Date: 11th August 2009 at 4:52pm
Written by:

Ok, General Krulak’s very own thread on Vital Football can be a very interesting place to be, some fans don’t treat it quite as they should and I sometimes have to clamp down slightly to cut out the chat without ruining it! First page: General Krulak Thread

The frustration does flow all ways at times and obviously although fans want to leave feedback on the players, transfers and manager, it really isn’t the most suitable place as GK has said many times, that he doesn’t do the transfers! Problem is in the close season, that is the only place where the fans focus is. As the season starts, as you can see below, some good feedback is also left!

He has explained recently that all he asks for is respect following a slightly fractious time:

Let me try one more time: I have ZERO problem with the ‘good, bad and ugly’….I think I have demonstrated that from Balti Pies to Squad size to Transfers!! What is, in my opinion, an issue is simply that when I post something as simple as two quotes from a new player and try to draw some thoughts from those quotes, I find myself embroiled in the same old things….MON, Squad size, lack of ‘world-class’ players, is money available, infrastructure doesn’t matter, etc. etc. Let me state, unequivocally, that I do not do transfers. At the same time, I do read….and have been reading for the past 3 years. I DO pass your concerns and issues to the Board…I have NEVER stopped doing that. What I have ALWAYS said is that I expect people to treat each other with respect…and I have found that there are some who have a difficult time with that concept. I have no problem answering questions from some of the folks I mentioned….what I do have a problem with is when those questions and comments are made with a lack of respect or with the ultimate sarcasm. I am on this thread and will be on it…but let’s elevate the rhetoric a bit.

All seems fair to me and to be fair, I have started to delete inappropriate comments and will remove chat or too much debate as there is another thread in the forum for fans to discuss comments on the GK thread…. as well as thousands of other threads!

Ok, so GK was given some good feedback from the pre-season friendly v Fiorentina. His responses:

Thank you all for the input from the game…it is all good and very helpful. As you can imagine, it is always a bit rougher early in the season and this weekend was a ‘pre season’ for our hospitality folks. The changes to the Holte Suite made things easier and, at the same time, more difficult in areas. I will pass on all your comments.

He was even asked about the change in chocolate from Nestle to Cadbury!, he said: Cadbury is a local company and we felt that with the economy the way it is, supporting the local company in this case made sense.

On the actual game and pre-season:

I thought we had a superb pre-season and I was very pleased by the showing of our lads. I am sad that you did not feel the same way. re. our signings…one couldn’t play {Habib Beye JF} and the other did. I have looked at other Clubs in the Premiership and except for one in particular, I do not see a huge difference in us and them with re. to transfers.

Ahhhh, the transfer talk! Drives me mad that we keep saying don’t ask but some do keep asking… then again, with my big bad wolf hat on (I don’t really have a big bad wolf hat, well, ok I do…!) I have started deleting the ridiculous and repetitive. It does make me smile mind you, I can imagine GK going to MON. ‘Right, been talking to the lads on the forums and they think we should buy some players’… MON responds ‘blimey, great idea, any chance you could go back and ask them who?’ :o)

GK was also asked about the price of the Fiorentina game which some felt was a bit high

Warm-ups…Club does use many different ones. 22,000+ at game was approximately 1000 above our projections…so we were happy.

That led on from comments about the prices of individual ticket prices for the Wigan game to which he responded:

Pricing is worked out far in advance of any specific game. We have, as stated many times, done a good deal to keep prices down. If you compare our prices with any Club in the Premiership, you will see us as the lowest when comparing seats across the board. We recognized the economic times and have done what we could to help the Fan.

I guess ultimately, same as any business, they’ll judge if the pricing is right along the lines of supply and demand! Not an easy balance, especially during this awful recession.

OK, so the Olympics news came as a surprise to some: No Olympics For Villa Park

GK explained: Villa Park could not commit to the Olympics because of the efforts we will be making to enhance the stadium. When our plans have been approved, we will let the Fans know. We would be very interested in being ready for a World Cup bid.

GK was asked how quickly the feedback gets to the board and whether he waits for board meetings or is more direct:

Simple answer, he is very hands on and direct with feedback Fan feedback to the Board. I do not wait for a Board Meeting to provide feedback…it is done almost constantly. I feed it directly to the area that is at issue and normally action is taken ‘yea or nay’ very quickly. There is really no need for ‘minutes’ because the issue is either resolved or it isn’t depending on what the issue is. When talking about transfers and the like, the comments are compiled and the essence of the compilation is passed on. NOTHING is held back.

Hopefully the club will have noted that the promise to erect a statue of me in the broom cupboard or nearest toilet still hasn’t been followed through on despite GK promises and don’t even get me started on my request for a heated, cushioned seat with bar and pop up umbrella, I’ll only get upset. :o) (or slapped in the ribs by GK…!)

Another question that keeps coming up is the need (or not) for an anthem at Villa Park: Anthems — Think its time for the fans to sort this out GK has said several times he thinks this must be a fan led thing. He added recently: We have a Supporter’s Group that meets once a quarter. My recommendation is that this issue come before that Group. They should pick out 3 or 4 songs and then we can have a ‘vote.’

He also left a little feedback on Fabian Delph AFTER we’d signed him (just in case you think we can ask about players we may or may not be after!

A wee bit off topic but…I think that two comments made by Delph are worth repeating and thinking about. a) ‘I’ve been to look at the grounds and it is absolutely mind-blowing.’ Some question the amount of effort put into infrastructure…that only what happens on the Pitch counts. Delph is making the point that when the player is down to decision time, he looks at the whole picture. Stadium, Training Facility, etc. I have been trying to make that point. b) ‘I wanted to play for Martin.’ Some question the role of our Manager in negotiations…he plays a huge role. Again, there have been those who have questioned Martin’s methods but in a 24 hour period, we have had Leeds compliment our professionalism and a player say that key to his coming to Villa was MON.

Having been asked if he was just here for PR (never understood why good pr is seen as a bad thing, we had no communication before with the previous regime / owner, now we have some…which is great?) Anyway, GK says he understands the point made about whether it is just for pr but my main function is not to promote or sell…my main function is to listen, try to answer or try to get answers. Additionally, to pass info up the line…good, bad and ugly.

He said at an early point: My role as a Director is not PR…and my appearance on these Boards is not a PR ploy. No other Fan Site comments in such a manner. I thought I had described my role in no uncertain terms. It is to provide Fans a way to give the ‘good, bad and ugly’ to the Board and, where possible, get answers to questions they might have. I am a feedback loop for the Fans of Aston Villa. I am NOT a cheerleader and NOT a shill for anyone. I am 67 years old, I have ‘been there and done that’ and don’t intend to be a ‘front’ for anyone. If you really feel that I am on this site to paint the rosy picture…be a propaganda minister for the Club…etc. then you really have ZERO idea of who I am.

And the few comments on transfers…

Obviously, I do not do transfers. This includes being involved in setting transfer budgets, etc. Like each of you, all I go on is history. If history is worth anything, Randy and MON are well capable of establishing a budget and working with it. Asking what that budget looks like is something that, if I knew the answer, I couldn’t comment on it. Likewise, I don’t think you would want me to comment as it would be all over the press in a nano-second.

Also on the ambition, he has repeatedly said (and to be fair, when the first contacts were made BEFORE the takeover, it was always made clear) that they weren’t going to ‘do an Abramovich’ but would look to build)

I can assure you….and I think it was made pretty clear from the beginning…that the Board was not going to come into B’ham in 2006 and pull a Chelsea. That type of money…that type of spending…just was not something that we felt would be wise to do. We looked at the Club, the infrastructure, the distance we had to go and the ultimate goal we had (which consists of winning consistently with an exciting brand of football, a great ‘farm system (our youth squad), a world class training facility, and a plan to reach the highest levels of football and remain there over time), and we felt that the best approach to take was to be methodical in our approach. At no time did we really consider going on a $270M spending spree that might or might not guarantee success over the long term. For those fans who seek instant gratification…even though it might be fleeting….I am sorry.

Hopefully this article/update will serve as intended, to help the thread remain constructive, respectful and helpful to fans and to the club. I’ll look to do this more through the season and wish I’d thought to do so before as GK has posted nearly 1000 times now and we have over 600 pages! I’ve merged a fair few into one (which to be fair, has made it a bit slow, but dates back to 27/10/2006. Hopefully it will be quicker to use when we move to our new fast servers, still nice to read through if you have a few hours: GK Part 1 – Click Here