Writer: J P Fear
Date:Friday December 11 2009
The last time we looked at General Krulak's thread was here: GK part 6: Click Here and the forum where we last looked was page 83 - Click Here
First off, on GK's health, having asked him he said: 'I am making slow recovery.' Before adding, ahem! 'My sincere hope is to get to Villa Park before Christmas...to deliver your new 'chair' along with your invitation to Randy's house for a hot toddy.' He has also said since that he so wants to get over for our semi and will move heaven and earth if Villa get to Wembley to get over here, whether he can get passed Mrs GK is another matter though!
There have been a few comments on shop and merchandise passed on, including some constructive specifics.
On the shop area GK assured MaineVillan who had problems with merchandise:
I have had several communications with John Greenfield over the comment you made and John has taken it for action. On Monday he will be calling our online partner and describe your concern...to include Ryan and his product knowledge and service. The Villa Store is open Monday-Saturday from 0900-5:30pm and Sunday from 1000 until 2:00pm...it does not close for lunch. The phone number is 0121 326-1559 and the lines are open during the work hours...do not have time off for lunch. Regarding the online search....you can enter the catalogue code or do a descriptive search, ie. scarf. However, if you enter a descriptive search, such as the scarf, it will bring up all the scarves that are CURRENTLY available. If you enter the code and the product is not available, you will get a message that says 'your search revealed no results.' John Greenfield will speak to our online partners and get this message changed to indicate that the goods are sold out...vice no results or only those scarves that are currently available. We have no plans to go with a digital catalogue because catalogues become outdated very quickly and it is much easier to update a website. As for the scarf in question, it did temporarily go out of stock at the online store. It has been the best selling scarf this year. We will be refilling the online store within 10 days. Sorry for the long answer but wanted you to know that we do appreciate the feedback and try to make things better.
Also comments on specific issues at the game with reference to some abuse at a game suffered by one of our posters. The person who had cause to complain (in a very friendly and professional manner) was treated with the respect deserved as you would expect and after he thanked GK:
At the end of the day, the one thing I can say about our Club is that our people try to do the right thing. We don't always get it right...and Lord knows I don't. BUT, those folks who work at Villa Park, day in and day out, really try to make the Fans proud to be part of the Villa Family.
Just shows that specific problems are addressed, superb line of communication and the comments when sensible and constructive to do have an impact and get passed on to the relevant department.
Asked about the new and superb statue he said:
I have seen many pictures of the statue and I think it is brilliant. I know The Fear is upset that we did not make it bald with 'tats' but that one comes next. (GK had promised me a statue to be erected - that word might need to be re-phrased - in a toilet or broom cupboard to be advised..... hmmm!?!?!? lol)
Another comment was about away fans in the executive boxes causing problems, GK assured the user:
I will raise the issue of away fans in boxes again. Those boxes are not intended to be small bastions of away fans screaming their lungs out.
On the official site there have been a few comments lately as it is going through a re-design:
I forgot to mention that today we took our first major step in our efforts with our Official Site and with eticketing. When you look at the site you will see that we have taken many of your suggestions and incorporated them in the work we have done. Our new Head of IT and our ticketing folks have worked hard to complete this first step. Again, it is just step one in a planned refurbishing of our Official Site...much of what we are doing has been a result of input from our Fans. We still have a way to go but I think you will see that we are on the right track.
I suggested to one poster to give it time before complaining about it (ie let it be finished first, then judge it!)
I agree with The Fear...things like this just don't happen over night when it comes to a website. We honestly don't have an army of folks working daily on the site...we hired a new IT guru and he has come in and evaluated where we are and is now, systematically, fixing things. As I indicated, we do have 'a way to go'....we recognize that fact and will do what needs to be done.
I think that there is not a single person at Villa Park that doesn't believe that we have a long way to go with the OS. We reccognize that fact. At the same time, we have hired a superb man to work the issue for us...he is very experienced...he is moving in the direction and speed that is appropriate at this time. We don't need to outsource. We are making changes but recognize that we first need to work on the infrastructure whilst making some 'quick fixes.' Within the next week or two some of the issues re. colour, etc. will be fixed. Give us time...we do not have a large amount of resource to put against this effort. We know that the site is VERY important and are working on it...give us some time.
On a lighter note, GK was asked by meyouldy what he thought of modern players in puffy gloves...!
Gloves on players. I confess that I have no feelings on this one. If one or more of our lads want to play with gloves on, I really have no problem with it. Like you, all I want to see is our Squad playing their hearts out on the field.
Still puffy though!!!!!!!
The standing issue has also raised it's head again. Seems that Liverpool have had to take a smaller allocation this year after their fans refused to sit down last season... so the nanny state really is cracking down. As GK has said in the thread, this is nothing to do with Villa, the rules are the rules:
There is nothing the Club can do about the regulations re. standing. I know the Fans wish we could wave a magic wand and change the rules but we can't. This is a Health and Safety issue as well as an issue with those fans who buy a ticket and would like to sit for some of the game. At the end of the day, IF we don't enforce the rules, we are liable for fines. The Liverpool game: Basically, the Council or whatever determined that Liverpool Fans stand at too many away games and have limited their access as we have seen. I would NOT be surprised if we also aren't hit with this same limitation if we are seen to be violating the rules while at other grounds. The issue of standing is obviously being taken very seriously and we either recognize that fact or we don't. If we don't, them we better be prepared to pay the consequences. Randy certainly has better ways to spend the Club's money than on fines!!
Also, John Handley, Hd of Security, is aware of the concerns re. stewards. The issue of standing is NOT a AVFC issue...we have the law to observe and if we don't observe it, we could come under some pretty stiff fines. We understand the difference between standing and cheering for a good play or to motivate the Lads on the Pitch...it is the constant standing that can get the Club in trouble and causes friction among Fans...some want/need to be able to sit and see the game.
And finally: Rules are rules....in this case, we didn't make them but we bear the brunt if we don't try to enforce them. As I mentioned, the key is for the stewards to have the situational awareness to know when fans are standing to recognize good play, at a time when view is restricted w/o standing or something like a corner kick at the other end of the Pitch, etc. etc
There were questions over the ticket allocation for the semi final, some posts were in GK thread then I re-directed to an existing thread on the subject so GK thread wasn't inundated and assured posters that not only would GK be looking but so would those who needed to at the club and ticket office (which they have)
GK said: Like I have said many times, we DO listen to our fans and what they have to say. We have, obviously, taken our full allocation for the game. When looking at those who went to Sunderland we realized that only a small percentage were non S-T holders so the change we made was easy and fair.
On the fans he said Had a long talk with Randy today...we both commented about the noise of our Fans this last game...really inspirational. Believe me, when you are on the Pitch, you can really hear the singing.
And finally on the potential Carling Cup final appearance: I want every Fan to know that Randy, MON, the Coaches, the Players, the Board, and the folks at Villa Park really want this Cup...and want it bad!! That obviously does not guarantee anything but you need to know that the feeling is intense...we want it bad. The semi's are going to be tough...no team in this situation can be taken for granted. We just need to go out a play our hearts out...and that is what we are going to do.
Lets hope GK is soon back over shaking (or is that breaking?) people's hands and patting Villa folks on the back (read - breaking their ribs!) Thanks General, your time is appreciated.
Date:Friday December 11 2009
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