Two days ago, I wrote about the Aston Villa Supporters' Trust failing to earn our trust through their lack of action and communication. I stand by everything I said in that article, but I'm happy to report that some changes already seem to be afoot, and they certainly bode well for the future of the AVST.
On the public front, AVST have released a statement about the takeover of the club by Tony Xia. In it they said "We have been trying to find out as much as we can about the owner before commenting but there is very little concrete information to hand... For now though, we look on with cautious optimism and wait to see what the new owners are made of."
They have also asked our own James Rushton to help with their website, the result of which has already included one posting about what the group is doing and a fix of the most persistent typo of all time (they've now helped create a War Memorial plaque!). James has been trying to volunteer for months, but kept getting pushed aside, so I'm glad that they've finally realized that he is eager, willing, and able to help.
And finally, within hours of my story being published, I heard from AVST director Howard Hodgson. He confirmed something that I strongly suspected: while I think that AVST has down a lousy job lately, there are people within the organization working to change it. Howard is a regular voice in print, radio, and television media representing the AVST. I had no idea of this, though, as the AVST never publicizes it (something that Howard has admitted and hopes to see changed). From my exchanges with Howard, if the AVST were to begin listening to him and acting the way he talks, I think we'd all be happy with what the organization is.
At the heart of the matter, that's all I want. I called for the AVST to be disbanded and replaced with something new, but I'd rather see the AVST succeed. We're headed into some rough waters, as is true with any ownership transition. The AVST have the power to be our voice, and if they can do that ably, it would be a massive service. I would love nothing more than to be able to write an article that says "they're mostly fixed and I'm returning to being a paid member." Because if I do that, it means that we might actually have a loud, clear-headed voice for our benefit.
A few emails and posts do not change the larger, fundamental issues at hand with the AVST, but they encourage me that the change can happen. And so, in their words, I "look on with cautious optimism."
For a hint of the sort of work Howard Hodgson is doing, please follow him on twitter and give a watch to this interview that he conducted about the sale of the club. No matter my larger issues with the organization, the past two days have convinced me that Howard genuinely wants this change to happen, and the more we support him and his vision, the more likely it is to occur.