Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday November 13 2006
Vital Villa readers were asked for questions to put to the general and here is the result, a great interview with General Charles Krulak which is both entertaining and informative. It also makes for exciting reading when you see the vision for the future. There is certainly a growing bonhomie amongst the Villa fraternity. COME ON YOU VILLA!
Non Football Related:
How do you find England (and I don't mean turn left at Iceland like Ringo Starr said when asked how the Beatles found America!) and what do you make of the English food, drink, sense of humour and culture? JP Fear
I love England. As a Marine, I visited the UK almost every year and as a businessman, I lived in Chester from 2000-2004. My wife and I enjoyed every minute of our time in this Country. I particularly enjoy the people, their humour and friendliness. They are kind, caring and courteous...and particularly nice to people from the 'Colonies.'
I'd like to ask the general (and its not football related ) .. How easy or difficult was it to go into business after a life in the military, and has he used the leadership skills from the marines in business, because the way he's going if he asked us to follow him in to some hellish war zone, I think most of us would follow .... And what chance is there of getting Randy himself to do some kind of Vital Villa interview? WITHES SWEATBANDS
The transition from the Military to Business was easy. I have not changed my Leadership style at all. My basic philosophy is to care for people, focus on the mission and work hard...results will come. I know many fans would love for Randy to do some interviews but that is just not 'who he is.' He is very low-keyed and steers clear of the spotlight. He has little to no ego and just would rather let his actions speak for him.
It has to been done, your first answer. Please. McDonalds or Burger King? Beer or Wine? Disneyworld or Universal Studios? The Browns or Villa? Baseball or Ice Hockey. Coffee or Tea? The Royal Marines or The Parachute Regiment? The Country life or City Living? The Simpson's or King Of The Hill? Dogs or Cats? still sexy
Burger King, Beer, DisneyWorld, Aston Villa FC, Hockey, Coffee, Royal Marines (has to be), Country Life, Simpsons and Dogs.
How are you settling in at the club and how have you all taken to the fans? JP Fear
We are settling in fine but still have much to learn. We admit that we are not 'experts' in English Football in general and the Premiership in particular but NOT at sports in general. Randy has been involved with American Football and will be bringing with him some background in that area to help as we look at the future for Villa. The Fans have been great...they really have. Their showing at Chelsea and at Everton was enough to make all of us proud. We have a superb Manager, a hard-working, talented team and the BEST Fans in the League...doesn't get much better than that. Now we just need to continue to 'put it all together.'
The one question I would be interested in knowing the answer too would be where they would stand on the issue of 'safe standing' areas. I know its completely out of their hands but if it was an option would they look to take it at Villa Park? Or even better would they add their voices to a campaign to get standing re-introduced? DeanoVilla
I like the idea of a 'safe standing' area but I have already been 'ripped' in the newspaper for talking about standing at games. Suffice it to say, I like fans who can 'safely' demonstrate their enthusiasm. Unfortunately, this is a rule that needs to be worked...we can't just go out and violate the rules. That is not good.
I would like to know if there are any plans to upgrade the catering for match day, hey not talking posh stuff but perhaps a mac, kfc, burger king type concessions in the ground? DudleyPhill + others have asked if there will be any healthier options.
Yes we do have plans for upgrading the catering. No lobsters and steaks...sorry...BUT, good food and drink served quickly and professionally.
Will the fans get representation and do the board know what the likes of Fear did for Villa with VFC and The Shareholders Association and how much dignity they showed in disbanding whilst 'others' were critical but have kept going? WittonLane
Fans will get a voice...and my presence on 3 web sites should be a show of good faith in that area. We do know how much Mr.. Fear and his group did to support our bid and we are most grateful. As someone suggested, we will be erecting a Jonathan Fear statue in one of the toilets in the Holte End.
I usually use the club shop at Villa park which is excellent. However whilst in Birmingham last week I went to the shop in the Pavillions. Although the shop itself is smart enough the location is just plain bland. Surely we should be in more of a prime location and not in the basement opposite a closed sports shop where very few people seemed to pass. Any chance of it being moved to Bull Ring or New Street? abisdad
We will fix our Marketing effort, not only in Birmingham but all around the UK and the world. Mr. Bob Kain will be working with others to extend the 'reach' of Aston Villa. You will be happy with the direction we will take but....we need time to get it going.
Top 4. How many seasons? chris the villan + others
Top 4...tough question but the answer MUST be, This Season. We always want to shoot for the best.
Two questions: What is the vision for the club in 5 years? and how do they plan to improve the supporter experience? (OK I know there is free travel tomorrow, but that is a one off. What lessons have they learned in the US that can be applied over here?) Gordonsleftboot
Every Club needs a vision and I believe that Randy's vision is for Aston Villa FC to raise the European Cup over their heads. We want to have the best facility in the Premiership. We want to have a 'Villa Experience' that will motivate fans from 5 years old to 95. We want to be good citizens of Birmingham and the surrounding countryside. We want to encourage fans to follow the Club...no matter where they live in the UK or World...and we want them to feel they are truly a part of the Club. We want open communications...not just to hear the good but the bad as well. We want the word, 'Team' to include the actual members of the Team, the Managers and Coaches, the Folks at Villa Park and the Chairman and Directors and the Fans...that we are all in this together. As an aside, the free coaches to Chelsea was not a 'one off'...it was a promise to our fans that we care...today and in the future.
As a new comer to the sport and Aston Villa, purely from a fans perspective, which players have impressed you and stood our most so far? Also have you had much chance to mix with the players and how do they seem to have taken to the new regime? Aronno7
We visit the players after each game. They are most impressive. They care about the Team and the Fans...they play their hearts out. They work hard in training and have great respect for each other. Martin is a superb Manager....he is, foremost, a Leader and has the respect and admiration of all of his players...and certainly is respected by Randy and the Directors. It would not be right for me to single out a single player...they are all winners in my book.
Are there plans to honour the team of 1982 next year on our 25th anniversary and will Dennis Mortimer be made an ambassador for the club? It would be lovely to see a statue of Dennis Mortimer holding up the European Cup as a fitting tribute to a great player and great man. JP Fear
We will celebrate the 1982 team. Statues of past 'greats' are in the planning stages now.
I would like to know his views on WMD. That is ........... Whingers of Mass Defection. What would he do with all the supposed Villa fans who spent years demanding change, but who, now they have got their wish, are now in hiding? UTV voiceoftheholte + related question: admittedly time is a great healer but there is still a significant % of fans who are badly burnt from the Ellis era, What initiatives are being planned to get VP packed to the rafters other than signing quality players? Also I heard a rumour that the Villa are going to be sponsored by a midlands based firm (I'm not saying who!) can he shed any light on this? bobbyfett
I am a firm believe that you should not 'steer a ship by its wake.' We cannot look back. For those fans who left, we can only say, 'measure us by our actions on and off the field...if you like what you see, come HOME to your Club.' We will work hard to make the Villa Experience a positive one and if we are successful in doing that, the fans will come back. Remember the saying, 'Build it and they will come.'
I'd like to ask the General if he thinks that the players should walk on to the pitch to the sound of 'Welcome to The Jungle' by Guns and Roses (as we are undefeated at home) and if a big time kit supplier like nike or adidas will come in to give us a real Blue Chip kit we can wear with pride - I vote for a Black away kit! paranoid_ormandroyd
Lots of comments about a song to enter the stadium to...and we will work hard to get the right one. I like the Marine's Hymn...motivating!!! How about the theme from 'Rocky'? Everyone has a favorite....we will try to get it right.
I'd like to know some of the initial ideas we might see over the next few years on how the club will be financially developed? RL has made it clear he doesn't want to Americanise our club, but rather respect our history. Does this mean we should not be expecting our club to be developed in the US? What is the board's opinion on the value of the market in the far east? Man Utd and Liverpool make a lot of profit out there each year, but potentially it messes up their preparations when teams travel so far to expand over the summer? thekentvillan
One part of Randy's vision is to have the Aston Villa FC recognized world-wide. To do that, we need several things: 1) to win on the pitch, 2) to have a great marketing strategy, and 3) to invest in the right things. Bob Kain (a Director of the Club with a great marketing background) will help us reach this vision.
What is his honest personal opinion of Doug Ellis? And I mean HONEST. The Usual Suspect
This is obviously a volatile question but let me give you the 'honest answer' that you asked me to give. I have met and visited with Doug Ellis multiple times. I have always found him to be a gentleman. He has treated me, Randy and the other Directors very professionally. He made my personal arrival at Villa Park a very enjoyable one...going out of his way to make me feel welcome. He watched over Aston Villa for 38 years...through good times and bad...and tried his very best to keep the Club competitive. Like every person who has ever been 'in charge' of something, he has made some very popular decisions and some unpopular ones...but that comes with the territory. There is no question that from my viewpoint, his heart was always with, and will always be with, Aston Villa FC. I have met some of his family and they are fine people who obviously love and care for Doug....and that says a great deal about the man. Having been at the top of my own 'field', I know how tough it can be. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose...and the 'buck' always stops with you.
Could you kill a man with bare hands and are we going on one of those tours around America for pre season to 'tap in' to the American market? Or would he have to be wearing gloves? Supposed to be Could you kill a man with your bare hands? I'm expecting you to ask the general, Mr Fear don't let me down MACCA UTV
Could I kill a man with my bare hands? Yes, if I had to. I would much prefer to use an M-16 or a tank!! Just kidding!! The truth be told, killing is not a good thing and not a great way to live. I think everyone in the military would rather be looked upon as a 'peace-keeper' and a 'protector' vice a killer. We exist for one reason and one reason only, to ensure the safety of our Countrymen and women...simple as that.
What plans are there for further re-development of the ground and the area around the Villa Village which is dated and untidy. Gazvilla
There are lots of plans being put together for all of Villa Park. It is too early to lay them all out but, as you know, the Holte Inn is the 1st step.
Can we have a statue of Jonathan Fear in the mens toilets? DeanoVilla
Yes, there will be a statue of Mr. Fear in a toilet. We are looking for an artisan right now.
Are there any plans to honour past Villa heroes, like the team of '82? If so, what form would it take? Geordie_Villa
We will be honouring the heroes of our past.
Are there any plans to rename the doug ellis stand as im sure that many fans boycott this stand purely because of the name and will the seating of villa fans behind the goal at the north stand become permanent as it is a must I think get the away fans in the corners as far away from the pitch as possible? agentprovocateur
I have answered this many times before. (JF: CK has been asked this on all the forums, basically the board know of the issue but things aren't ever as simple as they would appear - full stop!)
Now that the takeover is finalised will you be appointing a UK based board to oversee the daily running of the club or do you think the board is able to do such from the US. As part of the daily work within Premiership football is dealing with the FA, the Premiership, the Media, especially around transfer dealing windows, will the board be naming anyone specifically to assist Martin O'Neill, or will he be given carte blanch to deal as he wishes? avfc48
also: I'd like to know whether he or Randy have bought a house or apartment in or around the city to make visiting easier. I'm convinced they're here for the good of the Villa but haven't heard whether they are just coming over for flying visits. It would be one hell of a house warming if they laid on a party ;-) Barabus
Randy did not immediately bring in a CEO because he wanted to understand the needs of the Club before he made such an important pick. He has been working this issue long and hard and should have a decision soon. Again, there is no need to rush such an important decision. The Board is in the UK almost every day of every week...we just divide the time between the members of the Board. One of us is over almost all the time.
Will we ever see a player or manager statue outside our ground like other clubs have? Maybe one day it might be MON?! thekentvillan
Yes, we will seek, over time, to place appropriate statues/plaques to honour our heroes.
I'd like to ask the General whether there are any plans to get MON tied down to a long term contract? I realise he said that he is here for the long term, but surely it would be piece of mind for everyone concerned? Geordie_Villa
The contract issue is one that Martin and Randy are handling personally. I think that Martin and Randy have both been very clear...they want continuity and stability.
I'd like to express my thanks on behalf of all the readers of Vital Villa for doing this and thank you for your honesty and candour. Not so sure about my statue though, maybe if I behave it could be promoted to a broom cupboard?!?!?!?
Vital are looking to line up a few more interviews, if any of you Villa stars are reading this site, get in contact with me (please!) and we'll sort out an interview with you as well.
General Charles Krulak has also been talking on our forum, for the thread: Click Here
Date:Monday November 13 2006
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