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 - 9th August 2003.Open Season


Following on from Carl Chinn's initial call for a roots and branch change to the way in which Aston Villa FC is run, (which led to the formation of VFC and a number of successful VFC led initiatives), a broad coalition of long time Aston Villa supporters met in London (on 6th August 2003).

Representatives of Villa Fans Combined (Jonathan Fear and Navid Nazir), Professor Carl Chinn MBE, Buck Chinn (representing Aston Villa Shareholders Association), respected businessman Howard Hodgson, media personality Jonny Gould and David Carson, a corporate lawyer at a leading London law firm, called on fans to support two radical initiatives:



Firstly

The nomination for election at the forthcoming AGM (12th September) of two supporter approved Directors to the Board of Aston Villa. The proposal is grounded in the widely-held belief that the Board would benefit hugely from truly independent, radical thinking Non Executive Directors who would be better served to represent the fan base who feel increasingly alienated from the Club and disillusioned with its performance, both on and off the pitch.

Villa Fans Combined note that given the concentration of voting power in the hands of a minority of shareholders (not least the 33.61% held by the Chairman, Doug Ellis) the prospect of securing a successful nomination is relatively slim. Nevertheless, independent board representatives enjoy significant support within the fan base and the decision was thus made to proceed with the two nominations subject to ratification by rank and file supporters. The identity of the candidates will be disclosed in due course.

If successful, the two candidates will press for the implementation of key reforms outlined in the "Hodgson Report" which is now available online at www.villafc.com*.



Secondly

The meeting further explored the idea that a corporate vehicle be promoted which will allow fans and investors alike to combine under one umbrella in order to hold a stake in a common pool of Aston Villa shares. It is intended that the corporate vehicle could be independently governed by democratically elected representatives of fans and investors with the expressed aim of securing the recommendations of the Hodgson Report. To this end, a Feasibility Study has been commissioned in order to look at the economic, legal and practical implications of establishing such a vehicle.

Professor Carl Chinn MBE shares the sentiments of an ever-increasing body of supporters and says "I believe that the constitution of the corporate vehicle will represent an exciting and dynamic initiative designed to bring Aston Villa closer to the fans. Professor Chinn suggests that the vehicle represents the best shot at achieving the fundamental objective that all true supporters of Aston Villa share: that is, taking the Club back to its rightful place amongst the European elite of football clubs".

VFC spokesman Jonathan Fear says "these proposals are fundamental steps forward for all the fans of AstonVilla who want to see radical changes made at the club in order for our manager to have the platform from which to build success. These proposals would have been put to the Board of Aston Villa who very publicly offered to meet us but have failed to do so".

"With or without the co-operation of the Board, the fans are demanding change so we can once again have a board that the manager, fans, players and shareholders deserve. To that end, the aims of VFC have not changed, we call for Mr Ellis to stand down as Chief Executive of Aston Villa as we feel, having had 21 years, it is more than time for a new direction".

ENDS


Contacts:
Jonathan Fear
Navid Nazir
info@villafc.com

Notes:

*The Hodgson Report
Published in June of this year, the Hodgson Report was commissioned by Villa Fans Combined in order to provide an independent analysis of the way in which Aston Villa is run. Author of the report Howard Hodgson conducted a wide-ranging and comprehensive review of the performance of the Club over the 20 years since its triumph in winning the European Cup in 1982, its management structures, the attitudes of staff and the working environment at the Club and its financial standing.

The Report noted that reform was long overdue and key recommendations are as follows:

Root and branch change to the way in which the Club is structured and run at all levels from Board downwards; and The long-term appointment of truly independent Non-executive Directors in order to add balance, experience and to scrutinise the workings of the Board and Club.

The Hodgson Report was [unanimously] adopted by supporters at a recent meeting called by Villa Fans Combined to discuss the perilous state of the Club.

Villa Fans Combined have acquired exclusive permission from the copyright holder to allow "The Hodgson Report" to be viewed by individuals via VFC's site (www.villafc.com) only. The report can be viewed here. (Registration is required in order to prevent unauthorised use of the report). Copyright remains with Howard Hodgson and the report is not to be re-produced in any format or distributed via any platform.

Full printed copies are still available to be purchased from VFC for £3.50 + £1.00 postage, payable to VFC, 21 Devonport Close, Redditch, Worc. Donations to VFC's fighting fund can also be sent to the above address and we would respectfully ask for a donation from every individual who reads the report via our site. Any monies left over once VFC disband will be donated to AVIDS.

ENDS

Contact info@villafc.com

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Reaction from first meeting:
Paul's response: Remember the day - the 24th of May.
Previous Press Releases:
1st August 2003: Annual Results - Hang Your Heads In Shame!!!
27th July 2003: Sell, Sell, Bye Bye - Is there a takeover in the wings?
11th July 2003: Football Fans Census - Villa Fans Survey
26th June 2003: Second Rally - The Hodgson Report
18th June 2003: Fans Testimonial for Ian Taylor and Alan Wright
6th June 2003: Second meeting announced.
20th May 2003: New Manager, same core problems.
20th May 2003: Rally 24th May - Update.
18th May 2003: Potential investors identifed - Report commissioned.
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.

www.villafc.com


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