Aston Villa - The 'New' Villa
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The 'New' Villa

'Come and see the new Villa' they say. The new Villa is mightily impressive and quite possible the best in the land, which is a bold statement to make but having looked at the make up behind the scenes of other clubs I really do believe that, and over time we have the foundations in place to scale whatever heights we want.

Unfortunately, the new Villa has not yet been extended to the pitch and after all, fans don't go to a match to cheer on a Chairman or a director do they? A good many of us (28,000 per game) will go no matter what, whether we're top or bottom, it's wet or warm, it's Saturday or Sunday - if there's a game on then we are there because we are addicted and we'd be mortified if that one game we did miss turned out to be the 6-0 victory we crave for. (For all the years in the Midlands this was my rule of thumb, now I've moved away it's a dozen or so games per season, but it's not me that should be targeted - there are enough people in the Mids who should fall into my previously religious type way of life of attending each week without fail.) Much has been discussed about how to get the fans back through the turnstyles and I think the price, the kick off times and the local redundancies have all played a major part in the missing thousands, but really none of that matters when your addicted - I just think people aren't enjoying going to the Villa and so not getting 'bitten by the bug'.

People harp on about the Big Ron era more than any other in the past 20+ years yet we weren't particularly successful then but the Sold Out signs went up most weeks. This is because we were entertained, we attacked and we had that bit of gusto and bravado about us that bought the fans to their feet. Since then nothing. Like now, we've had a solid defence but no link between midfield and attack and no one up front to score us the 20 goals needed to haul us up to the dizzy heights. This has now been ingrained into peoples psyche as is further enforced EVERY time we appear on TV and those floating fans witness yet another lacklustre and dull performance.

I'm waffling a bit here, but in short the only way we will get the Sold Out signs back on a regular basis is to change the style of the club and play with a swagger on the pitch, after all that's why we sell out against Man Ure, Chelski, Arse and Liverpooh - because you will get value for money. This isn't a dig at MON because it is totally out of his hands what with the transfer window being in place, but we need to lose 'difficult to beat' tag and sign more attack minded players. Two attack minded full backs, a marauding winger and two new strikers would totally transform the club and as word spread so people would come back to see the real 'new Villa'. We can afford to be alot more gung-ho because the central defence and central midfield is good enough to cope with it. An entire generation has lost interest but the bottom line is they all still cheer on the team via the radio, Tv or teletext and will always be tempted back no matter what if they think their going to be entertained. The more exciting the game, the better the atmosphere in the ground and that is also what gets people making the pilgrimage.

By Beefy

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 27 2006

Time: 7:18PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I think we will be able to have a peek at the new Villa come Feb 1st. I predict at least 3 signings. I also predict they will be of a higher quality than we have seen for many a year. OK, so those predictions are easy to make of course. What is not so easy to predict is whether we will make a monster of a signing. If we do then we will be getting sold out signs at most matches, irrespective of if we are 4th or 10th. The Villa we see now will not be the Villa we will be seeing in 12 and 24 months down the line. Exactly which kind of bigger, swaggering Villa we will see is an exciting prospect! I can't ******* wait!
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27/11/2006 19:36:00

The new Villa will need to win a few games instead of drawing most of them!
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27/11/2006 20:00:00

Yes.. but this is the Sow's ear Villa. Silk purse in 12 months.
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27/11/2006 20:07:00

great to see that we are at the start of something now though, before it just seemed so stale and stagnant. Long live the revolution!
The Fear
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27/11/2006 20:11:00

Bringing the missing supporters back to the club is obviously going to be a bigger undertaking than was initially envisaged. I hear the excuses from the stay-aways, the pick and choosers, the part time brigade, and I'm sorry but none of their feeble excuses wash with me. If you claim to support the club, prove it. Get down to Villa Park and support the lads. This is a momentous time in our illustrious history. The club needs us right now, probably more than ever before. The new owner and his board have exciting plans for the club, but they need our backing. We are on the threshold of a brand new era, if we cant pull the supporters in now, we probably never will.
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27/11/2006 20:54:00

Have to massively agree the need for more exciting play starts at the back with godd overlapping defenders who can pass and help us construct from front to back. That will help and take some weight off Luke Moore (who is a key new January or shortly afterwards player for me) and Gabby. JPA may still come to life even more with more momentum and creativity on the pitch behind him. Hopefully Petrov too. Hendrie in the midfield also has more creative football in him than most - and he definitely deserves the chance everyone else has had to impress. Priority signing for January should then only be if they will substantially improve on this - not more of a similar standard. Milner is NOT significantly better than what we have. Nor am I sure about Keane or Defoe. Bellamy is an option but trouble usually in the medium term. Either way a great winger or striker - with Gabby staying put wide or moving in depending on who we can get would be a huge step forward. To close though rampaging full backs of the Gidman, McDonald, Swain, Aitken or a fit Delaney mould would be my starters.
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27/11/2006 21:07:00

glensider - i am gettin racked off with all this stay away supporters malarcky, some of us have genuine and i mean genuine reasons why we cant attend every match. Would you call Fulham, Middlesborough, Reading and Spurs a pick and choose supporter? Whether the excuses wash with you or not is no concern of mine, i have been to every game i can over the last 20 years regardless of monumentous times. I am fully supportive of everything that is going on at the club but hate being slated for not being a season ticket holder. Why not chill, enjoy what is goin on, the fans will return sure as day becomes night they will return, do us Villa fans always have to have something to moan about?
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27/11/2006 21:23:00

For me to go to a game at Villa Park i pay £30 in petrol, programme, food, a beer plus entrance fee. I'm lucky to spend less than £70. Add to this the away games that i go to which can cost twice as much in petrol and you get a picture of how much it can cost. Add to this that I have a daughter to look after every other weekend, and a mortgage to pay. Glensider you need to either wise up, grow up or try and understand what REAL life is like! I agree that if we were playing bright attacking football this would help ease the pain a little but it wouldn't change the way i watch my football
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27/11/2006 22:11:00

There is some merit in this article which won't go down well I'm sure. I took 4 people to the Boro match with me who I managed to convince to come. They came away saying they found the performance frustrating and have no intention of going every week until it improves. Some would say well they're not 'real' fans but they are indicative of the missing thousands who go to selling out the ground every week. I'm sorry but we do not have 43 000 season ticket holders yet and it is obvious the fan base needs rebuilding. No doubt when they do come back when the product is right there will be people on this site complaining they're glory hunters. I agree with Macka I'm tired of the moaning and self righteous attitudes.
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27/11/2006 22:21:00

New film, Field of Dreams, filming started at Villa Park at the start of the season, Great film staring Martin O'Niell with supporting roles by new gy Randy Lerner and a chap known as just "The General" The film starts with a struggling team and no support. But through the film things get better, the bottom line is "Build it and they will come" I think the same has to be done at the Villa to bring back the missing thousands.
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28/11/2006 01:12:00

No idea if it's true but a pal reckons Ladbrokes wouldn't take a bet on David Beckham joining Villa. Point may be, it will take a really high profile signing to get the fans back in the short-term. If not they will only come back when success is achieved and that could take a while. Given the cynical exploitation of Villa fans by the previous owner, is it any wonder?
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28/11/2006 07:50:00

Great article Beefy. I think the argument about so called 'stay-away' fans will rumble on. The truth is, in many cases it boils down to finances, some people can afford to go regularly, others can't. Many of us have to add the cost of travel to the overall cost of the game. I live in Luton for instance and, like bassetmax, have to add £30 or £40 fuel costs to the equation. And, of course for those of us who live any distance away, getting to mid-week games can be difficult with work commitments etc. I would love to go tomorrow night for instance, but can't afford to take the time off to do so. As the team improves, as it surely will as new signings are made, the 'stay away' fans will come back there can be no doubt about that. We will soon fill the place to the rafters again, cheering the lads on as we finally compete with the Arsenal's Man U's and Chelskis. A little patience now will go a long way. UTV
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28/11/2006 08:34:00

The previous regime did a lot of damage to the fan base and clearly just getting rid of Ellis is not enough. I travel from Newcastle to VP every other week, which as you can imagine costs me a small fortune, but that does not make me any more or less of a Villa fan than those who have decided to stay away. My Dad was one of the stay-aways and swore he'd never go back until Ellis left. Now Ellis is gone, he has found other things to occupy his time and is enjoying the spare cash he has left over. He has found other things to spend it on. And this is a man who stood on the Holte and watched Gerry Hitchens right through to Dean Saunders. So nobody can accuse him of not being a "true supporter". Whatever your financial situation going to Villa Park is not cheap, nor easy. I stayed with my parents in Redditch over the weekend and all the trains were off. So we had to get a bus through and then on the way back, a train to New Street then a train to Selly Oak, then a bus to Redditch. And with the parking restrictions around the ground, it makes getting there a pain the arse. Imagine that journey for people with small children. My friend travels from Plymouth and I travel from Newcastle for every home game and some away, but that is only because our jobs allow us to. Many people's don't. Does that mean they aren't real fans?
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28/11/2006 08:38:00

I think some people are missing the point. Glensider asks the stayaways to return to VP and some people get the hump. Maybe the truth hurts. Maybe it is a case of 'if the cap fits'. However I believe he is bang on with his point. Thousands of fans have been lost because of Ellis. Some are Villa fans who can no longer be bothered to come. Maybe more importantly thousands of local kids have decided to gloryhunt Manure, Redscouse or Chelski because of the ineptitude of the Ellis regime. However there are thousands of supposed Villa fans who can afford to come to games, and who said they would not come back whilst Ellis was still in charge, who are still boycotting the club. In many cases it is those who demanded the change that are letting the club down. Glensider did not critisise non season ticket holders. I think most intelligent people will realise some fans, for whatever reason, can not have a season ticket, but do come to as many games as possible. So macca and gaz, stop being so touchy. If Villa start to have the success that we hope and the crowds are drawn back, I wonder how those who pick and choose their games will react. For example, macca is not a season ticket holder but comes to the games he can. If Villa looked like selling out in season tickets, I wonder what the likes of macca would do then? If the only way to get in, was a season ticket would he, and similar style fans, say they are not going anymore. Or would they buy a season ticket? If the answer is to buy a season ticket, then why not do it now? That is the difference between a 'wait and see fan' and one that puts his money where his or her heart lies.
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28/11/2006 09:56:00

VOTH – Fair comment on a lot of you points, although I think we should also take into consideration the collapse of many big local industries? In answer to your question – unfortunately until the kids are old enough I would have to continue to pick games around the missus’working arrangements, and if this meant not being able to get in due to full gates then im afraid its something id have to take on the chin. I think we should spend less time worrying about the stayaways, it must be accepted that some fans have probably gone never to return. However there is a bright new future and a fantastic opportunity to attract the next generation of Villa fans, such as my 2 lads.
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28/11/2006 11:02:00

Its all about the players a few big names and a hero to worship and all will be well and good in the world.
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28/11/2006 12:44:00

Nicely put macca. I am in a similar situation. I only have my 10 year old daughter weekends, so she has been brainwashed into attending games and has had a season ticket for the last five years. Unfortunately it means I do not attend many away games as I think it would be a little unfair to drag a 10 year old all over the country. But in fairness to the club, season tickets for kids are particularly attractive and I am surprised that more people do not take advantage.
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28/11/2006 13:03:00

Welcome back from the golf course tyler :-) Here are the stats this year… Villa are 5th in the league, Villa have the 9th highest average gate in the premiership at 34,958, Villa are 19th when you compare the average gate against the capacity i.e. they only fill 81% of the ground each week. This is only slightly better than Boro, Wigan and Blackburn. Maybe a misleading stat considering our capacity but when you see that over half the teams in the premiership fill their grounds each week what is happening at Villa to deter new fans entering the ground? Times may not have been good in the Midlands regarding large scale redundancies and certainly the Ellis factor has had some affect on attendances. However, weighing all this up against the fact we have the cheapest seats in the premiership and that Villa are the only top flight team in this huge catchment area of the Midlands our attendances are disappointing. We now have a new owner and one of the most respected football managers in charge yet there is no change in people paying their money to go through the turnstiles to support the team, whether they be new supporters or returning supporters. So where are the missing fans hiding?... surely not all down the golf club!
Hoss The Villain
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28/11/2006 13:41:00

hoss ....... good research but I think it is now obvious it is time to do away with the excuses. We do not have enough people who passionately support the club. So as not to upset any body, I accept there are people who can not attend often (or at all) but all those fans who profess to support the club, and who have the time and money to do so, are letting the rest of us down and are jeopardising our future, by not turning up. If you have now found other things to do on match day then I do not care how long you have supported the club before, you are now an ex supporter. If you used to be a season ticket holder, but now pick and choose your games, you are a part timer. If you intend to start coming when it looks like we will be challenging for honours, then you are a glory hunter. I reiterate some fans can not get to all the games and do their utmost to get to as many as possible. But if you fit into one of the other categories, stop whingeing, accept what you are and let the rest of us support the club with as much passion as we can.
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28/11/2006 16:13:00

geordie I like most of your points, I do not always agree with them, but it is a game of opinions. However you make the point about your Dad and say because he used to come down for years, he should be classed a true supporter. You say he has now found other things he prefers to do instead of supporting the Villa. So to me I would class this as an ex supporter. If I drove a BMW for 20 years and then decided to sell it and use public transport instead, I wouldn't still class myself as a BMW driver. I would say 'I used to drive a BMW', in the same way that your Dad should say 'I used to support the Villa, but now they are just my favourite team'.
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28/11/2006 16:22:00

so let me understand your viewpoint here VOTH....would you rather a loyal supporter of years pick and choose games this season or would you rather them not attend at all? Dont we want as many people in the stadium as possible....
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28/11/2006 16:44:00

VOTH - Disagree mate. You define support as attendance at games. Although this is a yardstick and a vital part it is not the only consideration. My girls have the shirts, have been to a few matches, and when asked who they support they will say Villa. They are vthe only team they take an interest in, the only team they will ask did they win and the only shirt they will wear. If they eventually pass this on to their kids then the legacy continues and they can come to the games with their grandad. Geordies dad has plowed money into the club, been through the divisions with them and has earnt the right to call himself a Villa supporter. You did say it is a game of opinions and that's mine. By the way I assume your girl enjoys the matches :-)
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28/11/2006 16:51:00

Loyal supporters do not pick and choose there games do they? Loyal supporters go to all the games they can, in all weathers, no matter how the team are doing. That is why the term 'loyal' is used as a preface to the word supporter. Those that pick and choose their games are part time supporters. Those that used to come but now prefer to be elsewhere are ex supporters. So tyls, in answer to your loaded question, I would rather a part time supporter than an ex supporter. The 'loyal ' part of your question is inadmissable because if they can no longer be bothered to attend all the games they can, then they are not loyal are they?. It is also important to clarify that calling a supporter 'part time' is not a slur. It is just acknowledging a fact. There are supporters, as macca pointed out earlier, that can not come to every game because of circumstances, but who come as often as possible. I would class this as a loyal supporter. Simple. So tyls, as you have said before you now often prefer to be on the golf course instead of at the Villa. But you still come to some of the games, so you are a part time supporter.
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28/11/2006 17:02:00

VOTH - Agreed. The word supporter prefixed by loyal has a different meaning and is as you say.
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28/11/2006 18:24:00

Like I have explained before I stopped going as I got sick of Ellis dragging us down. I had to pick something to do with my time (not that I prefer to be there), why you spend so much time trying to get at fellow supporters is beyond me but thats your shout. I understand your feelings towards people who did not renew but it does not mean they do not love and support the club. Mad to think we were probably celebrating sinking the blues in the same stand last season. Im not quite sure what the negativity is going to achieve when we all want to be looking onward and upward.
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28/11/2006 18:40:00

tylervilla, stop taking the world on your shoulders. the voth said that part time is not a slur. it is a fact that some people such as yourself pick and choose games, that is not aving a go at you, that is just the choice you make. he never once said that you did not love or support the club but it is a fact that you are just not quite as loyal as a lot of the other fans. get over it, stop thinking everybody is against you and if you can, get a season ticket and leave the golf to the other day on the weekend that villa are not playing.
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28/11/2006 18:52:00


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