Have we reached critical mass?

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In the world of business, critical mass is defined as “a very important or crucial stage in a company’s development, where the business activity acquires self-sustaining viability.” When a company reaches critical mass, it is thought that it can remain viable without any additional investment having to be added.

It seems that at the end of this season Aston Villa Football Club will have shed the lion’s share of the money wasted on unwanted players and the club will have had a significant amount of debt written off by the owner. Depending on who you speak to, this figure ranges from sixty to ninety million pounds!

So, with the added revenue and tighter controls on the wage and transfer budgets, do you think we have reached critical mass as defined above?

This is just a business perspective and it is a target both Lerner and Faulkner have spoken of. On the whole, this is the ultimate goal of all football clubs without a sugar daddy to fund unreasonable transfer fees and wages demands. Even a club like Southampton, with a team that has without doubt been impressive this season, is adrift of the ‘elite’ group within the Premier League and only just clear of those clubs still fearful of relegation. Now the Saints have to contend with carrying a £27 million debt from transfers into next season and will need to cut their cloth accordingly.

You can look at this idea of reaching critical mass as a sign that there will only be minimal, if any, further injections of funds from Randy Lerner himself and therefore view it as confirmation of the American owner’s lack of commitment to seeing Aston Villa Football Club progressing in the Premier League. People would be hard pressed to find arguments against this point, considering the apparently thrifty approach to transfers and wages in recent seasons.

However, I personally believe Aston Villa Football Club came closer to becoming the next Leeds United or Portsmouth than many of us think or can understand. I am not saying that Lerner is either the club’s saviour or the villain (no pun intended) of the piece but the board needed to do something quite painful and drastic to prevent continued haemorrhaging of cash at Villa Park. Lerner and Faulkner understood this and consequently adopted the current approach. The hope is that we can now compete slightly more effectively in the transfer market due to increasingly stable finances.

As we look towards the summer, the club’s approach to signings and the funds available to the manager will serve as the litmus test of Randy Lerner’s intentions towards Villa. I doubt many of us expect to see a war chest filled with forty or fifty million pounds or global footballing superstars arriving in a claret and blue parade! Realistically, most fans are hoping, even expecting, to see two or three quality signings added to our young and developing squad, meaning some investment is still required. If this does not happen after what, frankly, I can only describe as three years of hard labour as an Aston Villa fan then the tide will turn and things may get ugly!

Article submitted by Mike Steede

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