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What Is A Fan Rep To You?

What Is A Fan Rep To You?

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?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Saturday November 18 2006
Time: 11:34AM


Perception rules, that's why spin is so important. It's vital that the club appears to be listening to the fans. I mention the word 'appears'. If there was to be a fan representation then that representation has to be valued by Randy & Co. Therefore, the choice of who or what represents the fan base has to be an astute one. Randy & Co will not listen to drivel. It is only proper that the elected fan has to be part of a democratic process and one that is representative of the fans and does not become autocratic. Randy needs to drive this and to be seen as part of the process so that it gives the sense of empowerment to the 'winner'. Whether it be a board or invidiual why can't a series of matchday programmes ask for nominations. These nominations are screened by Randy and a shortlist would then appear in a programme. Each candidate would state their case and fans ask to vote for an individual or indivduals. The process then of feeding information to the winner(s) in order to engage with Randy would begin. Why not have a page in the programme specifically for the fans forum to keep the fans up to date.
18/11/2006 12:18:00
Although far from essential a fans repersentative is a good idea and provides a link between the terraces and the boardroom. I believe He should be elected by a vote of all season ticket holders (I'm not a season ticket holder and only make a few games due to distance ). Spanish clubs work these votes for general manager successfully and whilst I dont believe he should/would have any powers all successful business listen to their staff or customers and the odd idea out of a suggestion box proves a money spinner. It does encourage the feeling we are all in this together and probably have the greatest effect on marketing i.e. as you say with kit and badge issues. This is always going to be easier whilst things are going well so it's probably the best time to get someone installed and give him time get to know the people he'll be talking to. Setting a defined role for him thou would be impossible it's going to be up to the club to use link to the best possible advantage and I'm sure it will change constantly with time . It will be another communication channel between the fans and the owners, which can only be good and as someone once said Its good to talk.
18/11/2006 13:03:00
Step Forward Mr Fear :) I think this board already represents the fans choices quite well and Mr Fear has done an awesome job representing the majority over the years.
18/11/2006 13:24:00
I don't think there is any need Mr Fear your doing a grand job already with voicing fans views. and i trust randy & co, so far his action's are speaking louder than words, probably would have been a better idea under our last toerag of a chairman.
chris the villan
18/11/2006 13:47:00
To be honest I have never seen the point of a fan board member and anyone who tries to do it could be on a hiding to nothing. A director needs to understand every element of the business and take all issues into mind. A fan plucked from the crowd is going to find it difficult to do this. To see something similar in action listen to any council debate where well meaning people from the public try to tackle issues they know almost nothing about. I think that a board prepared to listen to fans through surveys and discussions is far more likely to get things right.
18/11/2006 14:15:00
Imust say ilike the idea, its something we needed in the dark days under whats his name, for someone to give a fans prospective of what we see and have to put up with can only be good. Vote Silkie.
silkie villain
18/11/2006 14:33:00
agree not on the board gordonsleftboot, but to report to the board a couple of times a year so fans know whatever their messages, that they are delivered to the top? What you want on the board is top businessmen doing a top job and sometimes not being a fan of the club might give them more clarity on important issues perhaps!?
The Fear
18/11/2006 15:53:00
You got my vote Mr Fear, looking good last night anyway.what shampoo do you use?
silkie villain
18/11/2006 17:27:00
Agreed xfranc step forward mr Fear we need someone who knows how we feel, who has sat there and put up with all the whinging and moaning, and who better than a person who already has that job, and who will have the most magnificent of statues erected in the gents loo, it speaks volumes that silkie is in awe of your hair, just the fact that you have not pulled it all out in the frustration of the last few years gets my vote UTF and of course UTV
18/11/2006 19:19:00
silkie, I dream of needing a shampoo, it is head polish I use these days, hope the glare wasn't too much under the lights! Had a bit of a bonus mind you, one of my table mates didn't turn up so I ordered his turkey dinner, took a photo of it and text'd him it (he was stuck in London) then proceeded to eat it!
The Fear
18/11/2006 20:04:00
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