Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday January 19 2010
The last time we looked at General Krulak's thread was here: GK part 7: Click Here and the forum where we last looked was page 91 - Click Here
The standing situation at Villa Park again raised it's head, as GK pointed out, it is out of the clubs control:
BCV and others: 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!!
GK also answered about the prices for the Liverpool game and cost to the away fans, saying Ticket prices: Compared to L'pool's normal prices, this is a deal. The game is sold out.
GK on the Manchester United Old Trafford win WHAT A GAME!!! It was absolutely magnificent. All of the lads played well but the back line were brilliant. The Fans were also just dynamite...you could hear them all the way over here in the US. Both Randy and I are literally over the moon. Randy has had the best of weekends...the Browns beat the Super Bowl Champion Steelers and our beloved Villa beat ManU!! Doesn't get any better. OH do I wish I could go to work in England tomorrow morning!!!!!!!
Adding: Witton_Lane: I can assure you, Ron saw the game!! I can also assure you that your message has been delivered...ONE GAME AT A TIME!! I received an email from a friend in France...very happy about the win. The world watched! This was a 'Villa Family' win....the Team, the Manager and Coaches, the Villa Park staff and the FANS!!!!! The noise from the fans was deafening...and the time after the game was very special.
Damn, I get no respect! ;o) My heating was broken and it was freezing so Benham asked: 'General I'm not sure you are aware but the fear has been without heating since yesterday, we are organising a 'shave-off' charity event where we all shave our heads out of respect for fear, trust i can put your name down for that?
GK answered Benham: Absolutely, count me in!!!!!!!!
See, it isn't all doom and gloom, they all have time to take the St Michael out of me too!
On the free flags being given out at the FA Cup game this weekend GK said I love the flags...will make a great scene on the day!!
On the ticket sales, he indicated disappointment in the figures being predicted at the time for the Stoke game saying Stoke still hanging at around 33K...amazing to all of us. which led to some feedback and exchanges about the number of games, people out of work etc. From the feedback GK said: Do NOT get me wrong...I KNOW about the economy...I get it!! My comment re. Stoke was simply that we are looking at, maybe, 35K with the Stoke Fans counted. It is an important game and one that could be tough...we will have played 3 games in a week and they have had a full week off. It would be great to have our fans there to cheer on the lads. Simple as that. I was not asking 'why'...just making a simple comment.
And after further constructive feedback he said It would be great to have our fans there to cheer on the lads. Simple as that.
Obviously most know but just see the comments by Martin Laursen if there are any doubts just how important we are to players: Villa LEGEND Says Support Crucial Wednesday
And after the game GK added: Attendance was a bit over 35K...which is what I was calling all week long. I wish there would have been more...but wishes don't make it happen.
Villan57: I understand 'fickle' but...we could have used a few more bums in seats. Hopefully things will pick up. I watched the game on the telly and good noise coming from our fans but you could also hear Stoke fans easily.
GK was also questioned on the 5000 ticket allocation for our away 1st leg tie v Blackburn Rovers:
Our allocation for the game was 5,000 tickets. This is more than the 15% Blackburn has to give us. We have gone back to Blackburn to get as MANY MORE tickets as possible but it appears highly unlikely that we will get more. We WILL be showing the game in the Holte Pub and Holte Suite...so watch on line to get the details.
A nice post by tythevillan was also well received:
'Over the last 40 years I have often been proud of MY club but today was just about the best ever! Let me explain - as season ticket holders in the trinity road we (me, my 83 year old dad, my 10 year old daughter and 9 year old son) always use the same turnstile (B21) and always have banter with the turnstile operator (who I have today found out is named Angie).
My father is currently 'missing in action' (much like yourself) due to a knee replacement. Angie always has a kind word for the kids. Today she gave my daughter a Christmas card from her personally and wrote in it that she hoped that their granddad was better. I was very overcome to think that someone, who we see fleetingly 20 times a year, took the time to think of my children and father, actually made me emotional and proud - proud that in these dark times for the morality of football, someone who worked for MY club was willing to do that off her own back - fantastic! Please personally pass on my thanks to her - she deserves it!
With our acorns support and all that you and Randy do for the club, the future of our club - my club, my kids club - is in the right hands - hands that realise that whilst money is important, it cant buy you class and values. (Just look at the shameful going ons at Man City today!) Those values instilled from the top, were so ably demonstrated by Angie today - you are only as strong as your weakest link - it would seem we have few weak links! And the best thing about this act ... is that I know, from dealings in the club shop and the ticket office, employees at all levels in all functions share the same values and always strive to 'do the right thing'. With these attitudes, we will be successfully and success isn't just measured by success on the pitch! Proud to be a Villan - thanks.
GK answered: tytheevillan: Thank you so much for the kind post. I will ensure that the turnstile operator is recognized for his kindness. We really are proud of the staff and folks at Villa Park. Almost to a man and woman, they have 'bought into' our Yank sense of 'Family' at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath.
LOL. I missed this at the time, Vital Mod Villan57 removed a post and said: 'Please do not come on the Generals thread asking for tickets to the semi final, your post will be deleted.
The General is a director of AVFC not a ticket tout !' Well said Villan, it is depressing that some think they just have to nod and they can have tickets given to them!
And in an even more bizarre twist James06 asked: 'General, whilst I understand that stadium photo's and images might be enhanced to make the crowd look more swelled, it's causing me a nightmare in my attempts to complete the official merchandise jigsaw puzzle. I've got the same people in several pieces and it's sending me mental. No wonder it was on special offer!!' And GK answered James06: This is amazing! My family and I are putting that very puzzle together and I know EXACTLY what you mean! It is a tough puzzle! It would be much easier if the Fear was part of it...sitting in his special chair.
So just goes to show, I'm not the only mad person around these parts!!!
Asked if Randy will be over to a few more games GK assured fans: Yes, Randy will be attending games. Again, he is passionate about the Villa!! He has been over several times in the last 30 days but has kept a very low profile. He has had a great deal of work to do in Cleveland and has just hired a real legend in American football management. He has NOT lost his love nor passion for the Villa...he just needed to do a few things in the States. At the same time, he has been over to the UK and is in the UK now. Too much has been made over the fact that he hasn't been 'seen' in the UK...that does NOT mean that he hasn't been there.
1. 100% Prepared: You caught him!!! Yes, it can now be told....The Fear is, in fact, Randy's stand-in for all games that Randy is unable to attend. I confess that people are getting a bit tired of him sucking down the free lager and eating the cheese and taking a sip of the bubbly!!!
2. Randy is in B'ham right now...celebrating the Holidays with his Family and the 'Villa Family.' As I mentioned, he is here far more often than most realise. Just because his face does not show up on the telly does not mean he isn't in the UK.
Steff The Villan asked for some help for his son - who has had a bad leg break following an awful car crash - and GK advised he contacted Nicki Keyes, he did and all was sorted very quickly. Top class. Steff said: 'And verily it came to pass that Dale can attend the match, many thanks to all that offered support and assistance, it is appreciated. Thank you very much General. Needless to say Dale is over the moon.'
Asked if Villa were 'settling' GK said: EROD: I can absolutely PROMISE you and ALL of our Fans that we are NOT 'happy to be a top 6 to 8 team.' My goodness, why would we ever be satisfied being anything but #1??? As a former Marine, I can assure you that coming in second has never been one of my goals...let alone sixth or eighth! The fact that we just lost two important games does NOT detract from the fact that we have beaten teams in the top 4 and that our ambition remains to be a consistent winner.
General Krulak also thanked everyone for their feedback: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THE VILLANS!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS, WISDOM, 'GOOD, BAD AND UGLY.' WE DO LISTEN AND DO TRY. WE CANNOT BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE BUT WE SURE AS HECK TRY. UP THE VILLA!!!!!
Various suggestions for offers etc ticket wise in order to get more fans through the turnstiles. Feedback was:
Ticket prices: Obviously Randy and the Board spend a great deal of time on ticket prices...season tickets and game prices. I won't go into the comparisons of our ticket prices vs. others in the Premiership...I am sure everyone knows we are basically the lowest. At the end of the day, ticket revenue is an important part of our overall revenue and allows us to do the sort of things that we need to do to make our Club not only special, but highly competitive. The balance between fairness to the Fans and revenue to the Club is a delicate one. On the one hand we have most fans clamoring for the purchase of players to bolster our Squad and on the other hand we talk about cutting ticket prices, etc. We cannot be all things to all people.
After rumours in the press or on forum message boards that Randy was looking for investors/to sell GK said:
I would ask everyone to settle down re. rumors of multi-billionaires, etc. Randy is the Chairman of the Board and owner of Aston Villa Football Club. He is totally dedicated to the Club...its history, tradition and ethos. He is NOT a short term owner...he is in it for the long term. This Club is a dream come true for Randy and many others (me included) and nothing will change that. I have yet to see multibillionaires running around Villa Park!! If I do see one, I will see if he can spot me a tenner.
Another bit of feedback asking if Villa were looking at the possibility of an iphone app (whatever that is!) GK said Bearvill: We are currently looking at the iPhone app.
Phew, not sure I can live without one, does it go with chips?
Asked if he can make the semi he said: I am still waiting to see what the doctors have to say but I absolutely want to be there!!!
He was also asked following MON comments on a lack of transfers and replied 1. mackaavfc: Obviously I am not going to comment on whether or not money is available. What I will say is that the Manager has good visibility over who might be available and who would help us and if no one pops up in those two categories, I would imagine he would not want to spend. MON has done a superb job to date...let's just let him continue on.
Tickets for Villa v Blackburn Here is the status of the Blackburn tickets: 37,803 sold as of today...with 2k estimated away fans. The away fans will be located in the North Stand upper only. Upper P Block will be released today for HOME fans. We sold 742 tickets yesterday. We expect about 40k at the game. There are tickets available...the more that come, the better. I'm told that tickets are selling fast, so get in quickly, you can't miss this one can you?
Self explanatory reply: 4. James06: You really know how to hit my nerve...'is the honeymoon period over?' Do you really believe that our actions over the past years are aimed at having some sort of 'honeymoon period'? Give me a break. As for the time getting away from the grounds...nothing has changed from the way we have conducted ourselves in that area. We continue to meet with the local constabulary...we update them as to numbers, etc. We seek their help to move traffic BUT, we are NOT accountable to how they do their jobs. We cannot hire more police nor can we make them change the timing of lights, etc. etc. Blaming the Club for traffic control is a bit much. I will see what the situation is re. the big screens and the screens inside the grounds...but I would bet a bottom dollar that the screens continue to show some of sky sports...but I will check. Just please don't go around with the 'honeymoon' analogy...certainly not after the effort we have taken to respond to the fans and to make things better, overall, for the Club.
James06 replied: 'I appreciate the McGregor Statue, The Holte Suite, Sky Box, Trinity Road Stand suite and Aston Hall and Park updates, plus obviously investments to the playing staff, all in recent times. Fair's fair, I feedback to you my appreciation for all this. But the abandonment of on pitch entertainment this season, the big screens, and increased delays in getting away from VP after a game are matters I have noticed also and thought you would be interested to hear of for the good of the club. The honeymoon period comment was uncalled for and I apologise. Maybe we have been spoilt up to now since Randy Lerner took over.'
On transfers and MON's comments: mackaavfc: Obviously I should not and will not comment on your question. I would guess that I read MON's comments a wee bit differently than you do. I read what I would expect from any manager of a Premiership team...or an NFL team or an NBA team or any other major league sports team. Show me a manager that would ever turn down money...or feel he has as much as he wants. Heck if I was a manager I would feel the same way. I did not read the comment as a finger pointed at Randy. Having watched the transfer windows over the past few years (certainly NO WHERE near the amount you all have) I have not noticed a lot of 20+ goal strikers available during the middle of the season (winter). I go back to what I have always said, we have great faith and trust in MON. He has done a fine job during other transfer windows and we absolutely have faith in his judgement. Again, who knows who will be available this winter and whether or not that person would fit into our Club. As we get close to transfer time, the media heats up, the rumors heat up, the fans heat up...we all know this and understand it. I am NOT in the transfer business and will not comment more on the subject.
I asked to pass on to MON that not all of us - as the Daily Mail report might have people believe - by or behind the dug out are heckling or against and in fact most of us go to SUPPORT the team, this following the spat between two fans and MON. GK confirmed The fear: I will pass on the applicable comments made.
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Date:Tuesday January 19 2010
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