Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday January 23 2007
Aston Villa's new Chief Executive Richard FitzGerald has spoken of his vision and believes Villa can re-establish themselves as a major player.
The 44-year-old former senior vice-president of leading sports marketing and media agency IMG knows that there is plenty of work to do and said:
'Actions speak louder than words but the board is committed to developing the club and providing the platform for Aston Villa to compete at the highest level of the Premier League and in Europe. In a year's time, we would like to see an infrastructure being built to support a club competing for top honours, competing in the top half of the Premier League and for a European place. In five years' time, we aim to compete in the Champions League.'
Adding: 'My brief from the board is clear - to fill the stadium week in and week out, create an infrastructure to support a top club. We are very aware the local population of 5.3million is a vast potential supporter base and we will focus the core of our commercial ambitions here. And, although the global growth of our fan base is not presently the club's most urgent priority, it is nevertheless of strategic importance to the long term. We will potentially look to the United States as we deem it a fast growing soccer market. Our US connections make it more achievable.'
'There are also a lot of opportunities around Asia, particularly for the bigger clubs. The Premier League is incredibly popular. But international expansion at this moment will require strong partners that we do not currently have for it to work effectively - and a winning team. There is much to learn from other clubs. The English clubs are at the forefront of developments so, initially, we need to make sure we look and learn from clubs in the Premier League.'
And promisingly he says he will bring a fresh approach, something Villa so desperately needs: 'But my key focus will be to bring a fresh commercial approach to the club and, in particular, reconnecting to the Birmingham business community. I also want to cultivate a 'can do' culture and attract world-class partners to work with.'
Can do? Will do? That'll do for us, welcome on board sir, welcome on board!!!
Date:Tuesday January 23 2007
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