AVST attended a meeting of the Fans’ Consultation Group on Tuesday 13th November. It was our first opportunity to meet new CEO Christian Purslow and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Paul Tyrrell.

The FCG will be meeting the club again next month to discuss some of the operational issues with the respective department heads. Here is a summary of the matters that were discussed from our meeting a couple of weeks ago.

If you have any questions that you would like to be addressed at the next meeting or specific issues that you would like to raise with the Club please contact us at [email protected].

Fan representatives

Anne-Marie Fern                           Heroes & Villains

Mo Razzaq                                         Aston Villa Supporters Trust

Peter Warrilow                               Aston Villa Supporters Trust

John Gillett                                       Lions Clubs

David Michael                                 My Old Man Said

Scott Jones                                        Villa Talk

Steve Gough                                     Aston Villa Independent Supporters Clubs

Daniel Rolinson                              Villa View

Joanne McKibbens                       Aston Villa Disabled Supporters Association

Nick Sanders                          

Jonathan Fear                                  Vital Villa

Club representatives

Christian Purslow                          Chief Executive Officer

Paul Tyrrell                                         Chief Corporate Affairs Officer

Tommy Jordan                                  Communications Director

Lee Preece                                          SLO



Mr Purslow welcomed the group to Villa Park and said he relished the prospect of having a positive and direct relationship with the diverse group of supporters who make up the FCG.

Words are cheap, he said, and actions far more important but he hopes that over time supporters will see a high level of transparency, openness and accountability.

He said the owners believe in clear accountability across all aspects of how the club operates. The club’s senior management team will operate under Mr Purslow’s guidance with him – as CEO – directing policy and strategy.

Although Mr Purslow said there were numerous areas in which the club needs to improve – from football through to commercial and financial aspects – the priority will always be football. Now “good things happen if we get the football right” he stated while reaffirming that other areas of the business require significant improvement.

On the playing front, nobody can make guarantees about on-field success but, with good management, the club can create a path that maximises the probability of getting back into the Premier League as soon as possible.

He stressed that false promises will not be made and achieving this target will be done in a “responsible, sustainable and sensible way”.

This will be led by a “top-down” approach of ensuring the correct strategy is in place to recruit, retain and develop players which creates long-term value.

He confirmed that the new owners had cleared off all historic liabilities via their investment in the club but this still requires the club to operate in a prudent and responsible manner. Mr Purslow said he was confident, clear and excited about the changes the new owners are bringing. The new ownership group are hugely experienced in sport and business, know what needs to be done to get the club on a long-term successful and sustainable footing.


Mr Purslow stated categorically that recent suggestions of plans to rename Villa Park were “wholly, completely and utterly inaccurate.”


As somebody who was involved in drafting the rules ten years ago when he was the CEO of Liverpool, Mr Purslow confirmed that the club wants to be FFP compliant and have a clear set of plans to be so going forward.


With a new Sporting Director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, and Head Coach, Dean Smith, arriving at the club, it represents the first opportunity for Dean to make changes. Mr Purslow recognised the January window is a limited market but expects some ins and outs.


Mr Purslow said an important message from tonight’s meeting is that he thinks the FCG is a very important vehicle and relishes the chance to work with it. He also confirmed senior executives will continue to attend FCG meetings on a regular basis.


Dr Tony is a significant minority shareholder and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future, Mr Purslow confirmed.


In his relatively short time at the club, Mr Purslow said he has observed work is needed in this area and acknowledged the desire to provide information from the club can, if unchecked, create content of an inappropriate tone, look or feel. He was insistent that the club should not produce content which is unhelpful or damaging or chasing clickbait. He also said he was amazingly proud to now run this institution and wants the tone to be unremittingly excellent. For these and a number of other important reasons, Mr Purslow confirmed that Paul Tyrrell has joined the club. Paul has been Head of Comms at ITV as well as at a number of major Premier League clubs.


Mr Purslow confirmed all outsourcing agreements would be analysed to make sure they are appropriate for the club.


As part of the sale of the club, Dr Tony’s agreement ended. Mr Purslow confirmed the club may find a replacement in the future but it wasn’t something they were actively working on.


The club’s current agreement with 32Red is working well and AVFC is receiving important revenue from it but was in place prior to Mr Purslow’s arrival. He expressed sympathy with the view that there is a high dependency on this sector within the Championship.


The club will look for continued improvement in these areas Mr Tyrrell confirmed. He praised the Aston Villa Foundation who have made great strides in the last few years to reach out to our communities. The Foundation staff do a fantastic job and the club would like to build on their success and adopt more socially responsible policies.


Mr Purslow said there is a clear desire to use the stand and the club has to build that demand. It is a key marketing challenge.


The current agreement on kit supply provision, and branding, is perhaps misunderstood, Mr Purslow suggested. The designer and producer of the kit is Fanatics. Hugely respected within the sports industry and a maker of many other high-profile team apparel. Luke, a local retail clothing brand, has a marketing-only agreement with the club.

Fanatics make their profit from selling merchandise in our store and on websites and wholesale. Luke have a relationship where their brand is promoted with their logo and other visible marketing around the ground.

Mr Purslow added that a priority for him is to drive higher values for the brands associated with Aston Villa.


Mr Purslow confirmed he had authorised a very significant capital spend in order to upgrade the sound system in the stadium. As he as well as everyone else at Villa Park accepts the current infrastructure is not fit for purpose.