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 September 2003.VFC meets PLC


A delegation of Villa Fans Combined members and supporters met with the Board of Aston Villa PLC today, Tuesday 2 Sept. In attendance were Jonathan Fear, Navid Nazir, Howard Hodgson, Prof. Carl Chinn MBE, Buck Chinn, Jonny Gould and David Carson. In attendance for Aston Villa were Doug Ellis, Mark Ansell and Steve Stride.

The two-hour meeting mainly covered proposals put forward in The Hodgson Report, looking at ways to bridge the gap between the board and the fans, discussing our proposals for additional executives on the Board of Aston Villa as well as looking at the need for fan representation.

Although in the main the meeting was held in a professional and constructive manner, we do not believe that the Board are open to suggestions to bring the club closer to its fans and it would also appear that the Board do not accept any of the blame for the problems that our club are facing. The opinion of the Board appears to be that they don't need help, that they don't want the input of the professional advisors who attended and that the fans should trust the Board and leave things to the Board members.

To that end, VFC are proposing to put forward two non-executive directors for the Aston Villa AGM on September 12th. These proposals are planned in a positive way in order to constructively add to the Board of Aston Villa, to seek to bring the views of fans on to the Board and to enhance our chances of moving Aston Villa Football Club forward. Unfortunately we do not feel the current management structure at the club is realistically able to take Aston Villa back into the elite of European football where we undoubtedly belong.

Our proposed candidates are Professor Carl Chinn MBE and Howard Hodgson. We concede, with the balance of power at the club being in the hands of two majority shareholders (Mr Ellis and Mr Petchey), that these candidates are unlikely to succeed but feel very strongly that we need to show the board just how strongly the fans and small shareholders want to see the club move forward and at the same time move closer towards the fans.

Both candidates have made it clear that should they be successful in being elected onto the board they would require the shareholders votes to be further ratified by a democratic vote via a VFC public meeting and polling the season ticket holders of AVFC. Without that ratification both candidates would immediately step down. Carl Chinn and Howard Hodgson have also confirmed that they would accept no remuneration for themselves and would donate the non-executive fees, (at present £15,000 per annum) to Aston Villa Disabled Supporters Charity AVIDS.

If successful and if they gain the support of season ticket holders, both candidates would arrange regular public meetings alongside VFC to take on board the views of fans and to give feed back to the fans from the Board.

ENDS


Contacts:
Jonathan Fear
Navid Nazir
info@villafc.com

Quotes:

Howard Hodgson
"Following a meeting with the Aston Villa Board, Villa Fans Combined and others, where regrettably no progress was made Carl Chinn and I have decided to allow our names to be put forward for election to the Aston Villa Board. We do so in order to provide a rallying point for the thousands of shareholders and supporters who believe that this great club should be among the best in Europe and yet feel helpless as they watch it slip further behind lesser clubs in this quest. Our positive aim is to reverse this trend.

"Both of us will donate our directors fees to charity if elected as an indication of our good intent. And although there can only be the slimmest chance of success on this occasion, we will be doing so again and again until we succeed and Aston Villa's future as a top European Club is assured."

Carl Chinn
VFC has approached me to stand as a non-executive director for the Board of Aston Villa Football Club. As a lifelong Villa fan and a third generation Villa fan I have accepted on two conditions. First, that if I am successful VC will call a public meeting of season ticket holders for a democratic vote on whether or not I should take a seat on the board. I will accede to the wishes of such a meeting. Second that if I am successful I will not take any remuneration and any monies due to me as a non-executive director would be passed on to good causes.

I have agreed to stand because I believe that the board of Aston Villa Football Club needs to be opened up and to be drawn closer to the fans. Since the early 1980s I have been of the firm opinion that the fans should have a democratically elected representative on the board and I shall work for that outcome. I stand in the belief that Aston Villa can take its rightful place amongst the great clubs in Europe only if it can rekindle the passion not only of those fans who attend games but also those who no longer watch the team. Such a rekindling needs to be matched by a positive and all-embracing approach to the drawing in of new fans. I hope that myself and Howard Hodgson could help in that vital process.

ENDS

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:
9th August 2003: Open Season
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.

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