UK time is: 12:18:52
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Can Sustainability Be Sustained?!



Sustainability has been in the news on and off for some time. The revelation that the UK's global ecological footprint is still several times that which is sustainable is a shocker for me, though pretty well every other country has also crossed that threshold now, and the USA's standing is far worse. Unfortunately it is unlikely to be an issue that the major parties will campaign on in next year's general election.

But Randy Lerner had sustainability in mind when he pulled the trigger some four years ago to send Villa shooting for an austerity drive. But from that point it was the only kind of shooting we saw: play has mostly been a yawn since then, and we've said that pretty often on this blog. And I sent a letter to Randy in May encapsulating that as the main objection to his reign at Villa Park while praising him in other respects, countersigned by nearly 100 brave people. The club acknowledged the letter as 'noted' though I doubt Randy himself read the letter.

What has happened now is that the doors have been shut on me down at the Villa store and the club refuse to answer my e-mails. Not totally unexpectedly some might say but, in other words, Villa are no longer going to sell my books. Now this is a pity as over the last two years the club has sold 274 copies of my main book The First Superclub - out of a total of nearly 600 sold - and has thus earned 3,000 gross profit on those sales. Not that such a sum is what keeps the club going, but it's about equivalent to the income from five season tickets. When you add the fact that my website has also induced overseas Villa supporters to order other stuff from Villa Park and not just my books, then I see Villa's action against me as doing nothing more than spiting their own nose.

Another function of my books, of course, (and one that is at least equally important) is in promoting the image of the club. The fans tell me as such - so again the club is working against itself. Is there anyone else who has researched the club as extensively as myself? It would seem not, as my time at the British Library unveiled far more than can be found locally, apart from statistics. Finds included the identification of the true founders of the club.

I don't pretend to be the only capable Villa historian, but I suggest that I have done enough to warrant better consideration by the club.

But I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by the club's action. They wanted me there as Club Historian after 12 months working at VP on contract and then chose to sack me early in 2010 over a comparatively trivial issue, just at the time that Paul Faulkner was making his mark: he was appointed CEO at the end of that season.

I've always thought it highly strange that after being involved in advanced talks about creating a museum in late 2009 it was so soon followed by my sacking. In the light of that it's not too strange that a museum has never seen the light of day, in any permanent or semi-permanent form. Sadly in some ways, I convincingly won my case in the employment tribunal with the club since finding ways to be petulant, including the act of refusing to let me attend Villa Park to participate in a BBC TV item last year. This was despite the fact that they admitted I was the most expert on the topic at hand.

So much for having supported (and loved) the club for over 60 years as a third-generation supporter.

But coming back to the topic of sustainability, the club may be under new ownership before too long and I am also taking off in a new direction. My lifelong deep interest in history of all kinds is next month going to be enhanced by my doing an advanced course through Oxford University. When that is over (in 12 months) I will then be looking at other fields of history in which to work and I fancy that will be going further into the realm of political/spiritual studies, a subject area that is also close to my heart. Having now passed 70 y.o.a. I still possess some sense of life after Aston Villa!

I will soon have far less time to devote to Aston Villa matters. Nevertheless, I have just now published another (yet small) book entitled Aston Villa In A Nutshell. It's only 7, with discounts for multiple purchases. Please see: www.lerwill-life.org.uk/astonvilla/nutshell

It's a very handy jacket-pocket size and it is lightweight: light enough to take to the match! It celebrates the 140th birthday of the club.

As the club are not going to be selling this book, I would be very grateful for your support through my webpage. Soccer Books are also selling it.

But whatever the club's management do to me, I still say UTV!
The Journalist

Writer: John Lerwill Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 4 2014

Time: 1:44PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Good read... Good luck with the new research and book. The club are on a really slipper slope right now and I can see them losing the faith of even more supporters with the way things are going. Just your experience shows how out of touch they are.
johnnyuk
Report Abuse
04/08/2014 16:32:00

Respect to you for that last sentence. The way you've been treated you could be forgiven for thinking differently. I will always remain a villa fan in some way, but have never felt so disengaged. In fairness that applies to football in general not just villa but to put it bluntly I simply can't be arsed with it.
lurman
Report Abuse
04/08/2014 17:42:00

Cheers fellers. When I think of Villa I think of people like Ramsay, Hunter, McGregor, Rinder and even of Buck Chinn and Jon Fear. People who have/had the real spark inside 'em.
the_lergy
Report Abuse
04/08/2014 18:40:00

They have a saying in Ireland that could have been made for your difficulties " F**k the begrudgers", Chin up.
Oscararc
Report Abuse
05/08/2014 10:55:00

 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. The Fear 1096
2. ClivetheVillan 764
3. Freeman14 679
4. Pride of Lions 679
5. Villan57 437
6. thefacehead 326
7. sirdennis 322
8. kefkat 316
9. CDX_EIRE 293
10. DeanoVilla 260

League Results (view all)

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
12. Everton 22 5 8 9 -4 23
13. Crystal Palace 22 5 8 9 -8 23
14. WBA 22 5 7 10 -9 22
15. Aston Villa 22 5 7 10 -14 22
16. Sunderland 22 3 11 8 -14 20
17. Burnley 22 4 8 10 -15 20
18. Hull City 22 4 7 11 -10 19

Breaking League News

Liverpool: FA Cup Games Live On TV
Liverpool : 29/01/2015 11:09:00
Wenger Highlights Gabriel's Qualities
Arsenal : 29/01/2015 10:32:00
Qatar hospitality was phenomenal
Everton : 29/01/2015 10:00:00
Ospina Enjoying Life At Arsenal
Arsenal : 29/01/2015 09:53:00
The Ox: Arsenal Are In a Good Place
Arsenal : 29/01/2015 09:34:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Vital Villa January Player Of The Month
Suggested By:  JP Fear
Guzan 10%
Clark 10%
Baker 0%
Okore 50%
Cissokho 0%
Hutton 5%
Sanchez 15%
Westwood 0%
Gil 8%
Delph 2%
Cleverley 0%
Benteke 0%
Weimann 0%
Gabby 0%