The Bells Are Ringing


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The Owner and his CEO...

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:02 pm

Well we have a Paul Lambert thread, so we might as well have one on the people a few of us believe are more to blame for the current situation.

Here's my take on them.

Randy Lerner: For me, a well intentioned yet ultimately naive man. I feel he was naive to trust O'Neill as much as he did, obviously in the belief that O'Neill could build success by getting us into the much sought CL. After O'Neill's spitefully timed exit, he was naive again with his replacements. He brought in Houllier a man who had been a successful manager, but also one prone to putting the backs of players up and who had been out of frontline management for some time. Then there was McLeish, ultimately an amiable enough bloke but a man who plainly wasn't going to fly at B6. The demise of the McLeish era brought us Paul Lambert. I don't think many thought Lambert was a bad appointment at the time, I personally don't believe he is a bad one now but I don't think the current status of the club is something we should celebrate. I don't know whether it is Lerner or Lambert who is behind the young and hungry, financially sustainable approach but it is an approach that strikes me as naive (there's that word again). I honestly can't help but think that the focus on making the club financially sustainable and reducing debt such as through the debt to equity move last season is a way for Lerner to make the club more attractive to any passing billionaire.

Paul Faulkner: A man who gets a lot of stick, which I'm not sure he deserves. Whilst there is little in his CV to suggest he should be a football CEO I see him as being something of Lerner's yes man on the ground when it comes to the footballing decisions such as managerial appointments. Commercially, an area I'd say he has a lot more say, the club have been busy trying to draw in new partners and bring in more funding. However, there are still question marks. I remember there being some claims on another forum that Faulkner's previous role at the club before becoming CEO involved negotiating some of the contracts in the O'Neill era, which is worrying if true.

So what is YOUR take on the club's leadership?
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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:29 pm

Excellent summary. I think, in general, they have got off very lightly. There has been little scrutiny really of either during their time at villa.

I think both have their qualities, but both also have their faults. I think it's mind boggling to see just how much money was badly invested, and it must be said, a lot of it after MON left. Millions and millions just wasted.

It is also baffling to think that they genuinely felt it was worth risking relegation to address those issues. What would have happened if the austerity being implemented actually led to our relegation? Wouldn't that have furthered dented our finances, and what then? A fire-sale, further debts and a poor squad struggling in the championship?

Might sound extreme but we are very lucky to still be top flight. Under McLeish we got 38 points, last season we somehow got to 41 points despite being on only 24 at the beginning of March (33 the year McLeish managed us).

I think the club leadership have shown great incompetence and our stature now is no different to 2006. That's the sad reality. In fact, there is a lot to support a thesis that we have gone backwards given that relegation scraps used to be quite isolated affairs up to 2006.
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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:08 pm

Agree with both of you!
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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:01 pm

It's an omnishambles.
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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:08 pm

I think Lerner became Villa's custodian with good intentions.

He sanctioned the upgrade of the training ground, made the right noises and actions like improving the cosmetic appearance of Villa Park, breathing new life into the dead Holte Hotel, and then trusting the manager (Martin O'Neill) with significant funds. Funds that the manager subsequently spunked.

Manchester City being bought by the Arabs changed everything, and with Villa not yet established in the big four, City's emergence made that task more difficult. Difficult to the point that I simply feel that Lerner lost interest in his toy and now wants to recoup his outlay. The cost cutting has been on the verge of reckless in my opinion, and part of the reason I have sympathy with Paul Lambert. Whatever the Scot's limitations, the cost cutting in the face of increased TV revenues must feel like trying to do the job with both hands and a foot tied behind his back.

There were recent media reports that the club were for sale for a figure of £200M - the club denied it. I suspect that if someone pitched up with the money the deal would be done.

But for those wanting Lerner to sell, they should be careful what they wish for. In some ways we were fortunate to get Lerner, at least initially. I remember back in 2006 other consortia reportedly lining up bids, including one fronted by a former Birmingham City player who some suspected wanted to asset-strip! We only have to look to our neighbours and to see some of the crap that can pass for owners. Birmingham have a Chinese hairdresser as owner who just happens to be currently banged up for money laundering. In the past they had Samesh Kumar, who in tandem with manager Barry Fry managed to keep the Claret and blue half of the second city in hysterics. Then there was Wolves with the Bhatti brothers.

For all we bemoan Lerner being bored, uninterested, naive or even incompetant, we don't want a Kumar, Bhatti or Yeung. The fact that these are just the tip of a very large iceberg to dodgy club owners shows what a nervous time the sale of any club should be for its fans.
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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:24 pm

Chris Harte wrote:There were recent media reports that the club were for sale for a figure of £200M - the club denied it. I suspect that if someone pitched up with the money the deal would be done.

But for those wanting Lerner to sell, they should be careful what they wish for.

Agreed Chris, in particular on both of these points. I think things such as reducing the debt are geared towards making the club appear more attractive to the prospective buyer, but if that guy doesn't come then Lerner will happily keep running the club as is. As for the second point, for an example of that we need look no further than the Browns. I don't follow American Football particularly much, but my understanding is that the current owner is doing even more poorly than Lerner. The problem is, that as he's the owner you can't really turn round and tell him to fuck off. There are fewer good owners out there than there are managers and players.
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Post by Trotters on Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:43 am

There's a whole background to all of Lerner's reign that has never sat right with me. His business managers in Brooklyn (recently moved to swanky new offices on Fifth Ave) and their "connections" (I believe that is where Faulkner was originally posted), the over-inflated sale of his NFL team to a bloke who also has questionable connections, Lerner's bravado when first purchasing the club, statements of intention, the hiring of some heavy hitting sports people that, all of a sudden and for no reason that I can figure out, just vanished. To be replaced by the lad from BNYH Fifth Avenue.

There's no doubt in my mind that Lerner has made mistake after mistake. And while he may still have the best of intentions for this club as a business, I'm not sure he can run it as a sports venture.

When Abramovich took over at Chelsea, he learnt everything he good about the sport - on the pitch and off. Randy though...just seems to be bumbling along from one season to the next.
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Post by Guest on Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:50 pm

Er hang on the wages have gone up now?
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Post by Guest on Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:58 pm

I would like to say I contacted Paul Faulkner for help with my fund raising for my London Marathon and he has donated two tickets in the 1884 lounge what I club we support!
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Post by Guest on Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:24 pm

That's what's so frustrating, they have got the off pitch stuff sorted but on the pitch they are clueless.
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Post by Guest on Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:37 pm

I know its almost heartbreaking - Hull City won't even give me a signed ball never mind a shirt or anything......
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Post by Guest on Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:50 pm

It's Hull Tigers, that's why.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:52 pm

If only a third of the home games were like yesterday then we'd probably wouldn't be having this discussion and we'd be lauding a great club policy.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:13 pm

Chris Harte wrote:If only a third of the home games were like yesterday then we'd probably wouldn't be having this discussion and we'd be lauding a great club policy.

The margins are indeed thin. Just looking back over last few years, this is the most points we have had at this stage of a season since 2009/10. We still have a few so-called winnable games left. I wonder can we top the 48 points we ended with in the Houllier season (the year we went into our final two games against Arsenal and Liverpool on 42 points.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:59 pm

That was a bizarre season - we were looking destined for relegation at one stage under GH.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:43 pm

Remember the Wolves and Sunderland games?
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:46 pm

I was at that fucking Sunderland game...

Three hundred miles I went to watch that.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:54 pm

You did indeed but we met Brad and Clark.
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Post by Trotters on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:00 am

Whenever I see anything related to the Russian mob on TV I think of BNYH. Nothing will convince me that there's nothing behind Lerner Snr, that company, the deal to sell his family heritage over the odds and Randy's total flip flop between spending a shit tonne of cash on everything from pubs and scarves to Habib Beye and then suddenly it all stops dead.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:23 am

I prefer to think that naivety was behind the spending binge. Trust was placed in O'Neill but he did not deliver success. At that point Lerner caught a cold and embarked upon the financial retrenchment we have seen in recent seasons.

I like this theory, as it manages not to be far fetched or libelous.
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Post by Trotters on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:25 am

Some fans forums are concerned with libel and slander. They're pussy-holes.

I say it as I see it.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:34 am

Well it is a theory, no less or more valid than others.

What's your evidence?
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Post by Trotters on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:42 am

Family has a Russian background, BNYH seems shady to me from its humble beginnings near Brighton Beach, the fact that tonnes of money was shovelled into the Villa - enough to make us champions, or at least have a realistic tilt at it - but it was spent on things that made no sense. Was someone "doing a Carson"?

Then Randy starts to look less than well, his marriage falls apart (did she find something out she wasn't supposed to)?

The manager up sticks and heads for the hills without warning at the most strange time. Maybe there was more to it than a simple trimming back of funds?

Randy has gone from having a tattoo to try and make it all look legit and now doesn't even bother coming to the UK any more.

Then when the browns (his family heritage) were offloaded in a bizarre deal, it was all change at the Villa. Randy suddenly has the money to spend but now isn't spending it.

Who was behind that Browns deal? And was it some kind of conclusion of business between certain parties?

Even on the surface, you have to admit that very little of what's happened over the last few years makes any financial sense.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:49 am

@Trotters wrote:Even on the surface, you have to admit that very little of what's happened over the last few years makes any financial sense.

I agree with that. It's the rest of it that I have trouble with. Still, it's your opinion and one you are entitled to, no matter how I feel about it.
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:03 am

We don't need evidence to speculate :)
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