Date:Tuesday December 18 2007
Lest we forget
Before we start taking things for granted, maybe it is time to reflect on times gone by. I am 43 years old now and I can still clearly remember the days when the club was in real serious trouble. We were going down. The other team in the City were on the ascendancy and it looked to some that we may have to spend time in their shadow. Season tickets sales were at an all time low, fans were constantly demanding change.
The board never listened and the fans were seen more as a nuisance rather than the life blood of the club. The local landmarks were left to rot and fans could see an image of the club in the buildings they walked past on their way to the game. We attracted second rate kit suppliers and would bite the hand off any company prepared to give us a few quid to emblazon their name on one the most famous shirts in football.
The owners were more important than the club and the supporters. Our history was airbrushed out and important figures who made that history were only talked about in hushed tones. They were not welcome or never wanted to return to Villa Park. We were a club with out soul. Going backwards faster than a nun at an Ann Summers convention. Ah yes I remember those days. I think I was probably
42 at the time. I look back all those weeks ......... I mean months and it is hard to believe that this is the same club.
I have been in conversation with someone fairly close to Randy Lerner and he explained that Randy has a real fear. He fears failure on the pitch because that is an area that he has no control. Almost all player funding has been done directly by Randy himself. All the other investment in things such as the training ground, signage, ground improvements, ticket initiatives, bus services, advertising, The Holte Hotel and so much more have been from the clubs budget. He has done this and will continue to do everything possible to ensure that Villa fans are not only listened to, but appreciated and looked after.
There are massive plans in place to take this club to a level we could have only dreamed of 16 months ago. But how far we go is dependent on what we do on the pitch. If Marton O'Neill can break the
grip of the top four then Aston Villa are in business. And I mean business. What is needed is for the fans to show exactly what potential the club has to offer. Crowds are up, which is brilliant but we still need to get the level where a 43,000 capacity ground isn't big enough. And unfortunately, 35,000 against Portsmouth, who are above us in the table isn't good enough. I know all the excuses, crap weather, TV, just before Christmas blah blah blah. But that is exactly the reason we need another 10,000 season ticket holders.
It is impossible to overstate how important filling Villa Park every week is for the future of our football club. We have an owner who has proved himself. He has put his money (not the clubs ....... his own money) into putting Villa back on the map again. There are phenomenal amounts going on behind the scenes designed to help Villa compete, locally, regionally and globally. The least we can do as supposed
supporters is ensure that we do our bit to fill the ground that a previously unknown American has given us our pride in again.
Date:Tuesday December 18 2007
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