Villans preaching to the choir on this one.
For those not in the know, Aston Villa supporters are said to be planning an eight minute protest during this weekend’s home game against Liverpool to show chairman Randy Lerner that they have had enough of his half-baked stewardship and that they want him to go.
However, this he probably already knows. So much so that he himself doesn’t want to be there and has been looking to sell ever since thee summer.
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Villa fans are currently suffering through a strange season. Some how enduring several simultaneous winless/goalless/unbeaten streaks – it’s hard to know whether they’re overachieving or not.
Understandably, this has been frustrating for all involved. Anger at manager Paul Lambert has reached its peak and those who began to have doubts about him around the time the side crashed out of two cup competitions to Bradford and Millwall in 2013 have now turned on him in full force.
So much so that talk of a planned protest against him and Lerner is gathering pace in the Midlands.
“We believe there is no better way of showing the board how we feel than having an empty Holte End for the first eight minutes of the Liverpool match this weekend, one for the past eight seasons under the current regime. After the eight minutes then take your seat and support the team fully for the remaining 82 minutes, a number synonymous with Villa’s finest hour.” – #WewantourVillaBack says a statement led by three prominent Villa blogs.
But with Lerner actually wanting to leave, is there much point in protesting his extraction, and with Paul Lambert seemingly bullet proof from being fired (Lambert signed a new four-year deal back in September) it seems that there is scant that supporters can do.
Somebody must have told Randy Lerner that he can make money owning a football club. They lied. Having paid just £62m for the club from ‘Deadly’ Doug Ellis in 2006, he is now looking to make an astonishing profit by placing the club back up for sale at around £200m.
Lerner may have made some improvements during his time in control of the Birmingham giants – namely the state of the art training facility in Bodymoor Heath, the restoration of the Holte Hotel and the acquisition of some land close to the ground – but £200 for a club that is nowhere near where it should be. That’s just being greedy.
There’s always a worry that match day protests will have a negative effect on the actual players. It puts them in an awkward position that perhaps not all of them understand, and even if they did they wouldn’t be able to comment either way.
Villa host Liverpool this weekend, a team with a comically poor defence and a dark cloud hanging over it after Steven Gerrard’s recent announcement. With a new signing in tow – the slight, but highly rated Carles Gil, Villa could have a big missing puzzle piece to help them rediscover their scoring touch.
That, coupled with Villa’s new found ability to pressure teams from the go whilst not over exerting themselves by keeping the ball, they have a very good chance to inject some morale back into the club.
Protesting by hiding in the concourses for eight minutes at the start of the game will only serve to detract from the Villa Park atmosphere when the team needs it the most.
Chances are there won’t be the kind of numbers in support of the movement that they are hoping for, it could end up being a little embarrassing.
By all means, they have the right to protest, but they should think about keeping it away from the match. Players and fans feed off each other, having little or negative feeling coming from the stands won’t help anybody.