Like many, I have a love hate relationship with Stan Collymore. I sometimes think that he doesn't think about what he says and it baffles me that he writes stuff and publishes it without thinking it through. But you can't help actually love Collymore but also hate him at the same time. Stan Collymore is Aston Villa Marmite.
And I say this because he played for Aston Villa and he's an Aston Villa fan. He's dome something we've all dreamt of doing, even if it felt a little like he let us down. The truth is, none of us know what happened when he was at the club or what he was fighting. But I don't know many that will also say he doesn't wind a few up too and because of everything, it doesn't take much.
I'll quote and link to what he has written below, but I'm going to summarise it in bullet points so you don't have to read it all if you don't want to.
- The club have notified Stan that they don't want him to do that match day column anymore.
- Stan is a broadcaster first.
- So he's drawn a line and wants to join fan groups to support a change of ownership at the club.
- He also claims Mr Lerner, Tom a Fox and the current Director of Football and technical staff are not fit for purpose. And they all should go too.
It's just a little
I don't know what to write without getting into trouble. If this really is what Stan thought, that Fox and Lerner have to go and he is a broadcaster first, why did it take the club notifying him that his 'free' services were not longer needed, before coming out with it?
Is it just a coincidence? It feels like if they were to have kept him on, he'd not have said anything. To come out with this now feels a little disproportionate.
And maybe I'm wrong on this next part and I'm not sure it really matters, but do we have a Director of Football? I don't think we do, but I'm only going on this post here.
Lastly, he suggests that Lerner shouldn't sack Sherwood instead he should sell up and go. Now, everyone will remember that I've long questioned Lerner - from pretty much day one, while others were more than happy to sing the mans name and not question his motives, but have I missed something and has Lerner taken the club off the market?
I mean, the club is for sale isn't it? What does Collymore want the owner to do; sell up to the first person to make him an offer, okay, I'll offer Lerner my life savings, everything I have for 51% of the club. Does that mean Lerner should sell?
The Doug Ellis story
Some of you will know this but I started a petition a number of years ago basically asking for the board and manager to resign. I started it in anger the night of us losing to The Clowns. A few weeks later there were marches and Villa Fans Combined was born. I soon got out of it all because I was told by someone very close to Ellis that he was actively trying to find someone to sell the club to and had been for a couple of years.
And when I say someone close to Ellis, I mean close in the business sense in actively trying to find a buyer. Ellis had attempted to do the right thing before any protests and before any petition. So is Lerner.
Lerner has to sack Tim Sherwood however and bring in someone that can keep us up. And he's got to bring in the right people to speak to and maybe Stan Collymore is one of those he should spend some time with because he's sadly got to stop listening to the likes of the Sporting Director and CEO, because they're not football people and they don't have Aston Villa at heart.
But Stan can't just expect them to pack up and leave. If nobody wants to meet his price, which is fair and reduced, then what is expected of him? From where I'm sitting, Lerner has just listened to the wrong people too many times. I'd be seriously worried about him selling up to the wrong person and us ending up more of a mess than we are right now.
I believe we're close and we should focus on football. Not throw our toys out of the pram because we've had our ego dented.
What he wrote in full
After 6 years of doing an official Aston Villa programme column, today I've been notified by the club that they no longer wish me to continue due to my support of Tim Sherwood and fierce criticism of the ownership and club structure.
The club felt is essence that it would be inappropriate for me to write positively in a column whilst being critical on air or in a newspaper.
The column I have written for 6 years was at no charge to Aston Villa, but the club kindly gave me 4 or 5 tickets a season for games. I've asked for two which the club kindly have given for the Swansea game.
I am firstly a broadcaster, and a broadcaster who treats every club in the country the same. So if ownership is letting fans down, as proven last night on perhaps the only football show in the country which actually addresses issues rather than ignore them or pretend they don't exist, we debate them and criticise or praise where necessary.
This has and always must be my objective as a broadcaster, to treat Aston Villa the same as any club. I do and I will.
On the watch of Mr Lerner, and laterly Tom Fox as Chief Executive, and Paul Faulkner before him, the club I have supported since childhood have become the laughing stock of the Premier League. This, Englands 4th most successful football club.
So do I pretend on sir everything is great? Or do I broadcast justifiable criticism alongside one of the best in the business, Mark Saggers, echoing the concerns of a huge fanbase, as they come to terms with a 6th year of complete and utter dross on the pitch, and ineptitude of the highest order off it?
I met Tom Fox in the summer and said to his face that I wanted to do anything, anything to help my club moving forward. Get on a plane, train, in a car, watch players, report back, anything to help my club.
A smile , a coffee and a patronising " we'll call you" cane and went. At the same time Aston Villa were employing a marketing man, that's a marketing man as Director of Football. And we wonder why we are in the mess we are in. Industry professionals ignored when offering help, a man who can put a glossy Arsenal pitch together made Director of Football at my club.
The line is drawn now for me. It took an embarrassed Rob Bishop, programme editor and friend for over 18 years to tell me over the phone that my column had ended "for now", but in reality for good.
I believe this treatment is symptomatic of how Villa fans generally are treated by the current owner , with disdain.
I will now join fan groups and individuals actively looking to other potential owners to come in swiftly and hasten change at Aston Villa Football Club.
Mr Lerner, Tom a Fox, the current Director of Football and technical staff are not fit for purpose. They all should go, now.
As for Tim Sherwood, he gets my unequivocal support and should get the same from every Villa fan. He really could have had no idea what mess he was coming into or some of the najor decisions that he would have no hand in. An incredibly tough job.
I'll walk into Villa Park soon with chest puffed out as a fan or broadcaster. It's my club and I was here before this current ownership, firstly in the Doug Ellis stand aged 6, then on the pitch aged 27, then in the broadcast booth aged 35. I'm going nowhere.
Our great club will be back, but only with new ownership. So please Mr Lerner, instead of petty sackings of columnists who tell the truth about our club, please sell up and go.Stan Collymore, Source: TwitLonger
Before I go, I want to stress as much as possible, that this isn't me having a pop at Stan. He lived the dream, I'm jealous of Stan. But I do wish he'd have thought before getting angry and posting this because it doesn't help, mostly because he is a broadcaster and it feels a little vindictive.