Villa to sell naming rights to the stands?


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So the Mirror have come out with an article that states that one of the new chief executive’s (Tom Fox) briefs is to sell the naming rights to the Villa park stands;

I can’t say this comes as much of a surprise, as it’s pretty obvious that it’s all about recouping Randy Lerner’s money, but I am somewhat disappointed.
It just wouldn’t seem right, referring to, say the Holte end, as the “Macron” stand or whatever.

I know what many of you will say.
“Does it really matter? That money might buy us a decent central midfielder/striker/(add your own option here), that might help us to push on”.
And indeed it might. If you believe that it’s all about providing extra money for the playing side.
I don’t believe that would be the case and while some of any revenue might go to Lambert’s coffers, you can bet your best trainers that this is about paying Randy back.

I’m also disappointed, because after all of Lerner’s talk about his respect for our history, you have to wonder how much he really meant what he was saying when he’s seemingly quite happy to surrender the Holte end name.
Again, I think I know what many of you will say, in that “It’ll still be known as the “Holte end” to me”.
Which is fine. It’ll always be known as the Holte end to me too. Just the same as the fourth stand is known to me as the Witton Lane.
The thing is, how many call it the Witton Lane now? Very few and people are happy to call it the Doug Ellis. The very thought of calling it that sticks in my craw, but I’m probably in a small minority.

The point is name changes are pretty quickly adopted by the majority, especially amongst newer/younger fans.
And given that it seems many Villa fans are incredibly proud of our contribution and founding part of the early days in the game, it just doesn’t sit right with me.
Even more so, when I hear fans of other clubs praise our ground as being a “proper” ground. A ground where we haven’t gone down the totally commercial route.
A traditional ground that away fans actually enjoy coming to, because they know what they’re getting; good facilities, a great view and generally a good atmosphere. Things they genuinely appreciate.
A ground that we shouldn’t mess about with, improvements apart, of course.

I wonder if this story has been put out by the club, to sort of sound out what “we”, the fans think?
Or more likely, to sound out if “they” can get away with it?
Which sadly, I think they probably will.
“Sadly”, because while it might contribute an extra few bob to the transfer kitty at first, it’ll just become part of our normal revenue in no time. So where’s the real benefit, the very short-term and Lerner’s pocket apart?

I suppose it could be worse, in that the Mirror article could be suggesting that the club are looking to sell the naming rights to the actual ground.
That, for me, would definitely be a step too far.


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  1. Benno
    Benno December 7, 2014 at 5:22 am . Reply

    If anyone at Villal had any brains, they would keep the Holte End as it is and only give out rights to the other stands (as nobody would really care, except maybe old Doug Ellis). But they probably wont think of this and just go and infuriate the fans again.

  2. Aladdin
    Aladdin December 7, 2014 at 6:39 am . Reply

    Perhaps they will give the Witton End stand a clean and put a bit of paint on the decaying ticket office building from the proceeds….the ground is looking tired and neglected.

    GIDDYVILLAN December 7, 2014 at 7:14 am . Reply

    Good post BADGER it sums up my views in a nut shell,so the Doug Ellis stand will be renamed???? will be a sad day when the holte changes it name but I’m sure for years to come it will always be known as the HOLTE END.I’m sure this revenue won’t be reinvested into the squad it will be yet more income for LERNER.

  4. Hitchens 60
    Hitchens 60 December 7, 2014 at 9:01 am . Reply

    Not sure what to think on this one. If we want any chance of moving forward we have to increase revenue streams and Tom Fox was employed (I suspect) principally for this purpose. I believe most Villa fans supported his appointment and the need to increase revenue therefore it’s a little perverse to object to the first proposal in support of that strategy.

    On the other hand selecting the Holte End is always likely to be controversial give its iconic status throughout football, not just amongst Villa fans. I suspect thus might say more about the (lack of) commercial attraction of the other stands than an insensitive decision by RL et al.

    How do I feel about it? Badger makes an excellent point in that the older you are the less you like change, enjoying the nostalgia that’s associated with experience. Younger people embrace change and in this world of increasing globalisation (football included) then I suppose commercial change is inevitable. It will be more acceptable if it leads to significant increased investment in the team – I suspect it increases the saleability of Villa.

    May have to accept it but don’t really like it

    1. Lamberk
      Lamberk December 7, 2014 at 9:42 am . Reply

      Nothing suprises me with regards that shit Lerner. If he thinks he can make a quick dollar then so be it and screw the rest of us.
      The heart and sole of Football ended in 1992 when this horrible Premier League started.
      The whole club is rotten to the core, from owner, manager, players and sorry to say the fans.
      By the way, if the club is still up for sale then my name is Alex McLeish.

  5. Neil Draper
    Neil Draper December 7, 2014 at 11:59 am . Reply

    It would be nice to be bought out by someone with ambition because we have the chance to be bigger than Chelsea Man City we had the fan base and they’ve been driven away by dross it’s a disgrace that people walk around the midlands in other teams colours should be ashamed of themselves and the people that run our clubs should hang there heads too

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath December 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm . Reply

      Spot on Neil tbh id rather see people walking round our city with Birmingham shirts on than utd etc makes me sick.

  6. Jay Dee
    Jay Dee December 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm . Reply

    Nothing lasts forever utv

  7. angel of light
    angel of light December 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm . Reply

    I don’t have a problem with this but then again, I don’t have a problem with Lerner – he has put money into the club and has decided to stop putting money in. There is no law stating he has to pour his own money into AVFC. I couldn’t care less if the stadium is renamed, let alone a single stand. It won’t stop me calling the ground “Villa Park” even if the naming rights have been sold. A bit whiny of some fans to complain.

    Of course, the club is up for sale but the problem is that no one wants to buy it. I think fans need to grip this. Its difficult because we would buy it like a shot because we adore the club. Sometimes, fans don’t understand that other people don’t see it the same way…….

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