Yesterday, I received an email which has now become the 'big Villa news' of the day. Some other blogs such as MOMS, AVF and TVB have joined up after receiving this email, to create another 'Open Letter'. The general gist of it is that Villa fans will not enter their seats until after the 8th minute of gameplay during the coming Liverpool match in protest to Lerner's ownership and the bad football being played by the team. I've included the original email from the 'nameless hero' who decided to start this movement.
I would like to suggest a protest that all Villa fans can easily join in with, I am a long time reader of your website but I rarely (if ever) comment, however the current state of our club has driven me to share with you guys an idea me and my mates came up with after the Leicester debacle.
I would like to see a change in manager and I think another manager would do a better job. Certainly the players aren't playing for him and the football is dire beyond belief.But changing a manager will only paper over the cracks the real problem is Randy Lerner. My idea for protesting against both the current manager and the owner is to stay in the concourse for the first 8 minutes of the match. This represents the 8 years of Randy, the un-watchable football, and what the future holds if there is no change - both in terms of management and ownership (or at least investment).
I can't bring myself to stay away from Villa Park however for the first time in 5 years I missed a home cup game against Blackpool when I refused to go because the football is so bad. But I think that this is a protest that everyone can take part in and will make a big statement - if anyone is going to listen or anyone at the club cares is a different matter, but I care and my club is being destroyed by the manager and the chairman. For what it's worth I'm not a 'booer' and I will be 100% behind the team (unlike those who jump out of their seat and flap their arms around and shout at every missed placed pass/bad touch and then sit in silence the rest of the time) for the 82mins I'll be there, I just feel so helpless about the state of my club and I don't know what else to do about it.
I would like it if you didn't name me but if you think that this idea is any good and you would join in or promote it then please post it so more Villa fans can hear about it. I'm sending this message to all of the Villa sites I read regularly (and some I found on newsnow) and please feel free to pass it round to more if you agree.
Weird one this. I feel as though I've got a duty to type this up as an unbiased news post, but I've got so many feelings that I can't help but share on this issue. If you want to follow the protest and are going down to the game, you should stand on the concourse until the 8th minute has passed, then you should fully support the team. You should also share the letter I have posted above.
I've been writing a piece that should come out shortly, It's about why things could be so much worse for AVFC. Clubs like Cardiff, Blackpool, Newcastle and to a lesser extent Manchester City all have terrible ownership, Lerner has nothing on that. Not a spot. This is a man who paid a premium to get Villa into Euro competitions, a man who respected the history of Aston Villa by renovating the Holte Pub. Randy Lerner is not a villain, but a Villan. A Villan who is tired of owning the club and now wants to leave, he is trying to sell the club but no-one wants to buy. That means he isn't morally obligated to spend a penny on us, but he still has! Players have come in over the Summer and look to be coming in now. Lerner hired Tom Fox (who doesn't come cheap) to renovate the team and it's future. Lerner is looking to sell AVFC in the best state possible.
It's already a toxic environment at Villa. Lambert looks lost and bereft of confidence, the players seem unhappy because they can't score and morale between fans, players and management looks to be an all time low. A protest might create a terrible situation for the players because at the end of the day, I believe they are at-least trying to be the best they can be. Booing and protests won't change their mental state and will likely in-fact make it worse. Would you believe the rich men on the pitch who roll over at the faintest touch need to be molly coddled? Yes, yes they do. Tactics do not mean everything, for gods sake in the early days of Football they played a 2-1-8 formation and had the same results we have now! It's all about teamwork, chemistry, motivation and desire. Not one person can teach that.
I've been reading a lot of books about the history of Football and fans never came to see a team win. That was just a bonus to the fact they got to go down to Villa Park with their mates and get away from life. They got to talk, sing, cheer. Somehow, we lost our way, we booed bad players instead of encouraging them, we stopped singing when we went a goal down, we started focusing on results rather than the spectacle. We lost our way, globally, as football fans and it wasn't until I went to a Baseball game in New York that I realised this. The Mets were losing, but the fans just cracked open beers and talked. The game was the background to their social event and sporting spectacle.
It's been a tough few years, no-one can deny that. I support the protest, but I'm not sure that I support its reasons. I've been a paying fan and I've tried to spend every penny I earn on following the club and I fully recognise that paying fans of the club should have a voice, but when does that voice become a voice of reason rather than a voice of entitlement?