Villa score more PR own goals per season than they do actual goals. You can quote me on that, because I'm not the chairman of a Villa Lions Supporters Club and am therefore still entitled to speak freely on such matters.
Of course, there are boundaries that fans in a position of power can be reasonably encouraged not to cross. Nobody wants to see Aston Villa tarnished by racism or sexism. But seriously, who on earth is able to become chairman of a supporters club without the most basic common sense to avoid such topics? The rest of the charter contains rules that simply aren't necessary or beneficial to the club. It is completely condescending to grown men, experienced Villa fans that I'm sure understand much more about the fabric and ethos of the club than anyone currently running it.
Point 14. "The Chairperson MUST keep in regular contact with the Supporters Club Coordinator and must treat him with respect and courtesy, and without harassment at all times."
MUST they now? Oh ok. Are they actually your employees? Or are they just regular people that love the club and volunteer their free time to actively promote the Villa image wherever possible?
Point 4 'imposes a ban on selling or distributing home and away tickets to anyone who is not a member of the corresponding supporters club'.
Now how is that productive? We want a full stadium, we want as many Villa fans to support the team and experience the Villa Park atmosphere as possible. This point seems in total contradiction with...
Point 18: "Above all, you will work hard to grow the fan base in your geographic area and behave in a way that upholds the values, integrity and good reputation of Aston Villa Football Club."
Aside from the ridiculous notion that the club can tell the Chairman of a supporters club how to "behave", how are you supposed to grow the fanbase if you remain insular and can't provide tickets for potential new members?
Point 7 really is the pièce de résistance: "You will not partake in any abusive conversations towards anyone associated with the Club in any public forum, whether this is on a page that is personal to you and bears your name, OR on a page that bears the name of your Lions Club (including social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc)."
No criticism. Your internet personality is now under the control of Aston Villa Football Club and they demand that you be nice about it. Last season Villa accomplished the worst home record in their 140 year history and statistically the worst campaign in many of our lives (certainly mine). Do they honestly have the cheek to restrict the conversation of fans that are exasperated by the club's appalling position?
Villa are becoming more easily associated with Nineteen Eighty-Four than 1982 these days. Why, for the love of McGrath, must we always make things more difficult than they need to be? Why can't common sense prevail? Stop treating influential fans like petulant children, start providing them with more reason to be hopeful about the future. Give them more reasons to praise the club. Don't set a bunch of overbearing rules and then expect them to continue to sing the club's praises. That is not how the world works.