Let me get this out, right away; this post isn't a form of endorsement and I'm writing that because I didn't really promote the McLeish Out protests that happened recently. Let me also get this right out of the way; how they plan on going about this, is the right way. To start anyway and that is why I'm posting this today.
I'm also going to be a little critical of Villa Fans United today and Ryan, the guy that set it all up, knows this is coming and I like that. His response to me before I put this up, warning him that I would be critical if I did, was "people can make there own minds up".
I liked the response, because to me, the mission was more important than him getting a bit of criticism from me - call it constructive if you want, but and again Ryan knows my view on this, as it stands today, this group (not my word) is doomed to failure, but they are so close.
Everything is in a name and they've picked the wrong one to start with, but maybe, with a little hope and direction and an open and transparent discussion, it can be the right one. But as things stand today - I think the whole thing is doomed to failure, for one very simple reason and I'll get to that later.
The name is important
We had a group once called Villa Fans Combined and they had the name right. Villa Fans United is a little too far fetched, but there is hope and I know this because I'm an Aston Villa fan.
The press and media do not know however and that is why this name might scare the likes of Paul Faulkner and Randy Lerner - because this name, to the media and those not directly linked with Aston Villa, suggests that Aston Villa fans, are actually, united. It is all in the suggestion and for our owner, it is all about PR, suggestion and stringing along.
Which is why Villa Fans United wrote to Paul Faulkner and why he has now offered them a meeting. I think he wants to nip this in the bud and appease them with words, but this is doomed to failure. But again, more on that in a minute, because now we need to focus on the plan Villa Fans United have.
The not so secret plan
I'm not going to copy and paste exactly everything Ryan sent me - instead I'm going to bullet point it. This makes it easier all round and all I'm doing is making a very long email, much shorter. So here is the goal and the plan, as I interpreted it and Ryan you are free to let me know if I've missed something and I will add it if I have, but only if when I go back to the email, I see it. And more about Ryan at the end of the post.
- The aim of Villa Fans United is to have Alex McLeish sacked
- Reduce revenue streams into the club by writing to sponsors, corporate partners and asking supporters to not go to home games
- Ask Villa fans to not buy club merchandise
- Ask Villa fans to not immediately renew season tickets
- Spread the news through as much media coverage as they can get
First and why this isn't an endorsement or a call to arms and why I think it is doomed to failure in it's current form: it is inevitable that Alex McLeish will be gone soon enough and if it is only just about Alex McLeish, it is a waste of effort and going to all this trouble just for him, isn't actually worth it.
Let me explain why. The football we are getting served up is the same football he served up at his last club. From what I've read and been told, it is pretty much the same football he served up in Scotland too. So, from that, I can deduce that he isn't going to change.
And from that, if he isn't or can't change, I have come to the conclusion that his time at Aston Villa will not last much longer, so why bother with doing anything to hinder revenue streams into the club, because the effect will only impact the next man. Talking of the next man, what happens if it is Sam Allardyce and we get stuck with long ball football - do we go through this all again? Do you see where I'm going?
So, if the plan is to remove Alex McLeish - they have already won because as sure as the sun setting tonight, he will be gone soon enough, because he simply isn't good enough and if I'm wrong - fantastic. I'd love to be proven wrong and I've said that since day one.
A meeting with Paul Faulkner
But, they have a meeting with Paul Faulkner on the table and they're understandably quite proud of that, much like they are proud that former manager John Gregory ReTweeted something about Villa fans uniting. What they failed to mention was that John Gregory also ReTweeted that Villa fans shouldn't protest.
But, Faulkner isn't going to roll over and have his tummy tickled. He isn't going to sack Alex McLeish after a meeting. His aim is to appease Ryan and to halt him in his path, because Ryan has done something that is absolutely perfect; he has mentioned money and threatened to do as much as he can to disrupt the flow of money.
If there is one thing Randy Lerner craves more than anything, it is money. He might tell you about his love for the club, or his passion, but that is PR to make you feel happy about having him as an owner. No, the one thing the club can not have is a group of supporters, claiming to be united, getting national exposure in the press, threatening to boycott companies associated with the club and not spending their money on merchandise or tickets to a game.
But as things stand today, there is little threat. They have 272 Twitter followers and 144 Facebook likes. They will need a lot more to make things happen, but that could come, with the right exposure and if just one national newspaper bites.
And that is what scares Faulkner and that is why he has offered the meeting. This is just my opinion, I could be wrong, but I can't see why he would arrange a meeting other than to calm things down, because there is a real threat.
So - the plan is to get McLeish sacked and that is great. He has to go. But it will happen. How they plan to do it though, is very interesting and if they change the aim, by aiming much higher and I don't mean getting rid of Lerner or Faulkner, but for for something meaningful and real and long lasting, then I'd support it and if the aim became something that actually meant something, more would follow.
I don't know what it is. I have my wish and that is to have true supporter representation at board level with someone that can not be bought and someone that has true footballing values and a long term aim, but I can't see that happening and you know what, if there were true long terms aims, they should be doing this already, but they are not.
So, if you like the plan - stop spending you money on anything remotely linked to Aston Villa, but if you get your wish we could end up with Sam Allardyce or someone worse than McLeish. Okay, that last part might not be possible, but you get my point and if you don't here it is; it isn't just about the manager. It is about Aston Villa. It is about football. It is about a real future and about values.
We have to stop chopping and changing managers and we need to do things the right way. We might have already started that, but the appointment of McLeish took us backwards. It did and there is nothing anyone can say or write to make me change my mind on that.
Villa Fans United
Find Villa Fans United on Twitter and Facebook. Follow or like. Get involved. Be open and transparent and when submitting an idea - think big and huge ideas, because we have to think big and huge. Behaviour breeds behaviour and if you think small you will get small.
And before I go, don't take this as anything negative on Villa Fans United. All that needs to happen is they add a number two. Number one is getting McLeish sacked, but there most be more aims and there must be open dialogue and there must be a bigger picture, but the way Ryan wants to go about it is the right way and he is very passionate, or appears to be, we've only exchanged emails.
And having passion is important when starting something like this because there is a helluva lot of work involved and it costs. Trust me, I know. If the focus more on what they want to achieve, then there is potential, but it really does mean Villa fans uniting and I'm not so sure I can see that happening sadly.