Supporters and shareholders of Aston Villa have joined together to fight what they see as the “endless cycle of under-achievement” their club has suffered for the past 20 years.

PRESS RELEASEIMMEDIATE

Supporters and shareholders of Aston Villa have joined together to fight what they see as the “endless cycle of under-achievement” their club has suffered for the past 20 years.

The club which, in 1982, won the European Cup has subsequently flirted with success in the form of two League Cup triumphs, but has failed to make an impact on the major silverware at home or abroad.

Just five years on from their European glory, they were relegated to the old second division and, as the Premiership season enters its final stretch, Villa are far from guaranteed to avoid a similar fate.

Prompted by well-known Villa fan, Professor Carl Chinn, the supporters have united under the banner Villa Fans Combined (VFC). Their aim is to ensure a “root-and-branch change” in the way the club is owned and run.

Professor Chinn said: “For the last 20 years we’ve lacked verve, purpose and imagination. The club has stopped reaching out to its fans. We don’t belong anymore, we’re just customers now.

“Unless there’s a radical change at the club I don’t think I’ll ever see Villa as one of football’s greats again. The club is in terminal decline and it breaks my heart.

“If the board has the best interests of the club at heart, they must accept responsibility for the poor performance and unrest in the stands. They should allow people with cash, commitment and imagination to come forward and help push Villa back into a position of prominence in English football.”

VFC has issued an open letter to supporters and is publishing a blueprint for the club’s future. It is a call to arms for fans who in recent seasons have been crying out for a voice.

Despite concern over the performance on the pitch, VFC remains solidly behind the team and places responsibility for the on-field performance of the club over this and past seasons at the feet of the board.

A VFC spokesman said: “The board appoints the manager and sets the framework in which he has to operate.

“On average the lifespan of a Villa boss over the past two decades has been just two-and-a-half years. That suggests that either the board can’t appoint the right manager or, more likely, they don’t give them the best chance to succeed.”

Off-field performance is of even greater concern. In February, the club announced its worst-ever half year accounts, with a loss of £8m.

Over the course of the last month, a number of shares in the club have changed hands, including an almost 9% stake bought by Treffick - a company headed by former West Ham director Jack Petchy.

On 2 April, a further 3% stake in the club was bought by an anonymous purchaser. However, Villa shares have fallen by as much as 90% since the club floated on the stock exchange in 1997.

With such uncertainty running throughout the club, VFC says only a change at board level can arrest the cycle of stagnation and slump which has become the Aston Villa story.

ENDS

Contact info@villafc.com


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