Date: 25th April 2007 at 1:01pm
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Villa’s Chief Executive Richard FitzGerald has been talking to the business editor John Duckers at the Post.

Richard has adding his backing to the campaign to get an extended runway at Birmingham International Airport and he also revealed ‘a major Asian airline was looking to partner with the club if the problem could be overcome.’

‘International companies require international facilities.’

When asked if the Emirates were the backers he refused to comment!

He called the Nike deal ‘huge’ for Villa and re-affirmed ‘We are going to build a club, not just chuck money around’ and also that the Champions League is very much the aim for this club.

‘This is a five to 10-year project. We believe that we would like to be competing for the Champions League within the next five years. I know that there has not been a lot of trophies – we need to get back to winning ways. Randy Lerner is very passionate about the ground, he is very passionate about the club, he loves the history and tradition.’

He also backed the manager and his signings: ‘Martin O’Neill is a winner. I think that everybody will see that he is one of the top European managers. John Carew is everything you would hope for. In Villa terms, he can become the next Peter Withe.’

And on the match day ‘experience’ he knows there is some way to go, ‘There is no easy fix to that – a full Villa Park is a fantastic experience. We have to continue to invest in Villa Park’s infrastructure.’

Such exciting times, so many changes going on and so much to look forward to! Should be a very enjoyable ride following our years of stagnation. I have been lucky enough to meet Richard FitzGerald for lunch and talk at some length and I have to say you can just feel the ambition at the club right now.

They are quite rightly setting the staff free to prove themselves and many are floating to the top now some of the deadwood and ‘jobs for the boys’ guys have left. What is also great is these people are good, honest, down to earth guys who have tremendous track records and are looking to remain at the club for the long term to put us back up to where Villa should rightly be!

Finally we are back in safe hands and pushing forwards.


18 Replies to “Richard FitzGerald On Villa Future”

  • 25 years on and they are parading the last European cup winners at Villa Park. 30 years on let’s hope the next European cup winners will be parading the cup around Villa Park!!

  • Earlier on this season I continually mentioned that everybody was pulling together except the supporters. Despite having a better season on the pitch and seeing all the foundation work being done by the new owners off the pitch, attendances will only finish slightly better than last season. It is up to supporters to pick up the baton now. It is more than overdue for us to be selling well in excess of 30,000 season tickets and filling VP every game. Time for excuses to stop.

  • This guy means business. I like his vision and strategy of the club. We are in a win win situation. With Randy and the rest of the board’s focus I can only see big things happening at Villa.

  • Regarding the Asian airline mentioned, I would not class Emirates as Asian. What about Cathay Pacific or Air India. All sounds very positive though.

  • Voice – bet you’ve been dyin’ to get that out:-) Feel any better? On a serious note though, many fans are finding footy expensive and with increased TV airtime and places to watch it, there is competition. To attract the stay-away-fans there has to be something more than hope. We haven’t been entertaining at home and some of the offering has been very frustrating. I have family who’ve been down but won’t return until the fayre improves. It’s the way it is! It ain’t cheap and people are more decerning.

  • But Voice, keep the faith because within 2 years we’ll sell the place out every week, guaranteed.

  • If you compare Villa to other clubs that have been bought this season, and you’ll probably find that despite having a mediocre (me being polite) season, we are starting to be noticed by other people in the media and Premier League. We seem to have the finance and the manager who can take us places now, we just have to see how things unfold. My biggest concern is that we have seen fans turn on MON this year, and I don’t know if that is right or wrong, but I worry that it’ll be us fans that may not give him 5 years.

  • Man City are hoping to be taken over by another American, if any of them are worried I have to say its a worthwhile experience.

  • Good to hear again all the positive stuff but 5-10 years seems an awful long time to wait for Euro competitive football returning to VP. A seaon ticket for Man Utd might be more in prospect for the Midland’s 18-25 year olds who just want to see top quality performances every week and the excitement of seeing the world’s best players. It will be interesting to see attendances for next season. Even with all the efforts put in this year, attendances, although 6% up on last year are still trailing the 2004/5 season. I’d be happier to hear what they were doing to attract more schoolkids to the home games every week rather than talking about airline sponsorships.

  • I’d just like to comment on some of the negativity on some of the other posts. I can’t understand why some people are so down at the mo. Sure we haven’t played as well as we would have hoped at times. I wonder if those that harbour some disillusion had realistic expectations to begin with. Most I am sure expected survival and a mid table finish. Some people are moaning about tactics – at least this season we actually have some. MON said play the ball on the ground to Carew – no long ball tactic. Next season should see the arrival of players that can do just that. This was always going to be a difficult season but look at where we were last year. We have had 25 years of under acheivement and its natural to suspect the arrival of a new dawn but lets get together behind the club and be patient.

  • I agree with you myleftfoot. And Gazvilla, looks like we will have to agree to disagree again. Newcrapstle, West Sham and Charlton all sell out every game. Would you rather be in their position? For years Villa supporters haved used the excuse of the previous Chairman and lack of ambition as the reason for non attendance. Well he has gone. We are showing ambition. We have the manager most clubs (and England) would love to have and our prices are amongst the best in the land. What you are saying is that when the glory days return, so will the fans. A bit hypocritical for us to accuse any other fans of gloryhunting when we are the biggest culprits. I do not believe there are any excuses. If there are other things that fans would rather do on matchday then that is their perogative. The most important part of any club is the supporters. Players/owners/managers/grounds, all come and go but supporters are for life. I understand that there are supporters who can not attend every game (finance, work, family, location etc) but any fan who would rather be in the garden, at Tesco’s, in Ikea or in the pub when the Villa are playing is just that …….. a fan ……. not a supporter. Any person who chooses to spend £30 in the pub watching the Villa play at home is actually supporting the pub not the Villa. Unfortunately it is ususally these so called ‘supporters’ who are most vociferous in demanding change. Well they have had their changes and they still do not turn up.

  • Exlude Emirates as they have a long standing deal with Arsenal where exclusivity works both ways. AirAsia (Asian low cost airline) currently sponsors MU and is planning a low cost long haul flight schedule from Malaysia to Manchester for flights as low as a quid! Forget AirIndia as they are only interested in ferrying their expat workers back and forth to the middle east. It therefore leaves four airlines that would see a tie up as good business sense – Thai, Malaysian, Cathay & Singapore. Of these only Cathay & Singapore are looking for additional landing slots at Heathrow therefore Brum airport would be a lower cost and relatively clsoe alternative. Speculate as you wish.

  • Very valid observations voiceoftheholte. Your summing up of a fan vs a supporter is spot on.

  • Richard is a super guy, very knowledgeable and has immense reputation that he brings into the club. He’s got a very admirable business brain and i know he’ll succeed in his ambitions…which i believe is aligned to all of ours.

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