A meeting of the supporter consultation group was held on Saturday and the following minutes have been agreed and circulated for publication.
MINUTES OF FANS CONSULTATION GROUP MEETING SATURDAY 23 APRIL
Peter Warrilow and Kris Carr – AVST
Gary Kilburn and Vaughan Ellis – Lions Clubs
Anne Mcgivern – avillafan.com
Joe Costello – Heroes and Villans
Steve Gough – AVISC
David Michael – MOMS
Ian Stokes – Vital Villa
Steve Hollis, Brian Little, Nicky Keye, Tommy Jordan and Lee Preece all representing Aston Villa Football Club
An agenda numbering 10 items had been presented for discussion.
Time constraints determined that not all issues were raised and those outstanding have been addressed to the Club for a more detailed response (see below).
Update on the current situation at the Club re:
a) A sale
b) Managerial appointments
c) New appointments to the Board following this weeks resignations
Steve Hollis said that for obvious reasons he could not go into details regarding a potential sale but that discussions were taking place and in part the appointment of a new manager was dependent upon the outcome of those discussions as were new board appointments following the resignations of Messrs Bernstein and King.
Steve also confirmed he is in dialogue with a number of parties interested in buying the club with interest coming from here in the UK as well as America and the Far East.
What are the Clubs plans to incentivise supporters to come to Villa Park next season and to ensure that lapsed supporters return? (Pricing and entertainment) Are the Club prepared to review ground area closures in the light of higher than currently forecast attendances?
Nicola Keye dealt with this and explained the rationale behind pricing. We would not be the most expensive Club in the Championship and recognising that there are important income considerations (and Financial Fair Play) to consider it is not thought that more drastic cutting of prices is possible. Villa Park has 40% concessionary ticket sales and as a result the average ticket sale is much below the ticket price.
The Club will review pricing in light of attendances. An invitation to participate in a ticket pricing group was extended. The Club has details of lapsed season ticket holders and will be campaigning to persuade them to return.
The initiative was raised of having a percentage rebate to season ticket holders if the club failed to make at least the Championship play-offs. This is something a new owner could consider as a statement of intent.
It was also proposed a ‘singing section’ should be looked at to help & focus atmosphere in light of tier closure and redevelopment of the Lower North.
Dressing room harmony, or the lack of it, have frequently been commented upon this season. What action is being taken to ensure that our players are more media aware and prepared to play a more significant role in the community?
Dressing room harmony will be a matter for any new manager and Brian Little spoke at some length on the type of manager and player (including having leaders in defence and midfield) that he thought we should seek to recruit. The concern of supporter-player relations was discussed and what efforts to connect players back to Villa supporters could be made.
What are the key objectives for Aston Villa next season?
The key objective for next season as stated by Steve Hollis is a return to winning ways, and to win, win and win to secure an early return to the Premier League.
The issue of taking the Club captaincy away from Gabby Agbonlahor was raised but it was said that his actions are still under investigation.
Finally, Steve Hollis said that he welcomed supporter input from meetings such as these and was always prepared to meet and talk with supporters.
In relation to the questions not raised in the meeting, these have been tabled with the Club for a response, and are listed below:
If a change in the badge was necessary why now and why not a full re-branding to demonstrate that Aston Villa is a cohesive organisation?
What are the Club’s plans for bringing about improved PR and ensuring that Aston Villa avoids the multiple PR disasters of the current season?
Will relegation and the cost implications impact upon the proposed new website and the new kit deal?
Will you be prepared to consider initiating a youth forum to involve younger supporters?