Date: 23rd May 2010 at 5:55pm
Written by:

The last time we looked at General Krulak’s thread was here: GK part 9: Click Here and the forum where we last looked was page 16 – Click Here

donegalvillan said ‘Fantastic to see the Villa youngsters getting to the Youth Cup Final. Please pass on a great deal of praise to Tony McAndrew and the lads.
I’m looking at Aston Villa’s record this season – from to to bottom – FA Youth Cup Finalists, Reserve League Champions, FA Cup Semi’s, League Cup Finalists, Champs League contenders. I have not known this club to be in as great shape as this in a long, long, long time. We are getting there.

Please pass on thanks to Randy Lerner, Martin O’Neill and all the Staff for their fine work on behalf of our great club. We are making progress.’

GK donegalvillan: YOU said it 100% better than I could have done! Spot on!!

On the awful injury to Villa youngster Fabian Delph Obviously we are gutted about Delph and will be making sure that he gets the VERY BEST treatment available. He knows we all are pulling for him.

On groundsman Jonathan Calderwood winning the best PL pitch award:

1. We are all VERY proud of Jonathan and our Grounds. There is NO doubt that we have the finest grounds team and grounds in the UK…bar none. Jonathan is KEY to making that a reality. As I said, we are very proud of him.

There was a question on the loyalty points you earn and you can see if you login online to your booking account:

loyalty points: There will be an announcement re. loyalty points in the near future…explaining, in detail, what will be happening.

On sponsors: We will not have a new sponsor unless we get one at the right price. We will not sell the Villa Shirt for less than it is worth…those days are gone. and Yes, if we do not get the quality of sponsor we want and at the price we want, we will have Acorns.

There is no intent at the present time to seek a ‘mega-deal’ that would include a shirt sponsor and a stand sponsor. If such an opportunity came up, we would obviously look at it….but there is nothing like that on the horizon at this time. There will be some minor work on the North Stand that will smooth out a corner…but not cut seating, etc.

Different reactions to questions on the improvements at Villa and North Stand re-development:

When we work on the North Stand it will not be ‘doing up’ the existing stand…it will be a major overhaul. It will be spectacular.

The North Stand: It will not be just a small renovation…and not something like ‘closing in the corners.’ In fact, it will be a major renovation. At the same time, our ethos and traditions will play a big role in what we do. As an example, we do not like an ‘enclosed’ stadium…that is not traditional for English football. With that in mind, you can expect a separate stand.

North Stand renovation: The one thing I can tell you is that we will NOT have a ‘circular stadium’…nice and filled in and looking like some of the modern ‘bowls’ that are found in sports today. NO WAY!! That is not the Villa…that is not the English football tradition. We are not interested in looking like the Emirates or anything resembling that. We are the Villa…we are the ‘home’ of English football…not of the NFL.

A picture was posted on page 29 of the thread on the North Stand mock up, GK said:

First off, I am not at a point where I can confirm or deny the picture posted is what the stadium will look like…Randy will let all know when the time comes. What I will say is that the picture does NOT show the entire effort that will take place over the years at Villa Park…nor does it show any details of the sides of the stadium or what may or may not be in the stadium. My suggestion is to wait and let Randy roll out his vision for the stadium when he is ready to do so. I can PROMISE you, everyone will like it except for the 10% who don’t like anything and that are found in every enterprise around the world.

On the kit: The new kit will be out about the same time as last year.

A mix from questions about players outgoing, finances available, whether we are a selling club etc. Yes, yes, I try to stop too much player talk but when did anyone ever listen to me eh?!?!

As always, we need to be careful about what we see in the news. As you can imagine, we do NOT view our Club as a feeder for some other Club. We have good lads and we are not going to get wrapped up in the media frenzy over who is going where, etc. etc. Let’s be realistic, the season isn’t over…we have the World Cup to go (which will alter the trading landscape) and many other things that will come over the horizon before any real decisions are made by any Club. Like you, I am amused by the speculation of ‘value’ made by some journalist sitting in a cubicle.

According to our Ticketing folks, our average attendance has not ‘fallen for the 2nd season running’. In fact, it has increased. The only area we have seen a decrease is in away fans coming to Villa Park…which is down about 1000…due, primarily, to the economy. We have seen an increase in season ticket sales. I am not sure who you are paraphrasing when you indicate that ‘you were not worried about people giving up their season tickets as others will be falling over themselves to grab them.’ You certainly never saw me say that. We don’t want anyone to give up their season tickets…and when they do, it is a sad time for the Club and for the fan base. Season ticket sales for 2010-2011 are slightly ahead of plan right now. There are those who remember the concern of obtaining tickets to Wembley…there are those who do feel we are making progress…there are those who do believe in ‘Proud History, Bright Future…and they are buying season tickets. There are others who feel that this season has not be successful and not entertaining…and they are not renewing…EROD and Wicked Messenger are two in that category. We are very sorry to see them go and I have said that. At the same time, you ask if I am getting ‘a little concerned.’ Simply put, Randy, the Board, and our Manager are doing the best we can to build a Club that ALL fans can be proud of. This doesn’t happen overnight and it must be done in a holistic manner. We are trying to do just that. Some fans recognize this as a fact and others don’t. We are doing what we feel is best for the Club in the long run.

Obviously I am not going to comment on what Randy and Martin discussed during their many meetings. What I do feel is important is that both Randy and MON committed to reaching the goal of Europe and consistent, quality, football. Both made that very clear. Randy was clear that his ambition has not diminished in this area and so did MON. Randy also was clear that he was willing to spend this summer.
He did not mention the North Stand renovation because he was not asked about it….and that was not really what the press conference was all about. I think it is important to realize that both Randy and MON watched the same games we all watched.

Obviously the Club has increased in value over the past few years but I do not see Randy selling. As he mentioned at his news conference, he is in this for the long haul…he loves the Club and wants to see it succeed. You mention super spending owners or ‘sugar daddies’ making the fans happy and ensuring a payoff for Randy….not sure that thought process encompasses all it means to be an owner of a Club. I think we have seen the damage that can be done by owners who think that the game of football and the ownership of a Club is solely what happens on the Pitch. Believe me, it is much more than just what happens on the Pitch. A Club is almost a living entity…it has a history, a present day and a future. It is about the traditions of the Club, the relationship of the Fans to the Club, the ambitions of the Club, the community spirit of the Club, etc. etc. YES, winning plays a HUGE part, but not the ONLY part. People complain about the ticket prices at Villa Park…but check out the prices for those Clubs who have the ‘sugar daddies.’ Simply put, there is much that goes into having a ‘successful’ Club.

Not sure I agree with you that only with ‘serious amounts of cash investment’ will we make the Champions League. I believe that a well run Club with the type of investment that Randy has demonstrated can and will make it. I guess it is a case of faith.

If you look at Randy’s spend over the time he has had the Club, you can see that he is consistent and measured in his approach. You may not like it…you may not agree with it…you may not think it will get us to our goal BUT, we do. Let’s just watch all these teams who are spending the millions of pounds and see what results they get and how long that spend will last. Let’s see what spending on players w/o spending on infrastructure too, does for the longevity of a Club. The key is not what a Club is willing to spend in one or two years…it is what they are willing to spend over the long haul and the end results over the years.

You are correct, time will tell. We honestly feel that to have a quality Club over the long haul, you need to get everything clicking…it is more than just getting the players. It is the infrastructure to support those players…the training facility, medical, legal, etc. plus the stadium, sales and marketing, etc. etc. Without the infrastructure, some of those Clubs who are spending big now will slowly stop because of lack of overall progress.

On whether we have to sell to buy:

Sell to buy: EVERY team in every league ‘sells to buy.’ This is NOTHING new. We have been doing it since we arrived. I would venture to say that EVERY fan has there own view of who we should sell and who we should buy. This is one of those ‘sayings’ that just winds people up….but is the way of life in all sports. It is done in Europe, the USA and South America.