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The retrenchment of expenses plan and the future


Archie
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I have been very struck by the recent decision of the club to cut paltry expenses like the free cup tickets for the staff (when the stadium is half empty in the first cup ties) and the free Match Programmes for the Lions Clubs' chairmen.

Obviously I have no problems to pay the match programmes from now on, this is not the point.

What leaves me perplexed is that the sums that you can save with this plan of retrechment of expenses will be about 1/1000000 of the costs that you have for some average players with top player wages like Dunne, Beyè and others.

So, decisions like these, on one side don't improve the financial situation of the club and on the other side cut to the quick the most genuine part of the club, the staff and the fans, giving the strong impression that the property is preparing to sell up the club, and in order to do so must give the purchaser the impression that the books are balanced and that there are not useless expenses.

Obviously I hope to be wrong but this is my impression at the moment.

Thoughts?

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I don't really understand why people keep linking the cuts in expenditure - wages et al - to a sale process when equally it could just be put down to good housekeeping in austere times. There are not many businesses in this world that are run on a sustained loss making basis.

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People are linking them for the following reasons;

1. Cost cutting exercises do often precede the business being prepared and offered for sale. This might not be the case in this instance but because it is often the case people are bound to speculate.

2. Communication - The General is currently MIA while hearing from Randy is more rare than rocking horse shit or John Carew having a quiet night at home with a good book. There is no real communication from the club and as such their is a vaccum of uncertainty and with the cost cutting growing suspicion within some.

Now people might be totally wrong, they might be wide of the mark and you could be right it could be just a bye product of the current financial climate or Randy's own financial position. It is though not at all surprising that such discussions are becoming more frequent given the way the club is being run at the moment.

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People are linking them for the following reasons;

1. Cost cutting exercises do often precede the business being prepared and offered for sale. This might not be the case in this instance but because it is often the case people are bound to speculate.

2. Communication - The General is currently MIA while hearing from Randy is more rare than rocking horse shit or John Carew having a quiet night at home with a good book. There is no real communication from the club and as such their is a vaccum of uncertainty and with the cost cutting growing suspicion within some.

Now people might be totally wrong, they might be wide of the mark and you could be right it could be just a bye product of the current financial climate or Randy's own financial position. It is though not at all surprising that such discussions are becoming more frequent given the way the club is being run at the moment.

While cost cutting and balancing the books can be a sign of preparation for a sale, they could also just be a matter of good house keeping. We took a pop at the top 4 in the first few seasons of Randy's regime, we've failed in that for various reasons (Man City possibly being the biggest), and now we're regrouping for another assault with a different approach, or alternatively we've changed our ultimate aim and we're cutting our cloth to suit.

Regarding communication, i think we have as much if not more communication between the board and the fans as any club, it's just that we're all impatient. Actually, i wonder why fans believe the board should communicate everything to them ? Yes we're stakeholders, but we're not shareholders and the truth is fans would always find more and more to moan about the more information we're given.

I think the general is keeping a low profile due to the unbelieveable disrespect he's been shown on this and many other boards, and i can't really blame him. As fans we want communication, but when things don't go the way we want we hit out at the very people who were/are communicating.

For what it's worth, I don't think there's a desire to sell the club, i don't even think it would be the right time to do so, however that doesn't mean that we wouldn't be attractive to a takeover at the end of this season when more deadwood is gone.

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Its getting to the stage where if Lerner goes he goes. I can't say I'd be overly fussed aside from the fact I'd obviously be curious as to who took over. He has done nothing ground breaking or over and above where a club of our stature should be competing. Where it matters - on the pitch - Three six place finishes on the spin and a Cup final inside 5 years is pretty good. Hardly spectacular. Has Lerners investment warranted more? I'm not so sure it has. We didn't spend enough to overtake Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool ( although for one season we did ) or Arsenal. We were on a par with Spurs and Man City over the last few year have blown everyone out of the water. I'd say the level of spending yielded around the right return. The wages issue is clearly a problem but he has to ultimately take responsibility for allowing it to get to levels the club cannot sustain.

I see a season of mid table mediocrity ahead. It could therefore be argued that certainly in the Premiership as much as it grieves me to say it we faired equally as well under Ellis. We finished runners up, 4th, 5th, 6th on a number of occasions and won two league cups. Looking solely at the Premiership we also had three seasons of battling relegation and plenty of mid table mediocrity.

I'm not sure where we are heading under Lerner for the simple reason he doesn't tell us. You get his sidekick spinning us the odd yarn about how the manager will be backed and how the club are aiming for somewhere around 4th - 9th ( sorry 5th and 9th my finger slipped ).

I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Randy waves bye bye to Aston Villa sometime soon. If his attendance at games is anything to go by then his heart certainly isn't in us as much as it was. It wasn't how I envisaged things panning out when he strode in to VP. For all the mosiacs, free scarves and flags, work on the training ground, on the pitch where it really matters it looks very much like we peaked two years ago and are now settling to be very much mid table fodder which wasn't too far off where he found us and a position that is the bottom end of expectation for this great club.

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One thing it certainly isn't is just house keeping, if that was the case it wouldn't have taken Randy 5 years to implement these sort of changes.

It is obvious cost cutting and its a recent change and new requirement we just don't really know why.

As for regrouping for another assault with a different approach we will see I guess but I just don't believe that is the case.

Regarding communication I get your general point. The problem is that when Randy arrived they wanted to communicate more than most and continued to do so when things were going well, since things have gone a little wrong the lines of communication have dried up. We had big campaigns like the 'proud history bright future' campaign, now we have nothing.

The club have got it totally wrong, when you are spending money you don't need to be talking to the customers (the fans) because they can see the plans the ambition the direction. When you aren't spending, when the vision or the goals aren't obvious because you have stopped spending and ambition seems a thing of the past that is the time to be talking not to be shutting up.

The board have got it wrong in my view, I've no idea if Randy is looking to sell or not but I'm just trying to explain why in the complete lack of any club narative people are starting to write their own and ask questions like 'Does Randy want to sell?'

You don't have to agree with the people asking this but I think anyone should be able to understand why people are asking it.

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I think they went for it in terms of the initial spend and their original aims, but it didn't work out. At the same time for the board to have allowed the wage problem to get to the level it did either shows they put too much faith in MON to get a Champions League spot, or shows they were a little naive in letting him dictate the palyers and salaries that were required. SO no matter if the club is being primed for a sale, or if it's just a matter of making the finances manageable, it's the right thing to do, and that would be good house keeping (cost cutting can be good house keeping).

I agree that the club have got communication wrong, the 'open' ethos has created a rod for their own back, they told us plenty, now we want to know more, but at the same time we don't want to hear bad news i guess, so what should they do ?

Perhaps Randy has taken us as far as he can go, perhaps he's just got fed up, i'd still be worried if he sold the club, as he's proven to be one of the more sympathetic foreign owners.

I can understand people asking the question, "what's he upto", but i'd have thought one look at our recent accounts, combined with the Fifa Finance Fairplay rules should give everyone an idea of what he's upto. A sale is always a possibility, geographically we're in a good position, with sustained success we could easily grow our local and global fanbase, the problem is to get the kind of instant success we all crave and any new owner would want we'd need an oil sheikh or Oligarch, and there seems to be many more bad experiences with these peple than good. I'm not sure I'd want Arab billionaires creating Disney World Witton around our proud and beloved club.

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After going through a cost cutting exercise for my own small business, albeit on a much smaller scale, it really brought home to me how much saving there is to be made through good housekeeping.

It's the sum of the parts that count, so whilst these may seem trivial in isolation, when combing with other cost savings, the measured result can be significant and worthwhile.

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Being open and honest with the fan base would be a risk sure, but then there are supposed to be some 7000 tickets still available for the Wolves game. So I would argue that staying quiet isn't exactly working either.

Sure some wouldn't like it if Randy gave an interview saying what our revised aims are but I think that quite a sizable amount of the fan base would appreciate it and would be mature enough to understand it even if they didn't much like it. It would be honest, it would fit with the image he built up in the first few years here and people would understand decisions, understand the direction and that a plan was in place and what that plan was.

It would seem though that those running the club don't have enough faith in the supports to take that step, they must fear the backlash or the result but as I said there were yesterday some 7000 unsold tickets for our second home game of the season against a local rival.

I don't think Randy should bankrupt himself or us trying to chance what is probably an impossible goal I just think they have handled a lot of things badly in the last 12-18 months and continue to do so. That is why people don't know where we are heading and start to talk about a possible sale.

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Being open and honest with the fan base would be a risk sure, but then there are supposed to be some 7000 tickets still available for the Wolves game. So I would argue that staying quiet isn't exactly working either.

Sure some wouldn't like it if Randy gave an interview saying what our revised aims are but I think that quite a sizable amount of the fan base would appreciate it and would be mature enough to understand it even if they didn't much like it. It would be honest, it would fit with the image he built up in the first few years here and people would understand decisions, understand the direction and that a plan was in place and what that plan was.

It would seem though that those running the club don't have enough faith in the supports to take that step, they must fear the backlash or the result but as I said there were yesterday some 7000 unsold tickets for our second home game of the season against a local rival.

I don't think Randy should bankrupt himself or us trying to chance what is probably an impossible goal I just think they have handled a lot of things badly in the last 12-18 months and continue to do so. That is why people don't know where we are heading and start to talk about a possible sale.

I particularly agree with your last point

It's difficult to know how fans will react to bad news or an adjustment of aims. We have a fanbase that behave so irrationally (as all football fans do from time to time).

To give an example, I took my seat for Saturday's game, and after exchanges pleasantries with the guy I've sat next to for the last few years, the first words he said were "this is a must win game for McLeish, lose this and I want him out". The worrying thing is he didn't seem to be alone in that thought because the people the other side of him agreed. This was the first home game of the season, and McLeish's second competitive game in charge.

It's this kind of fan, that simply won't accept the truth, despite the relaity being different, they expect Villa to be competing for the top 4 year on year, to sign the top players, and unlike you, i think they are the majority. That;s why I don't think telling the fans to expect a few seasons of transition would help matters, because it's the last thing the Burberry boys want to hear.

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Sure, but what struck me is that the club is reducing paltry expensenses, that don't significantly improve its financial situation and seem made "for show".
Very much like not allowing expenses for insect repellent which was rightly ridiculed at the tine that cost saving was made, but a similar cut now is seen as good housekeeping

See the really frustrating thing for me is the excuses made by the fanbase for the actions of the current owner. The fact that a large element will look to excuse his actions, look for a smokescreen excuse or similarly believe it is still part of a grand and well thought out plane to make us a force in UK football. And then when it is obviously not the case look to external factors for the reason why we are not competing. like for example the Man City excuse. I have seen this time and again and frankly I think it is rubbish and a convenient bit of cover for the board. Truth is we are to expect that our push for top four is over because we cannot compete with Man Citeh who are actually going to win the league? They are on a different planet to us financially and every other club in the world perhaps so that is the reason we stopped? I think it is rubbish frankly.

Personally I now hope Randy is looking to sell. I want Villa to be successful and win things. It is clear that will not happen under him. Todays game is now and always will be about money. he doesn't have enough and so we do not have a chance of competing at the top end of the league. Not for me mid table mediocrity because quite simply that plan will ultimately lead to relegation. You can't stand still in this league you have to spend to actually do that, not spending is not an option currently. We got away with it for years under Ellis because the game was different. Eventually we were almost found out

The game today is totally different though and not spending (or the option we are currently following) will not work.

And to those who will say "well who else? we cannot get an owner as good as Randy " etc etc etc, all I'll say is if he is as brilliant as everyone makes out then surely he'll get a buyer who can take this club forward. Afterall Ellis found Lerner and everyone knows that Ellis was only in it for himself.

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It's difficult to know how fans will react to bad news or an adjustment of aims. We have a fanbase that behave so irrationally (as all football fans do from time to time).

It is very difficult I guess but as I said previously, there are or were 7000 unsold seats for Saturday yesterday.

I just wonder if they would be better being honest, there seems a sense from those who have stopped going that they feel they have been lied to. Who knows this number may well grow after this window closes especially if we have a bad season.

Perhaps if the club were more open (I refrain from saying more honest) these people might feel differently. At the moment a lot of people are losing faith in Randy, not because he isn't spending money but because they just aren't sure what he is doing something I think could and should have been avoided.

To give an example, I took my seat for Saturday's game, and after exchanges pleasantries with the guy I've sat next to for the last few years, the first words he said were "this is a must win game for McLeish, lose this and I want him out". The worrying thing is he didn't seem to be alone in that thought because the people the other side of him agreed. This was the first home game of the season, and McLeish's second competitive game in charge.

That is someone being stupid. They have already made their mind up about McLeish but rather than admit it they are hiding behind a smokescreen and trying to pretend to be reasonable when in reality they are just making themselves the direct opposite.

It's this kind of fan, that simply won't accept the truth, despite the relaity being different, they expect Villa to be competing for the top 4 year on year, to sign the top players, and unlike you, i think they are the majority. That;s why I don't think telling the fans to expect a few seasons of transition would help matters, because it's the last thing the Burberry boys want to hear.

It might be the last thing they want to hear but I think that the club is making the critical error of thinking we are stupid, dare I say it (and sorry to those of you that are American when you read this) American. The General giving it the ra ra in his thread just doesn't wash.

Nobody, not one fan I know on here or in the real world believe we are challenging for 4th any more. I don't think I know any who think we are capable of 5th this season so regardless of if the General's finger hit the wrong key or not people just aren't buying it.

I think they don't credit the vast majority of fans with the intelligence to be able to draw their own conclusions, we already know or think we know the score they may as well admit it. They may as well try and keep people in the loop, keep them informed and keep them onside because if they don't, if they don't keep the faith of the fans and we have a bad season there is going to be a backlash and 7000 empty seats will be a more regular occurance.

Last point, then there is the manager. Regardless of if any of us wanted him or not, he seems a decent guy and he seems committed to the job. He has enough of a tough job on his hands with our fans like the chap you mention to win people over, he has a tough enough job as it is with the resources available to him without people being in the dark and still thinking we are aiming for 4th or 5th.

I feel like they are making a rod for their own backs and the back of the manager with their general approach at the moment.

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Sure, but what struck me is that the club is reducing paltry expensenses, that don't significantly improve its financial situation and seem made "for show".
Very much like not allowing expenses for insect repellent which was rightly ridiculed at the tine that cost saving was made, but a similar cut now is seen as good housekeeping

See the really frustrating thing for me is the excuses made by the fanbase for the actions of the current owner. The fact that a large element will look to excuse his actions, look for a smokescreen excuse or similarly believe it is still part of a grand and well thought out plane to make us a force in UK football. And then when it is obviously not the case look to external factors for the reason why we are not competing. like for example the Man City excuse. I have seen this time and again and frankly I think it is rubbish and a convenient bit of cover for the board. Truth is we are to expect that our push for top four is over because we cannot compete with Man Citeh who are actually going to win the league? They are on a different planet to us financially and every other club in the world perhaps so that is the reason we stopped? I think it is rubbish frankly.

Personally I now hope Randy is looking to sell. I want Villa to be successful and win things. It is clear that will not happen under him. Todays game is now and always will be about money. he doesn't have enough and so we do not have a chance of competing at the top end of the league. Not for me mid table mediocrity because quite simply that plan will ultimately lead to relegation. You can't stand still in this league you have to spend to actually do that, not spending is not an option currently. We got away with it for years under Ellis because the game was different. Eventually we were almost found out

The game today is totally different though and not spending (or the option we are currently following) will not work.

And to those who will say "well who else? we cannot get an owner as good as Randy " etc etc etc, all I'll say is if he is as brilliant as everyone makes out then surely he'll get a buyer who can take this club forward. Afterall Ellis found Lerner and everyone knows that Ellis was only in it for himself.

If you don't think that Man City's rise massively impacted us and a whole host of other teams, then you're deluded.

I don't want Randy out and I don't want to just buy success, which is what you seem to be suggesting. I'm happy with the way we are going about things and I think it's the only real sensible option in this climate.

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Sure, but what struck me is that the club is reducing paltry expensenses, that don't significantly improve its financial situation and seem made "for show".
Very much like not allowing expenses for insect repellent which was rightly ridiculed at the tine that cost saving was made, but a similar cut now is seen as good housekeeping

See the really frustrating thing for me is the excuses made by the fanbase for the actions of the current owner. The fact that a large element will look to excuse his actions, look for a smokescreen excuse or similarly believe it is still part of a grand and well thought out plane to make us a force in UK football. And then when it is obviously not the case look to external factors for the reason why we are not competing. like for example the Man City excuse. I have seen this time and again and frankly I think it is rubbish and a convenient bit of cover for the board. Truth is we are to expect that our push for top four is over because we cannot compete with Man Citeh who are actually going to win the league? They are on a different planet to us financially and every other club in the world perhaps so that is the reason we stopped? I think it is rubbish frankly.

Personally I now hope Randy is looking to sell. I want Villa to be successful and win things. It is clear that will not happen under him. Todays game is now and always will be about money. he doesn't have enough and so we do not have a chance of competing at the top end of the league. Not for me mid table mediocrity because quite simply that plan will ultimately lead to relegation. You can't stand still in this league you have to spend to actually do that, not spending is not an option currently. We got away with it for years under Ellis because the game was different. Eventually we were almost found out

The game today is totally different though and not spending (or the option we are currently following) will not work.

And to those who will say "well who else? we cannot get an owner as good as Randy " etc etc etc, all I'll say is if he is as brilliant as everyone makes out then surely he'll get a buyer who can take this club forward. Afterall Ellis found Lerner and everyone knows that Ellis was only in it for himself.

So shall i put you in the 'expect villa to challenge the top 4 year on year" camp then ?

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Why are people that bothered??

Im not sure people are looking for excuses for the board. Some might but I see it as being as pointless as criticising them.

What is anyone getting from this constant attempt to try and figure out what is going on? There is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

When the General says Mcliesh will be backed - Why do we automatically come to the wrong conclusion about what 'being backed' actually means and then post mindless jibes when it appears that 'being backed' doesnt necessarily mean spending a shed load of cash in 3 months.

The frustration in the Generals thread is all about how hes now not on it. Probably not on it because its gone past - him being able to take the rough and smooth. Its now just pointless and boring because hes continually asked to answer the same pathetic questions over and over again.

Whatever Randy is planning, whatever is going on, Ive passed caring. As long as aston Villa get 11 players on the pitch as and when needed, who give there all, then I couldn't really give a shit what else happens.

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Whatever Randy is planning, whatever is going on, Ive passed caring. As long as aston Villa get 11 players on the pitch as and when needed, who give there all, then I couldn't really give a shit what else happens.

Which is fair enough if that floats your boat but its not enough for most and its not really an attitude that matches with the very nature of a site like this which is designed for people to discuss, debate and speculate.

We aren't about to shut the site so I guess people will continue to debate these things the same as they do at every club up and down the country. Despite what people say I don't think anyone set of fans is any different to any other.

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Whatever Randy is planning, whatever is going on, Ive passed caring. As long as aston Villa get 11 players on the pitch as and when needed, who give there all, then I couldn't really give a shit what else happens.

That can't be enough can it surely. The height of Aston Villa fans expectations has to be higher than that. Personally I want the club to be the best it can be and mid table mediocrity simply isn't the best this great club can do. Shit or shine I'll be there as I have been for more years than I'm caring to remember but the worst thing I could do, or any of us, is accept less than what this club deserves and should indeed question those running the club and push them if it appears they are not striving to get to the heights this great club is capable of getting to.

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Whatever Randy is planning, whatever is going on, Ive passed caring. As long as aston Villa get 11 players on the pitch as and when needed, who give there all, then I couldn't really give a shit what else happens.

That can't be enough can it surely. The height of Aston Villa fans expectations has to be higher than that. Personally I want the club to be the best it can be and mid table mediocrity simply isn't the best this great club can do. Shit or shine I'll be there as I have been for more years than I'm caring to remember but the worst thing I could do, or any of us, is accept less than what this club deserves and should indeed question those running the club and push them if it appears they are not striving to get to the heights this great club is capable of getting to.

this!

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