Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday August 16 2006
I've purposely not mentioned this until today, but have asked and been advised I'll cause no offence by sharing this information.
I've mentioned before, mostly in passing, that myself and Navid Nazier have spent a great deal of time talking with advisors to Randy Lerner. I think the fact these people have approached the fans groups is a very positive sign for the future of the club. They are in no doubt that fans need to be treated as the life blood of the club and we've certainly hammered that point home.
We've spoken about the many gripes of Villa fans and how relations can be re-built. We've done our best to relay the mood of the fans whilst making it clear we don't speak for everyone (hopefully that sentence will avoid me getting yet another slating elsewhere!! It doesn't suite some agendas but you'll never see me quoted as saying I speak for all fans or all shareholders, quite frankly I'm not always master in my old household and I live alone!).
I am currently working on a document that I'll hand over to them, hopefully in the next day or so, outlining some of the gripes that we have all spoken of over the last few years. Many things are just so obvious and they've been amazed that they aren't already in place.
The lack of a museum has certainly struck home and there is an article by Janine Self of the Sun confirming that Randy Lerner will look at providing a Hall Of Fame type of set up.
The great thing is these guys don't do all the talking, they don't do any dictating but they do a great deal of listening.
I had the great honour of taking a call from Randy Lerner on Monday. The timing could not have been better, because for the first time I'd allowed myself a bottle of champagne to toast the bid. No sooner had I started supping than the phone rang. Luckily he rang before the bottle was emptied! He came over as a true gent, very down to earth, excited at the proposition and totally no nonsense.
I then spent some time yesterday with two of his American advisors and his British based advisor. It was a most enjoyable experience and again, these guys listen (either that or I speak so much they couldn't get a word in!).
So why do I like the bid? Believe it or not (and many won't I'm sure) it isn't because they approached us personally, it is because they approached the fans groups. The things we've suggested could just as easily have been done by Mr Ellis, but whereas - despite meeting us once - he kept us at arms length, these guys want the fans involved, they know the history and pride we have and intend to act as custodians building Aston Villa with us, not in-spite of us.
Will our history be honoured? Yes.
Will we be taken forward? Yes.
Will the team of 82 be included? Yes.
Will people who need honouring be embraced? Yes.
Will money be spent on the team? Yes.
Will Bodymoor Heath be made state of the art? Yes.
Will they plan to re-establish us as a global brand? Yes.
Will they sign Martin O'Neill up long term? Yes.
Will the fans be brought back into the fold? Yes.
Will the fans have representatives? Yes
Will they make me manager or chairman? Oooooooooh noooooooo. :-)
Date:Wednesday August 16 2006
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