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

News that a property speculator has taken a 12% share in Aston Villa has been met with concern by supporters of the club.

Treffick – a company headed by former West Ham and Watford director Jack Petchy – has increased its stake in the Midlands club over the past three months.

Supporters group Villa Fans Combined (VFC) is calling for both Mr Petchy and the board of Aston Villa to come clean about Treffick’s interest in the club.

VFC spokesman Jonathan Fear said: “The fact that Treffick have managed to acquire such a large holding in a short space of time shows the position of the current board is not as watertight as many might have imagined.

“People have often believed that the Ellis family’s substantial shareholding made the board safe from a takeover but Treffick’s move proves this to be questionable.

“Bearing in mind that the club has 15,000 shareholders, there are very few individuals and institutions which hold more than a handful of shares. This begs the question: ‘Who is selling stock to Treffick?’

“Supporters warned that flotation on the Stock Exchange in 1997 would lead to the club losing control of its own destiny.

“While we aren’t happy about Mr Petchy’s track record at West Ham and Watford, we would welcome a statement of intent from Treffick, as well as from the current Villa board.

“We have knowledge of other consortia which have expressed interest in taking a major stake in the club and feel that the current uncertainty could create problems for Aston Villa in what is already an uncertain time.”


Notes:

  • Treffick bought a stake of just over 3% in Aston Villa at the end of February 2003.
  • The latest acquisition in April 2003 took the company's stake to 12.04%
  • At a Shareholders' Forum in March, Villa's Deputy Chief Executive Mark Ansell said Treffick was only interested in taking under-valued stock in order to make a profit if the stock rises.
  • VFC is an amalgamation of existing independent supporters groups, shareholders and supporters.
  • Treffick is now the second-largest shareholder in Aston Villa.


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