Time For Change – Starting At The Top?

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“My football team is currently complete and utter dross. We have an owner that doesn’t seem to care any more. A Chief executive that’s half soaked. A tactically inept manager. Lazy players, who also happen to be dreadful bar 1 or 2.” That was a text I sent after the loss to Sheffield United last week. 

That text, I’m sure, sums up how many Villa fans are feeling towards our club right now. Something has to change – and fast. The question is: what is it that needs changing? 

In my opinion, the whole set-up that we currently have in place at our club needs changing, starting from right at the very top. A fish rots from the head down and all I can see at the moment is this great club rotting under the ownership of Randy Lerner. 

I’m sure many of you will have seen the Cleveland Browns’ fan’s ‘The Factory Of Sadness’ video doing the rounds among Villa fans on social networking sites lately. The thing that worries me most about this video is that the Browns’ fan is saying exactly the same thing that so many of us Villa fans are saying at the moment. 

This got me thinking that there’s quite clearly a common denominator between the two – the former owner of the Browns and the current owner of Aston Villa. I went on to look into Lerner’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns and some of the similarities between the Browns and Villa are frightening. 

Yes, the Browns had never been to a Super Bowl but when Randy took the reigns of the NFL franchise from his father, he promised them success. It’s safe to say this promise was broken. When he first took charge, the Browns’ fans were optimistic, positive and generally liked Lerner (much like Villa fans did). After years of failure and embarrassment, they turned (as Villa fans are doing now). 

From 2002 to 2012, the Cleveland Browns saw many changes to its management – four head coaches, four general managers and four team presidents. During that time, there was only one owner, Randy Lerner. For those ten years the Browns didn’t achieve anything and the team did not improve on the field. Their performances were labelled as ’embarrassing’ and ‘a joke’ by fans. 

During Romeo Crennel’s time as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, he stated in many press conferences that what he was doing was a ‘work in progress’, that ‘it would take time’ and that there wouldn’t be a ‘quick fix’. These are all phrases we have heard Lambert use during his spell as manager. Crennel also had a particularly young squad at his disposal, just like Paul Lambert currently does. 

This is all sounding too familiar for me. From the end of the 2009-10 season we have had four managers and performances on the pitch have gotten worse over that time. For me, it’s time we stopped changing manager so frequently. Maybe it is also time for a change of owner. Lerner has to invest during this transfer window to show he still cares about the club and wants to see us succeed otherwise there is no point in him holding on to the club. 

The worry for me is if Randy Lerner were to sell, it could be to the wrong owner. The last thing we need is a Hull/Cardiff situation. 

Please either invest or sell, Randy.

13 COMMENTS

  1. So Villa is your club ? so how much are YOU going to invest in it ?

    So it would seem that coz some fans think the the club they call their own should have an owner with a bottomless chest of dosh & coz Villa’s owner does not seem to want to fuel their appetites to have a endless stream of dosh poured into the club some fans claim to be theirs he should dontate more funds coz that in fact what it would seem to be what they mean by investing more dosh into their club

    After all most normal people think that if the invest their cash they should get a return on their investment . But it would seem some footie fans think that they can demand the owner of the club they follow should donate monies to fuel their dreams , or SELL .
    But I wonder if they were Randy they’d feell so generous ?

    Never mind how the Browns was run after all they were a lost cause , what about Villa ?
    Never mind some of the owners who keep hitting the headlines . How about we compare Villa with another club with American owners which seems to have slipped down the table recently since the retirement of their long serving manager . Randy has money , but maybe not as much as the one from the blue half of Manchester , but it’s the ones from the red half of that city fans should look @ & how ManU’s owners debts & lifestyles are funded by the club as they have no real monies of their own , unlike Villa where the club’s debts are owed to Randy & not the reverse as @ ManU
    But I hear it said that Villa did not have any debts ’till Randy took over , but then the club was run on a shoestring budget & in recent little to show for it . Now Villa has added a state of the Art training ground & investment money of it’s own all due to the way the club is being managed not just on the pitch but as a whole business, but it still has debts ! But would it not be better if the club was self financing & have no debts other than the day to day ones common to big business ?
    I certainly would like that to be so , BUT of course the club needs success on the pitch & that comes @ a cost or does it —- I hear even money bags @ ManC is talking about cutting back on the wage bill !

    As for the transfer window, talk from the club is of who & when rather than if, so let’s have a little more patience & see exactly who is coming in to give the experience that is certainly lacking from the squad

    • Cgale. Yes we were sold cheap when you consider that the lot from across the city were sold for much more without anywhere near the assets of the Villa . Is the sky money and all other income the sole possession of RL ? having listened to Faulkeners interview with Tom Ross on my to way to watch tonight’s game I have a feeling that you could be he by your comments . Try and listen to it and see what the 3 stooges have in store for us. Oh! Just been announced on Sky Sports that we are about to sign Grant Holt from Wigan . Can’t wait for that one . Suppose I must send a thank you letter to RL for this futuristic part to the “project” .

  2. Define invest. The guy spent £200 million trying to get this club to the champions league. He has been bailing us out financially ever since. He spent £90 million the other day turning a massive amount of our debt into equity, so we won’t have to repay it to the Lerner foundation.

    The original plan didn’t work and we were making massive unsustainable financial losses. Since then we have been cutting back until we start breaking even. We are now breaking even. The debt is gone. All but a few of the resource-draining-high-earning-underachieving-ageing-money-grabbing “senior” players have gone. We can finally move forward.

    We spent £30 million on transfers under Houllier. We spent £17 million under McLeish and £20 million last season. By the end of this window we’ll probably have spent £20 million this season. Even whilst Lerner has been “pulling the plug” we’ve had much more to spend than half the teams in the league.

    The difference next summer will be that we already have a full squad. Rather than spending £20 million on 10 players we can spend £20 million on 3 or 4 players. That will increase the quality of the squad.

    Even if after all that we want Randy gone, we are now in a position where he could sell the club. When we were making massive losses and had loads of debt, nobody would have touched us.

    It is hard to think about all of this when what we see on the pitch is so poor, but it is these crucial things going on behind the scenes that will affect how we perform on the pitch in the future. It WILL get better.

  3. It’s not looking too promising at the moment but who out there would be better an able to to compete with abramovich or the Dubai royal family? We do need to buy a couple of experienced, quality players. Obviously. I agree with the policy of bringing through young and hungry players but that alone won’t cut it in the prem. They need some guidance on the pitch. Wish Petrov was still playing, he would fill that role perfectly.

  4. I don’t necessarily identify the problem as “underinvestment”, I think that we’re not investing in the right areas. Lambert needs to communicate with Lerner right now, and tell him which players he needs to strengthen the squad. We have a decent squad right now, perhaps good enough to keep us comfortably in the premier league, but if we want to kick on and progress, we need those players that Lambert wants to come in and make the difference.

  5. Randy Lerner might own the club but it belongs to the fans. He will sell up an go at some point. Generations of past and present and future villa fans have/will invest their hard earned cash,time and energy into supporting our beloved club. I am a supporter of RL and have defended him on here and elsewhere many times. It’s unrealistic to hope that he can compete with the kind of cash some clubs can throw at it. But things aren’t right, are they? Villa Park is in a state of slumber after some mind numbing performances down at VP. Something has to change and as RL has bought the club it is down to him to sort it out. Don’t have a go at Villa fans for hoping for better.

  6. It’s a sad state of affairs when visiting teams feel more @ home @ Villa Park than the home team . But it’s no good blaming Randy for that as it goes back far beyond his reign in charge & to my knowledge goes bak to the 1970-80’s when the Villa Boo Boys reigned supreme & players eg J L Samuel would be booed even before they trotted out onto the pitch if their name was annnounced as part of the team .
    So yes fans are partly to blame for the home form , but the away support shows that it’s not all fans , so perhaps Randy needs to invest in American style cheer leaders to raise the atmosphere ?

    As for the team it’s self of course there is much room for improvement & like most was expecting players in by now . However the transfer market seems more sluggish than usual so perhaps finding the right players is proving a bigger challenge than was hoped for especially if the club is to avoid penalties from the fair play board

  7. Constantly calling for the heads of the owner, chairman, and manager is the sign of the young and the immature.

    There should be enough of us here who remember the last decade of life under Deadly Doug, the complete lack of investment, the crap players and the constant rotation of managers. Most kids on here first memories of the club are the first years under MON when money was thrown about like confetti and wasted hand over fist!

    The fact is that despite the hundreds of millions spent by Learner, particularly with MON as manager, we probably didn’t even have a top half of championship quality squad when PL came in. He’s had to build a squad from scratch and get rid of all the rubbish that had been let fester on the bench and in the reserves. We’ve now got a solid enough squad, no stars but no one to be really embarrassed about either. Its time now to start looking at players who will improve the first team. Instead of having to spend £20 million on six players so we have a bench, it can be spent on 2 or 3 who will walk into the first team.

    Having said all this I have been disappointed with some of PL’s tactical decisions, only having one CB at Sheffield United and leaving Donacien on the bench. We always look crap when we don’t play with 4 at the back and to not use a decent young player looks like a reversion to the bad old MON days when young players weren’t given a chance. Giving PL the benifit of the doubt maybe he’s hoping to send him out on loan and not being cup tied would make him more attractive.

    As for what the future holds, who knows, I don’t expect much money to be spent in this window. I though we might see Lescott come in on loan but that doesn’t look like happening. I can’t see any realistic targets who we can get and will be anything more than squad players

  8. Not all the money spent by AVFC is out of Randy Lerners pocket . TV money, gate receipts, marketing etc come into the club regardless. Remember he bought the club very cheaply ( Thanks Doug )a bit like me buying a house for £100k when the going rate in the street is £250k and then spending £50k to do it up -profit £100k simplistic I know , but do not treat RL as some loving ,caring Villa fan as he is not and when it suits he will dispose of us as he did with the Browns. The 1 common denominator over the last 5 seasons where we have got worse year on year is Randy Lerner.

  9. Of course all the money spent by Villa is out of Randy’s pocket and if I was in Randy’s position I certainly would not expect to do so and I suspect most others would not . But it would be interesting to hear if those so critical of how much Randy would actually spend as much on the club as them seem to insist that he should
    My theory is that they would not . In fact my suspicion is that they’d run the club as the Glaiser do ManU with the club their own personnal piggy bank , rather than the way Randy does , putting money in as necessary
    As for buying the club on the cheap where did that that gem come from ? Those who did not consider they got paid enough for their shares ?

  10. Reg there is no of course about it with the price paid for the club . As for even trying to compare it with the Shyte why would you even try unless you are grasping @ straws with which to use as excuses to attack the clubs management . And no I’m not Faulkner , but I do wonder why you are so concerned about how much Randy paid for the club — could it be out of envy ?

    As for Holt well if he joins as a replacement for the injured Kozak & not as one of the new recruits that are being sought , it sounds like good judgement , as undoubtedly Kozak’s injury would not have been included in forward planning for this transfer window

  11. Colin . Of course I am envious of a man with so much money, however as an original shareholder and a £5 shareholder I did not want to or need to sell my shares but the situation was forced on us. Now we are solely owned the fans do not get any say
    In the club at all. Over the last 5 years we have been in annual decline and the only common denominator is the RL regime. I agree that RL has invested quite considerably but where has it got us with all the mis management that has gone on in his reign.Believe it or not I am not totally anti RL but I do believe we are only going one way under his reign . Surely you cannot be serious about Holt, Prozac was bad enough along with Hellenius, Bowery .Could it be that plan A has not worked so plan B is to buy the Norwich side that got promoted . I hope for the sake of the club iam wrong

  12. Sorry Reg but all I seem to be reading are the words of somebody who has swallowed a mouthfull of sour grapes .
    But enough of that , and what of your claims of mis management which I seem to be struggling to understand the basis for .
    Certainly the plan to allow O’Neil was a mistake as clearly even after several 6th place finishes the club was going no where ! Butwhat was Randy doing durring this time ? You seem to be insinuating that “he was
    ” playing Nero as Rome burnt” but what evidense have you to suggest that might be true ?
    From what I can gather that was far from the truth , & that he was infact building a sound financial base much as the one @ ManU that the Glaisers find so lucrative . But rather than be a source of extra revenue for Randy I understand it is to give the club greater financial stability

    As for the team/club showing a decline , from what would this decline be from ? A team that was a failure in Europe ? Hardly something to be proud of given the Europen Cup in the Trophy room . I consider MON’s reign to be plan A & the appointment of Lambert a complete new start with the squad being rebuilt from the ground upwards . But that aint easy whilest trying to retain a place in the Prem , So no mean acheivement to survive last season , & this season is little different given the numbers bought in last summer . But hopefully the club can now kick on after last nights performance which although it ended in defeat , showed just what they might be capable of for the rest of the season
    As for Holt amazing how many now don’t want him given the clamour for him to be signed 18 month ago .
    And I certainly was not one of them , but I can see the sense in signing him as cover for the injured Kozak .
    But I am also expecting more players in to add experience to the squad

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