Date: 23rd January 2007 at 6:40pm
Written by:

Aston Villa’s new Chief Executive Richard FitzGerald has spoken of his vision and believes Villa can re-establish themselves as a major player.

The 44-year-old former senior vice-president of leading sports marketing and media agency IMG knows that there is plenty of work to do and said:

‘Actions speak louder than words but the board is committed to developing the club and providing the platform for Aston Villa to compete at the highest level of the Premier League and in Europe. In a year’s time, we would like to see an infrastructure being built to support a club competing for top honours, competing in the top half of the Premier League and for a European place. In five years’ time, we aim to compete in the Champions League.

Adding: ‘My brief from the board is clear – to fill the stadium week in and week out, create an infrastructure to support a top club. We are very aware the local population of 5.3million is a vast potential supporter base and we will focus the core of our commercial ambitions here. And, although the global growth of our fan base is not presently the club’s most urgent priority, it is nevertheless of strategic importance to the long term. We will potentially look to the United States as we deem it a fast growing soccer market. Our US connections make it more achievable.

‘There are also a lot of opportunities around Asia, particularly for the bigger clubs. The Premier League is incredibly popular. But international expansion at this moment will require strong partners that we do not currently have for it to work effectively – and a winning team. There is much to learn from other clubs. The English clubs are at the forefront of developments so, initially, we need to make sure we look and learn from clubs in the Premier League.’

And promisingly he says he will bring a fresh approach, something Villa so desperately needs: ‘But my key focus will be to bring a fresh commercial approach to the club and, in particular, reconnecting to the Birmingham business community. I also want to cultivate a ‘can do’ culture and attract world-class partners to work with.’

Can do? Will do? That’ll do for us, welcome on board sir, welcome on board!!!


22 Replies to “Villa’s New CEO Speaks”

  • America and Asia? Best way of cultivating interest is to sign their best players and go to town on the marketing. When do you think we’ll get Villa TV on Sky?

  • Ha ha class Pongo,you are so correct – he sounds inventive,pro-active and mega-motivated – he would have been bombed out quick-smart.

  • OK make it happen, Champions League here we come. Bit late for winning it this year but next year we need to be competing with the top 4 all season.

  • Does anyone know anymore about him? Where does he live? Is he American? How old is he. What’s his “tipple” and has he ever seen Villa play live etc. etc. Can we get him on a “Vital” forum? I thought The “General Talk-In” was excellent and very useful; or is this guy more “retiring” and a “behind-the-scenes” operator like Randy?

  • I like his first statement – “my brief is to fill the stadium week in week out”. Our next home game is against West Ham. This should be the home debuts of Carew and Young. This seems like a great opportunity for Villa fans to show their appreciation of intent. Not only with what is happening off the pitch but the efforts to improve the playing squad. For the first time since the start of 1994 when Brian Little was allowed to buy the likes of Draper, Savo, Johnson and Charles (that season we won the League Cup, reached the FA Cup semi final and came fourth in the league) are we showing ambition. It is quite a pleasant feeling to know that you support a club with a desire to succeed. There are no longer for any excuses for empty seats. Somebody shoot me I am sounding like the VOICE. But this time even he would be right in saying now is the time for the Villa fans to stand up and be counted.

  • Nice to see with signings no “Look what I’ve Done” Deadly style press conferences. These guys know that Aston Villa is a FOOTBALL club and winning football matches is the priority. Chairman, CEO and Manager seem low on ego and high on ambition. What a breath of fresh air!!!

  • I am honoured to be mentioned in your email utv. But I think you will find it was 1995 and not 1994. And yes you are right, every empty seat against West Ham should be seen as an insult to the new owners and M’ON. It doesn’t matter where you live, (Although the overseas supporters have slightly more of a valid excuse) VP should be full for the rest of the season.

  • VOTH… This will be the first home game I have missed in 6 years, due to the missus booking a holiday in the USA, can I be excused please? Oh and I have given my season ticket away to a deserving Villa fan so at least the seat won’t be empty.

  • I have a confession to make Hoss. I am also away, on a ski-ing holiday booked by the missus. I did put her straight though and have ensured that she doesn’t try to please me againg DURING the season. My season tickets have also gone to Villa fans who will make use of them. I still can’t shake the feeling of shame on having to miss my 4th home game in the last 10 years. So I accept your excuse if you will accept mine? Happy days.

  • I’m just delighted that we have in place a CEO worthy of the title. Such an important role in modern day professional football. Possibly Langham had the makings of becoming a top notch Chief Executive Officer, but as we all knew at the time of his appointment, he was never, ever going to be allowed to carry out that role unhindered.

  • VOTH: If you dont get your wish now after our recent signings, and the ground is still 10,000 short of capacity for our remaining home games I am going to join your crusade!!

  • Hopefully jonah, I will not be asking you to join me. Surely the new owners are now doing enough to prove to the doubters, those fans who would never come to VP again whilst Ellis was in charge but who are still holding back, that The Villa, one of the greatest names in world football, are on the march once more. Vive la revolution. The lion is awake.

  • Exciting times lie ahead, and this is just further proof that the new board are the right team for the job. Outstanding comments from Richard Fitzgerald and, for once, we can start to believe the hype coming out of Villa Park. On a slightly different note, does anybody know any more about the proposed sponsorship of either the ground or the turnstiles (depending on where you read it/who you talk to) in order to establish more cashflow for the club?

  • Not sure about either jeffg but it has been confirmed that season ticket holders in the top of the Holte will be trialing ‘swipe cards’ for the last five games of the season. It was interesting to read the comments from Richard Fitzgerald stating that we need “strong partners that we do not currently have”. How about that for a real knock at the mismanagement of the Ellis years? I would read into this as saying that areas such as kit supplier, club sponsor, kit sponsor (ground sponsor?????) are already being reviewed. It is obvious that the business side of Aston Villa which was always trumpeted as an Ellis success story , was in fact a load of pants. So the areas that could be improved within months, looking after the fans, improve the squad, work on Bodymoor Heath and the Holte Hotel etc has already started. To change the whole business proposition offered by the club will take a little longer but it is now obvious that there is an enormous amount of work happening behind the scenes to really put Villa back on the map. I think that the new board actually deserve even more credit than they are actually receiving. Lets hope that as supporters we now do a lot more than we have, to start repaying them and showing our gratitude. It would be hard to imagine what state this club would be in today if Ellis and O’Leary were still in charge.

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