Date: 20th October 2015 at 3:46pm
Written by:

Stan Collymore has come off the fence when it comes to Aston Villa and the way we are run today.

An avid user of social media – Collymore that is, not me – he has released the following today, describing our board and recruitment department as ‘not fit for purpose.’

I’m not going to really babble myself here as there’s not much to add, it’s pretty much what people have been saying for a long time, but few will miss the timing of the outburst – he explains the reason himself – fewer may notice Collymore has been tweeting a run of ‘owner’ discussions at the moment which is even more convenient and even fewer may hold stock in the simple call for Randy Lerner to sell given we are actually for sale.

There’s lots more, but people can find those themselves and smile.

I find myself agreeing with Stan as often as I shake my head when he pens a sensationalist piece designed to attract callers or wildly contradicts himself within the space of a tweet and five minutes when he finds a new bandwagon to air his views on – for me this one ticks all of the boxes and then some, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

The salient point about the future of the club and where we find ourselves, I doubt anybody – motives aside – can disagree with though.

‘After 6 years of doing an official Aston Villa programme column, today I’ve been notified by the club that they no longer wish me to continue due to my support of Tim Sherwood and fierce criticism of the ownership and club structure.

‘The club felt is essence that it would be inappropriate for me to write positively in a column whilst being critical on air or in a newspaper.

‘The column I have written for 6 years was at no charge to Aston Villa, but the club kindly gave me 4 or 5 tickets a season for games. I’ve asked for two which the club kindly have given for the Swansea game.

‘I am firstly a broadcaster, and a broadcaster who treats every club in the country the same. So if ownership is letting fans down, as proven last night on perhaps the only football show in the country which actually addresses issues rather than ignore them or pretend they don’t exist, we debate them and criticise or praise where necessary.

‘This has and always must be my objective as a broadcaster, to treat Aston Villa the same as any club. I do and I will.

‘On the watch of Mr Lerner, and laterly Tom Fox as Chief Executive, and Paul Faulkner before him, the club I have supported since childhood have become the laughing stock of the Premier League. This, Englands 4th most successful football club.

‘So do I pretend on sir everything is great? Or do I broadcast justifiable criticism alongside one of the best in the business, Mark Saggers, echoing the concerns of a huge fanbase, as they come to terms with a 6th year of complete and utter dross on the pitch, and ineptitude of the highest order off it?

‘I met Tom Fox in the summer and said to his face that I wanted to do anything, anything to help my club moving forward. Get on a plane, train, in a car, watch players, report back, anything to help my club.

‘A smile , a coffee and a patronising ‘ we’ll call you’ cane and went. At the same time Aston Villa were employing a marketing man, that’s a marketing man as Director of Football. And we wonder why we are in the mess we are in. Industry professionals ignored when offering help, a man who can put a glossy Arsenal pitch together made Director of Football at my club.

‘The line is drawn now for me. It took an embarrassed Rob Bishop, programme editor and friend for over 18 years to tell me over the phone that my column had ended ‘for now’, but in reality for good.

‘I believe this treatment is symptomatic of how Villa fans generally are treated by the current owner , with disdain.

‘I will now join fan groups and individuals actively looking to other potential owners to come in swiftly and hasten change at Aston Villa Football Club.

‘Mr Lerner, Tom a Fox, the current Director of Football and technical staff are not fit for purpose. They all should go, now.

‘As for Tim Sherwood, he gets my unequivocal support and should get the same from every Villa fan. He really could have had no idea what mess he was coming into or some of the najor decisions that he would have no hand in. An incredibly tough job.

‘I’ll walk into Villa Park soon with chest puffed out as a fan or broadcaster. It’s my club and I was here before this current ownership, firstly in the Doug Ellis stand aged 6, then on the pitch aged 27, then in the broadcast booth aged 35. I’m going nowhere.

‘Our great club will be back, but only with new ownership. So please Mr Lerner, instead of petty sackings of columnists who tell the truth about our club, please sell up and go.

Stan Collymore.’

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