Writer: J P Fear
Date:Friday September 29 2006
Blimey, even when the Aston Villa AGM is postponed it still causes rucks and negativity!
The Annual General Meeting was due to be today but an announcement was made some weeks back that it had been postponed until November 30th due to the takeover. The message was put out several times on the official site, I know I put it on this site three times and I'm sure the other Villa sites covered it. Villa also had articles about it in several of the local papers so, short of writing to all the shareholders (possibly the right thing to do but at what expense?), there weren't that many more ways to get the message out. Sky Sports might have mentioned it in brief but it isn't exactly the earth shatteringly interesting type of football news they would be that keen on spreading!
Anyway, Steve Stride, Marion Stringer and Phil Mepham were in attendance today to call the meeting and to immediately adjourn it. I didn't think anyone would turn up, but apparently about 40 did, most of whom hadn't got the message.
I got a call this afternoon from an Aston Villa Shareholders Association member, Roy Froggatt. He was distraught and livid at the negativity from the people there and couldn't believe the attitude of some. Roy is a lifelong fan, he first attended when he was five and has been going 59 years. He's like many of us, who haven't exactly been happy with Doug Ellis (!) and is delighted that at last we have change so was furious at the negative and whinging attitude of the few.
You can understand the anger of a few who drove long distances or took a day off work to attend today, fair enough if you drive from Kent for a 'non event' you aren't going to be delighted and maybe as there were so few there they could have been offered a nice cup of coffee at the corner flag or a gift from the shop. BUT when you get people angry because as one said 'our beloved' leader wasn't there, referring to Randy Lerner, then you really have to take issue. This Ellis 'ite' obviously didn't see the irony in the fact he was annoyed that Randy wasn't at an agm that referred to a period where he wasn't involved at the club AND NOT at the fact that Doug and none of the other now ex-non execs weren't there (and don't get me wrong, they shouldn't have been either).
Another doom sayer told Roy that he'll see what happens now Ellis has gone predicting we'll get relegated. Right, ok, so we have Martin O'Neill in charge - the best manager in the league in my (and many others opinions) - we have a new and capable board of directors with a proven track record and we have an enthusiastic new owner who as O'Neill said, will put his 'heart and soul' into the club. From my discussions with his advisors and him, I can only concur, the excitement from them coupled with the wish to make Villa mighty again is tangible. There are no false promises, no spin and no bull, a far cry from the previous era, oh and the fact there is a little bit of money to spend won't go amiss either.
Roy asked me to pass on to Steve Stride, Marion Stringer and Phil Mepham just how sorry he was to see the rudeness aimed at them, which I've done with pleasure. I think the doom sayers are 1 in a 1000, that has been born out by the speed in which RAL gained over 90% of the shares and that was virtually without a whimper of opposition. So although I've passed on the message to Steve, I think they'll know already, Villa is about to enter a new era, we have no guarantees, but if we aren't all looking back in 5 or 10 years times with even wider smiles, I'll be amazed (I'll also no doubt be lambasted - but the negative people who spend more time moaning about chaps like me that anything else don't count anyway, so I'll leave the bedwetters to carry on with the attacks!)
On a more positive he also told me that his wife once told someone at Villa that she was second in the list of priorities for Roy, the first being Villa. Roy corrected her and said she was third as she'd not taken into account the reserves!! Classic.
Date:Friday September 29 2006
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