Right then. On Thursday, I had a long, tiring day. I contemplated not going to the AGM, but in the end, I decided I wanted to go, just to see if I could get a glimpse of something, a crumb of comfort, anything to make me believe that Aston Villa still had some fight in it. I expected to be disappointed, but the optimist in me - the part of me that believes I'm going to win the lottery every week! - has a louder voice in my head than it should.
Sadly, I was left as disappointed as I, frankly, expected to be.
I'll be honest, I had an element of sympathy for Fox and Hollis, in as much as there were some people that were clearly just there to have the opposing view to everything they said. At times, I saw people in the room shaking their heads in disagreement before the men had made their point. I found that odd and disappointing. Even if you don't have faith in these people, at least let them make their point and have a listen before you start to disagree, surely?
That said, things may just be too far gone for some people.
For example, everything Tom Fox said sounded like a politician, deflecting and referring to the smallest of victories. I admit, a year ago, I fell for his act. But that quickly changed, and he has a long way to go to prove to me that he has any more substance to him than just being a slick talker who understands corporate finance more than the average person does.
As for Hollis, he admits he doesn't understand football. I may be in the minority here, but for a chairman, that doesn't overly bother me. It's hard to say too much about him at this stage; he has barely been here for a cup of coffee, and there is nothing to base much of an opinion on him.
People are making a BIG deal about him calling us 'customers'. I dunno man, maybe it's just me but I don't really see why that's any sort of issue. When people are indignant about things that happen at Villa, they often refer to themselves as 'customers'. So, y'know, what's the drama?
Here's the thing though; in terms of him being a non-football person, that isn't a problem for me as a chairman, but it does feel like they could benefit with someone on the board that has been in the game, even if it's just a consultancy relationship. Hollis asked what benefit a football man on the board would be - I believe he was genuinely asking why people thought it would help.
Well, for instance, no-one other than Sir Alex Ferguson and Alex McLeish would have thought McLeish would be a good appointment for Villa. No-one was surprised at how badly things went. It wouldn't have taken much of a consultant to have avoided that utter disgrace from ever occurring. Of course that is the most extreme case, but hell, if they can get something *that* obvious *that* wrong, then it makes you wonder how little they understand in the day-to-day business of football. Especially when you consider that Tom Fox once said that Arsenal don't need to win a game, it's all about the brand...
There was an incident where Stan Collymore's name came up, and was met with laughter and/or disdain by the majority of people. I only mention it as I gather the prat has gone and wrote a letter to the fans or something. I don't care and will never read anything by him if I can help it, but for those of you that want to acknowledge the existence of this utter cretin, yeah, that brief moment happened. I did see something about Mat Kendrick defending him. Oh well, there goes the last bit of respect I had for anyone at the Mail. (Please note - that is my opinion, not necessarily the opinion of CABA!)
Another thing that people were talking about on Twitter was that Remi Garde is angry, or something. I heard nothing about that myself. Literally nothing, and as I was waiting for a lift outside the ground for about half an hour, I spoke to quite a few people.
On the subject of Garde, there was quite the split opinion on him. Some people clearly don't want him. Some people are - for reasons that are simply unfathomable to me - still up Sherwood's backside. Mind you, there are a fair few Villa fans who like Collymore, and they mostly seem to be the same gang that still love Sherwood, so, yeah...
Me personally, I'm very much 'Team Remi', but it is what it is, people will have differing viewpoints, and in all honesty, until things start looking up, Remi Garde will be seen by some as the bad guy.
So, why was I so disappointed? Honestly, the main reason was that I just got the sense that Aston Villa Football Club have accepted relegation, and aren't willing to do anything about it. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Pete Colley will be the face of transfer deadline day. Maybe we don't need reinforcements. Maybe our Mission Impossible will make Leicester's achievements of last season look like a boring non-story. Ultimately though, it feels like we've accepted our plight, we have no interest in putting up a fight, and we're just looking at the Championship. Some will say that is sensible. Some, including me I guess, don't see us staying up. But, really, if the club aren't interested in fighting, then we won't, will we?
Okay, people may say that's an overreaction. People might read the transcript and say it wasn't that bad. But if you think that reading a transcript is the same as getting the proper sense of being in the room, I can't really have a serious conversation with you on the subject.
Ultimately, I think the most disappointing thing for me - and some people will call me an idiot for this - was that they couldn't take any more questions (despite there being lots more questions) because they had to be elsewhere.
That's just BS.
If you are at an AGM and are asking questions from the fans at one of the absolute worst times in this clubs entire history, I don't think it's too much to ask that you keep your damn evening free. Sure, it's unpleasant for you, but hey, this is happening on your damn watch. Maybe there are mitigating circumstances, but to me, they had enough notice and should have made sure they were not leaving early. Some of you will see this as overreacting, but to me, it's the symbolism of it that got to me so much. The club is rotten, and it could not care less about its supporters, customers, whatever else you want to call us.
So, in a nutshell, some people are suicidal after the AGM. Not me, I always like to see look at the shades of grey rather than looking at everything in black and white. Much like a match day, I find extreme opinions in either direction to be a bit strange, and I am often floating around in the middle of viewpoints.
But I do feel like all my worst fears about Villa have been confirmed. Therefore, Remi Garde is pretty much in the Obi Wan Kenobi role right about now; he's my only hope!
Sorry for not going in-depth about questions and answers, but the transcript is out there and if I am being honest, it felt like the same long answers were given to pretty much all the questions. It's money; it's 'we weren't here then'; it's 'you're wrong, it's not that bad'; it's, "sure, but HERE is what we have done well..." and so on.
Which means that sadly, when it came to their answers, it's not often that so many words can seemingly mean so little. I hope I'm wrong. Past form of Aston Villa suggests that I won't be, but I really, really do hope that I am - believe me, I'll take that humble pie all day long.
So there we go. It wasn't as bad as some people were making out, but that being said, I can't deny that I left Villa Park feeling like the fight is gone, at best until May. I repeat - I absolutely hope I am wrong.
I can forgive the fans for accepting relegation. I am not asking the board to go on an insane spending spree, but I can't forgive not even trying.
It's never easy or simple, is it?
Up the Villa, and all that.
If the white flag is already flying over the boardroom at Villa Park, then it speaks volumes about why we're in our current dire straits.
Talking about "Dire Straits", if you change the second line of the chorus in their major hit "Money for Nothing" to "you buy a club in the Premier League" instead of "you play the guitar on the MTV", it could well be what Randy and co thought owning and running AVFC was all about.
I'm with you guys on the board having apparently given up, or tactically treading water until the inevitable happens, fair enough. I too just don't see them as the guys to turn it round. They need to convince me they have what it takes, as of yet, I'm not convinced. No it's not all on Fox, but we need to see some real smart plays now by this board. I hear we have another board member coming in and the name Mervyn King keeps being whispered. Another without specific football knowledge, but at least a fan of football and will see it from a supporters perspective (if it were to be true) but it's just hearsay at the moment..
GadgetMan wrote:I hear we have another board member coming in and the name Mervyn King keeps being whispered. Another without specific football knowledge, but at least a fan of football and will see it from a supporters perspective (if it were to be true) but it's just hearsay at the moment..
I made the point on one of the other threads that whilst we need a football man on the board I'm not sure how easy it would be to find the guy with the depth of knowledge that we need. Any old ex-player, retired manager or administrator probably won't have much of an impact or the knowledge we need. Based on what Kimbo says about how it seemed Hollis was genuinely unsure about the issue and appeared to be asking the audience for their views my confidence is far from inspired. As for King, the only reason to bring more business people on board is if the current ones are out of their depth in dealing with our off-field problems. If that isn't the case, we're giving salaries and fees (I'm sure none of them will be in it for free) to them for very little gain.