Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday November 18 2006
There has always been talk about fan representation at Villa and obviously the new guys are men of action and will do something in relation to this.
So I was wondering - and I'd love you all to take five minutes to answer this -
What is it YOU would like?
What to you would a fan rep do?
How should fan rep/s be selected?
What issues would you expect fan reps to deal with?
Should a fan rep be employed by the club or should there just be a caucus of fans to consult?
etc etc. Just basically what you think you would need to feel represented.
ALSO, the flip side, are there those that don't think it is an issue and don't want to see a fan rep at all?
I have mixed feelings strangely enough. I think done right it could be a very good thing, done wrong it could be a nightmare for whoever is doing it. I know some other clubs reps have had tough times, I remember Dave Woodhall talking about a Man City rep who had a nightmare.
The issues start to come when you look at who a fan rep would report to. As far as I can see he/she would need to remain on the fans 'side' and would need to report to the board a couple of times a year or so and maybe with other staff members far more regularly; but on what issues? Whose toes would the rep be treading on and how many issues would there be for fans? If a proper line of communication is set up at the club, then surely if you have a problem with tickets for example, you'd know who to speak to in the ticket office. If there was a problem with merchandise you'd surely take issue with the shop etc etc?
Would a fan liaison in charge of a caucus be an idea? Just how much contact and input do fans need is the question I guess. I know over the years resentments have built up with the old lot and if they had had any sense, they'd have set something up in order to try to build bridges and pacify, but now we don't need to be pacified - time will be the only judge of what follows but we do have people reading our websites, talking to fans and taking an interest in the staff at Villa.
At the moment the whole club is still very much a mix of the 'old brigade' and the 'new regime' there is definitely dead wood at the club and you'd imagine over time there will be major changes, especially in the number of full time people employed. There are a few who are definitely there from the previous 'jobs for the boys' regime. So with those changes and all the issues being resolved, maybe the fans will be thinking less of the fact they've not been represented and more of the fact the team is better, the match day experience has been improved, the kits aren't the tatty shitee from Hummell anymore and most importantly for me and others who have been so involved in the politics, the fans aren't having to protest anymore.
So how much input can the fans have, how much input should the fans have and in what form should this take?
The club feels a lot fresher already and as said, with people like the General doing so much talking and more importantly listening, Randy Lerner and his guys have consulted and bothered to find out what the gripes are and already put some changes into place - and more plans to follow, what is there left to put in fan representation wise?
Issues such as badge changes (a very rare occurrence anyway), kit changes (to me crucial that the fans have a major say in this), issues on seating, stewarding etc and general issues/complaints/suggestions could all be communicated to the club via a fan rep, so there could be a good positive role.
Over to you, what do you think?
Date:Saturday November 18 2006
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