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Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

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Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Trotters on Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:31 pm

We've recently welcomed Howard Hodgson to our rapidly growing membership list here on TBAR and, in chatting further with him, have decided to create a dedicated section for his in-depth blogs.

Many of you will are already followers of his Twitter account but for those unfamiliar with Howard, his family have had strong links with the club going back many years and his father was the author of the original "Hodgson report".

It's probably best if I allow him to introduce himself to you. Following this,we'll post up copies of the articles he has written about the Villa and invite you to comment.  


Howard Hodgson wrote:I've attended Villa Park every season as season ticket holder since 1977. Was lucky enough to start life as a fan in the wonderful Ron Saunders era, with first the Little, Gray, Gidman, Cropley etc team which then evolved to the Withe, Shaw, Cowans, Morley, Bremner etc team with Mortimer a kingpin in both.

Since those glorious years it's been largely a roller coaster with the disaster of relegation in 87 followed by almost winning the league in 89/90 and 92/93 classic examples of how Villa went up and down like a yo-yo.. Saunders, Taylor and Atkinson are definitely my 3 favourite managers with Little and Gregory close behind. All of them got Villa and what a special club it is. That has been sorely missing both in the boardroom and on the pitch during the Lerner years.

Fav Manager- Ron Saunders
Fav Player- Brian Little followed very closely by Paul McGrath.
Fav Match- Beating Liverpool 2-0 in 1981 at Villa Park and my Father saying to me.. "You know kid, we may actually become Champions this season"
Occupation- Managing Director/owner of Forte Agency,Best Recruitment, Forte Luxury Car Hire

In 2003 my Father wrote the "Hodgson report" Mark 1which I was involved with along with Jonathan Fear, Carl and Buck Chinn and Jonny Gould. It had strong media coverage and was presented in front of a full house at the Aston Villa leisure centre.. Doug Ellis and the Villa board then met with the group and whilst Doug remained, it certainly identified that change was needed which did lead to the club being sold in 2006 to Randy Lerner.

My family have been friends/associates with numerous past owners/chairmen including Kartz, Bendall, Dugdale and Ellis.

For the past 2 years I have become close to the current Villa board. I have supplied the club through my employment agencies with hospitality staff and have had director memberships at Villa Park with two seats in the Directors Box and pre match meal in Directors suite.

I know Paul Faulkner and Robin Russell well. Both nice enough but very limited knowledge on Football, Aston Villa and always seemed out of touch with supporters and how they feel/what they need.

In January I wrote to Lerner as I was very concerned in the direction the club was heading, especially in the style of football that was being produced having just witnessed the horror festive trilogy that was Palace, Swansea and Sheff Utd at Villa Park.

I will post a copy of the letter and you will see it was not unreasonable and in most cases has proved to be correct. The reaction I got from Faulkner at Directors pre match for the Arsenal game whilst I had a guest waiting was both surprising and frankly shocking.. The gist of that reaction is in my Hodgson report which was written in February 2014.

The fact they were so paranoid and blind to what was going on and how the football we were playing would mean a crawl to safety at best meant I had to at least try and do something to expose how badly run we were. Villa banned me from the Directors box and refunded the money owing citing "Abusing my privileged position in Directors by discussing Randy Lerner's attendance record at Villa park (Dec 28th 2012 V Wigan being the last time)". However being critical and speculating on Lerner selling were, I remained convinced, the main reasons why. They also failed to recognise or mention that "This privileged position" had come at a cost of over £30,000 in 18 months plus match sponsorships on top.

For sure if I closed down twitter, and said everything was great and followed their line of "support" then I could return tomorrow. However blind support is not healthy and the club means too much to me to sit back and drink the good stuff there whilst the team go down the pan.

So I wrote the report and had interviews on WM with Paul Franks, Free Radio with Tom Ross and Unity FM with Daniel Raza.. The report struck a chord with so many fans who felt the same way. Sick of the apathy, excuse management and inferiority complex that has engulfed the club in recent years.. Its a magnificent club, with a superb, historic stadium that should be doing so much better.. Its easily on a par with Everton and Spurs and just needs the right personalities/knowledge at boardroom and management level.

Hopefully it finally looks like this period of sustained failure and mediocrity (4 years in a row is a first for me) could be coming to an end.. Fingers crossed because if we keep the same model next year with the same people then if we don't go down this time, it seems inevitable next year we will fall. As I say though I am very hopeful this takeover will happen and as long as the new owners learn from the Lerner years then we can start to regain our pride, our identity and place amongst the best clubs in England.

UTV
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:09 am

I heard the interview on WM. Seemed fair enough to me.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by pooligan on Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:53 am

I heard the interview to and more or less agreed with everything he said.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Trotters on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:52 am

I didn't. Damned time zones.

What was said and is there a link anywhere?
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Trainspotter on Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:56 pm

Keep up the good work Howard, someone needs to keep the bastards honest. I haven't heard Lambert, Faulkner or any of those clowns actually asked a difficult question this season by the press. AVTV is a joke! and it doesn't seem like anyone is accountable. We as a club need to ask the tough questions and as supporters we deserve a response.

Keep being a pest and speaking your mind Howard! UTV!
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Trotters on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:00 pm

The club have world very hard to keep a lid on that bottle mate. Across the board.

There's a reason why there are no painted bedsheets, pound sign protests and calls of "Randy Out" like there would have been under Doug Ellis.
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Trainspotter on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:55 pm

After the Southampton match I watch the AVTV review and the annoying presenter(don't know his name) always tries to put a positive spin on everything to the point that you cant take him seriously. his opening line after the game was........"So Villa now have taken 4 points from Southampton this season........."

That opening line really doesn't tell the whole story does it!
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:59 pm

It's sad that we consider 4 points against a club in a season to be a great result.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:45 pm

Trainspotter wrote:Keep up the good work Howard, someone needs to keep the bastards honest. I haven't heard Lambert, Faulkner or any of those clowns actually asked a difficult question this season by the press. AVTV is a joke! and it doesn't seem like anyone is accountable. We as a club need to ask the tough questions and as supporters we deserve a response.

Keep being a pest and speaking your mind Howard! UTV!

Thanks mate.. I'll keep exposing their incompetence and their deceit until they are out of our club. The club is rotten to the core and they have brought us to the brink of relegation.. Lerner has spent £200M in eight years yet has a weaker squad and worse points tally than the 42 points Ellis and DOL obtained when they exited the building. Any new owner must learn from this.. Money alone won't fix us. Yes its required but no boom/bust methods and we must appoint a board fit to run a big football club. You must have top knowledge of the modern game and knowledge of Aston Villa. Know how to communicate and work with your fan base.. Once this is in place a the best possible manager who can lay down strong foundations based on good, positive football must be appointed..
If these ingredients are used the rest will follow. Good players, playing good football and suddenly you have a club who has a far sunnier outlook. It really isn't rocket science but Lerner has continually missed the key ingredients to make this a success.
Fingers crossed better times are ahead but first and foremost we need a result on Sat for us and Stoke if possible.

UTV

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:22 pm

£200M, 8 years, 4 new managers and we're no better off. What a mess.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:28 pm

Ian wrote:£200M, 8 years, 4 new managers and we're no better off. What a mess.

Agreed. Squad wise and points wise we are probably worse off. He has improved Villa park, BMH, Holte Pub etc and his work with Acorns was first class.. However the failure to appoint a proper board has always been his biggest failing.. No football knowledge, no Villa knowledge despite many suitable people offering to help has always meant the wrong managers being appointed who have had too much autonomy (one in particular) and has led to a boom/bust administration.

The failure to ever change or learn from mistakes really irritates as so much of this mess could have been avoided.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:38 pm

I remember Steve Stride used to cop flak and was labelled Ellis' stooge - so many want him back now and rue him leaving.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:46 pm

Stride is a nice man and does have many years experience at Villa. Certainly would have helped keeping him on but ultimately a strong CEO like Cortese or Levy should have been sort after as Lerner is largely a hands off owner like the Spurs owner Joe Lewis.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:37 pm

Whatever happened to the ex CEO Richard FitzGerald?

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Trotters on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:38 pm

And Michael Cunnah (was that his name?)
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:44 pm

Neither could work with O Neill who was a monster to deal with.. I still have nightmares about the deal he approved for Beye.. £45K a week for 3 years and then barely talked to him, let alone played him.. (£7M blown on wages). Villa didn't learn though and blew similar amount on Hutton wages wise plus £4M transfer fee

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:10 am

Trotters wrote:I didn't. Damned time zones.

What was said and is there a link anywhere?

This was interview on Unity FM.. Don't have link for WM or Goal Zone one..

http://youtu.be/XepJfoN7R2w

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Denis_B on Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:56 am

Welcome HH - we meet again :)
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:00 am

Hello Den!

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by GadgetMan on Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:58 am

Mr Hodgson.

I've been expecting you... Very Happy 
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:29 pm

TheEgo wrote:Mr Hodgson.

I've been expecting you... Very Happy 

Shaken but not stirred Matty!

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by GadgetMan on Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:54 pm

HH 8166 wrote:
TheEgo wrote:Mr Hodgson.

I've been expecting you... Very Happy 

Shaken but not stirred Matty!

Haha! Always...

Good to see you on here too mate.
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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:18 am

HH 8166 wrote:Neither could work with O Neill who was a monster to deal with.. I still have nightmares about the deal he approved for Beye.. £45K a week for 3 years and then barely talked to him, let alone played him.. (£7M blown on wages). Villa didn't learn though and blew similar amount on Hutton wages wise plus £4M transfer fee


That is absolutely criminal. But they got away with blaming MON for everything for too long. MON was long gone when deals for Hutton, Makoun, N'Zogbia, Jenas were completed and I am sure these all had a pretty big impact on a deteriorating financial outlook. At least with some of MON's signings, Young, Milner and Downing, there were huge profits for the club. These were invested very badly.

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by HH 8166 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:30 pm

Farrell_10 wrote:
HH 8166 wrote:Neither could work with O Neill who was a monster to deal with.. I still have nightmares about the deal he approved for Beye.. £45K a week for 3 years and then barely talked to him, let alone played him.. (£7M blown on wages). Villa didn't learn though and blew similar amount on Hutton wages wise plus £4M transfer fee


That is absolutely criminal. But they got away with blaming MON for everything for too long. MON was long gone when deals for Hutton, Makoun, N'Zogbia, Jenas were completed and I am sure these all had a pretty big impact on a deteriorating financial outlook. At least with some of MON's signings, Young, Milner and Downing, there were huge profits for the club. These were invested very badly.

I agree. You can only blame MON for so long and he has been gone since 2010. Many mistakes have been made since. Bent will cost the club over £40M in transfer fee and wages alone!

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Re: Howard Hodgson - An Introduction

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:33 pm

HH 8166 wrote:
Farrell_10 wrote:
HH 8166 wrote:Neither could work with O Neill who was a monster to deal with.. I still have nightmares about the deal he approved for Beye.. £45K a week for 3 years and then barely talked to him, let alone played him.. (£7M blown on wages). Villa didn't learn though and blew similar amount on Hutton wages wise plus £4M transfer fee


That is absolutely criminal. But they got away with blaming MON for everything for too long. MON was long gone when deals for Hutton, Makoun, N'Zogbia, Jenas were completed and I am sure these all had a pretty big impact on a deteriorating financial outlook. At least with some of MON's signings, Young, Milner and Downing, there were huge profits for the club. These were invested very badly.

I agree. You can only blame MON for so long and he has been gone since 2010. Many mistakes have been made since. Bent will cost the club over £40M in transfer fee and wages alone!

Bloody hell. Unreal. DO you agree with me that Bent was sanctioned because of the Milner money and the fact that they planned to cash in on Young the following summer?

At the time he was paraded as a 'marquee' signing but I see him more as panic when relegation looked a distinct possibility and there were assets and funds to back it.

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