Picture courtesy of www.7500toHolte.com
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.