Jonny Gould with Lord King of Lothbury prior to Swansea game (22nd March 2015)

Lerner: it is time to talk

AVST demands immediate answers from the club about what triggered yesterday’s resignations from the Board.  Relegation was finally confirmed at the weekend and, whilst we have all known it was coming for some time, it still feels like a kick to the stomach.  The thing that has been sustaining the supporters, the one glimmer of hope at the end of a very dark and long tunnel, has been the fact we finally seemed to be getting it right off the pitch.  A new board with the football knowledge we have been crying out for was seen as a positive that we would at least be organised to mount a serious push to return at the first time of asking.  And then we had yesterday’s news.

The resignations have pulled the rug from under the hope of better times ahead.  There has been plenty of speculation as to the reasons for this.  Maybe there is to be an imminent sale of the club.  Perhaps there has been a falling out over finances.  Whatever the reason, it is clear that something catastrophic has broken down between the board and the owner.

Earlier this week we had an open letter from Steve Hollis to reassure supporters that the board acknowledges what has gone wrong and have the right plans, and people, to put Aston Villa back where they should be.  Again, the internal review was mentioned and how actions are to be taken on the back of it.  These were not the words of a man who expected two recently added, and senior people, on the football board to step away days later.  In particular, as David Bernstein references not being able to implement the required changes on the back of the review in his resignation letter.

So what has changed? What exactly has made their positions untenable?  Where does this leave Steve Hollis who implemented the football board?  From the content of the resignation letters it would seem that fingers are very clearly being pointed at the owner.  AVST have repeatedly asked for a statement of intent from the owner and this has always been met with a response that “he is a shy man and we are running the club now anyway” from the board.  Yesterday’s events would suggest that this is not the case.

For too long now, the owner has hidden away on the other side of the Atlantic.  For too long, he has let the executives at the club take the punches from a support that are reaching boiling point.  For too long, we supporters have had to speculate as to exactly what the owners commitment to the club is, as we attempt to piece together contradictory bits of information coming from the club.  This must end and now.

It is time for Mr Lerner to speak to the long suffering supporters.  It is time that he made it abundantly clear what his intentions for Aston Villa are.  He needs to explain why the people that the supporters were counting on have left and in such an acrimonious fashion.  If we are to be sold, he needs to reassure us that this is not a fire sale and that he still intends to hold true on his commitment to selling us to owners that can take this club forwards.

The supporters cannot keep living in limbo and trying to work out what on earth is going on from clipped club statements and press leaks.  We can have no more hiding.  Randy, you need to talk.

(Pictured: Lord King, right, who resigned from Aston Villa’s Board yesterday.  King is a patron of AVST and is seen pictured with fellow patron Jonny Gould)