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 RELEASE: May 18th 2003IMMEDIATE

Villa Fans Combined has been talking to potential investors and to business advisors since its formation some months back. As part of this process, a prominent businessman and fanatical Villa fan who cares deeply about the club has been approached by VFC supporter Carl Chinn and a meeting is to be arranged at their earliest convenience to include representatives of VFC, Carl Chinn and former Villa captain Dennis Mortimer.

Howard Hodgson, who has been Chief Executive of two fully listed plc companies, one of which, Hodgson Holdings plc, he built into a multi million pound business from scratch, has agreed, following discussions with Carl and VFC, to undertake a fair and independent report into the complete workings of Aston Villa PLC. Mr Hodgson has not only agreed to accept the commission but also has offered to fund the report and it's writing.

This report will be wide-ranging and important. It will encompass the business management structures at the club; the attitude of the staff and their working environment; and the financial management of Aston Villa. Taking the club's business as a whole, it will analyse in full exactly what is missing and preventing the success so desperately wanted by the fans, players and investors alike.

Carl Chinn says, "I have the utmost respect for Howard. He is a passionate Brummie and Villa fan and a highly successful and well-respected businessman. I feel strongly that someone of his standing will be able to bring to the fore what is needed to progress Aston Villa. Like all fans, Howard is deeply concerned with the club's plight and wishes only for the best of Aston Villa. As an independent voice, we believe that his findings will have great weight."

VFC representative Jonathan Fear shares these sentiments and says "The Villa Fans Combined feel sure that the report will be a step forward and will allow fans to understand the business workings of the club. It will also give all the fans, who so desperately want to see our club a success, some heart that positive action is being taken by a group of people who are putting Aston Villa's interests first. VFC are proud that respected names such as Dennis Mortimer and Carl Chinn are fully behind the VFC campaign to remove the current board and replace them with a more dynamic set up".

The formation of VFC was inspired by Carl Chinn's impassioned call for a second revolution when he declared that "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."

Carl's feelings have now been reinforced by the greatest captain in Villa's post-war history, Dennis Mortimer. Dennis is fully backing the VFC saying, "that I am happy to lend my name to the effort for change. As of now, we are all banding together in a concerted bid to see the board removed from office. It won't be easy. It won't be quick. But it has to be done."

Graham Taylor's announcement that he resigned because the club was not run properly heightens the need for action at Villa Park. As Mr Taylor stressed, "The bottom line is that Villa have not won a trophy since the League Cup in 1996. The FA Cup was last won in 1957 and the league title in 1981....we are not going to be able to compete for these honours unless radical change is made."

It is very clear to the VFC that it is time for a root and branch change within the club and VFC urges the board consider their position very carefully and step aside for a new regime for the sake of Aston Villa.


Contacts:
Jonathan Fear
Navid Nazir
info@villafc.com

Notes:

VFC (Villa Fans Combined)
VFC is an umbrella group that includes independent websites such as Holteenders.com (Mike Field), VillaTalk.com (Peter Bosworth and John Cresswell), astonished etc, Navid Nazir of Avisa, The Aston Villa Shareholders Association, Jonathan Fear and a long list of supporters from all sections of the Villa community.

Howard Hodgson
Bought family funeral business 1975 for £14k. Grew business from 1 branch to 546 by 1990. Floated USM 1986. Market cap £7.5m. Voted Entrepreneur of the Year 1987. Full Market quote 1988. Market cap now £125m. Merged with Kenyon Sec (part of Lyonnaise des Eau, France) 1989. Sold out 1991. Appointed CEO Ronson plc 1993. Appointed CEO Colibri International Corp 1998. Retired 2000 in order to concentrate on writing and broadcasting.

ENDS

Contact info@villafc.com

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Previous Press Releases:
14th May 2003: GT Resigns. The Board Must Go Now.
12th May 2003: Another wasted season, another opportunity missed.
4th May 2003: VFC Update - The right moment?
10th April 2003: Treffick Shareholding, Uncertainty and the Fear.
4th April 2003: Club for Sale - Time For Change.

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