloved club?
The options are -
A. Doug Ellis should sell the club to the highest bidder.
B. Doug Ellis should only sell the club providing the majority of ticket-buying Villa Fans agree that the offer is agreed by at least 90% of the shareholders.
C. A properly funded and credible "fan-based" investment initiative that will ensure that Aston Villa aspire to and maintain Top4 Premiership status and compete for the top honours in the UK and Europe every season.
Please respond to this - it is your way to make your views paramount!
My email address is email@example.com
Please enter "Fan-Shares" as the subject.
Also let me know if you`d like a summary of the proposals in my report, 'VILLA FANS FIRST"
UP THE VILLA
By Peter Cross
Date:Wednesday July 26 2006
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