One man owns Aston Villa Football Club. There are no shareholders and there is nobody we can shout at about getting him replaced. There is no tribunal or ombudsman to help. Randy Lerner is our owner and unless he decides to sell he will remain our owner.
A few years ago, I took a lot of stick for suggesting that Lerner was only here for the money. I took a lot of stick for suggesting he was just like Doug Ellis. I hold my hands up now; he's nothing like Ellis.
Doug was here day in day out and believe it or not, Aston Villa came first. Randy isn't, but he was never going to be. Those blinded by the early PR have woken up to the truth of Randy Lerner. And like it or not, he is the cause of the problem. Or actually, he is the one man that can fix it.
And he is here for the money. Our net spend since 2006, when he took over is about, depending on who you believe when transfer fees are written, £75,000,000, or to be a little more specific, about £12,500,000 a season.
Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of money for us, but in the world of football it isn't that much, especially when you consider the increase in TV revenue we had and the increase to come and that the club have borrowed as much as any bank would lend.
And it just turns out that our bank is actually Randy Lerner. It's genius. Doug never thought of that. But again, don't blame Lerner - he has put the money in and it was exactly what we all wanted. For me, it was that Ellis was unwilling, or maybe even unable, to take that next step. Lerner has done it, so hat tip time.
Top down, bottom up
But that isn't the problem. The problem is culture. The problem is how people, at the club and not just footballers think and act and represent Aston Villa. It's about communication and about supporters. It's about what Aston Villa Football Club should stand and aim for.
So, again, don't blame Randy. It isn't his fault. He is so far removed from Aston Villa Football Club that forcing any energy in that direction is just a waste. The problems at Aston Villa right now are at the feet and desk of one person; Paul Faulkner.
Some of the players are still bemused at why the previous manager was appointed. Some of the staff at Aston Villa have lost faith in the owner because actions have bot been taken and stupid decisions have been made. Supporters are expected to just brush it under the table and not talk about it and just pretend it never happened. And we do.
There is a growing feeling inside the club and with supporters that Aston Villa are destined for nothing other than Premier League mediocrity. Some are going so far as to predict relegation one day in the future. They base these predictions on what they see and hear and clubs that have gone down this road in the past have gone down, so while I'll say it will never happen, I'm also a little blind to that possibility.
Every company, every group of friends and every football club need someone to look up to and be inspired by. They need a leader.
Again with the dark day
That day last year when the previous manager was appointed was a horrible day for Aston Villa. That was the day our CEO confirmed what he thought about the club. That was the day when our CEO and our owner, because he could have said no, said that was what we were worth. That was the value he put on Aston Villa Football Club. Think about that for a moment, really think about it.
Had you asked 100 Aston Villa fans about appointing Alex McLeish, 99% of them would have said don't do it. Had you asked 100 so called football pundits about appointing Alex McLeish, the majority would have said it was a bad idea. Hell, I and many on this website predicted exactly what happened.
But it wasn't about the football. It's about Aston Villa Football Club. The day that decision was made was and will remain a dark day for this Football Club.
Time for Lambert
We need a football man to be brought in to run things at Aston Villa and we need someone to bring the pride back. Words don't cut it, it's all about actions, isn't that what Krulak used to say? And what does the action of appointing the previous manager say about the man that did it?
But, it isn't just about the manager or the players. It is about how people at the club feel, about what they believe and about what they know. It's also massively about the supporters. There is little belief at Aston Villa right now, the players have little real belief but this isn't about Lambert. These problems were at the club before Lambert joined and have been for a while.
Say what you want about Ellis, he knew footballers and he knew football men. He also brought silverware to Villa Park. Not much I grant you, but he knew the game. Does anyone think he would have appointed the previous manager? He wouldn't have done it simply because of where he was - forget about football.
It's a cultural thing
Change needs to happen and not with the players or the manager. Real change needs to happen at the club and throughout the supporter base and how can we take anything from the club right now seriously when the man that created that dark day remains? Forget about Lerner and his involvement on a day to day basis because he isn't.
Right now we're a ship without a rudder. Yes, be angry or upset and yes vent your frustrations, but the problems we have at the moment go a lot deeper than the playing staff or the manager. Aston Villa is all about a pay check at the moment and watching this happen isn't nice.
We need a leader. We need someone to inspire. We need the belief back or at the very least a vision and some sort of plan. Can anyone tell me what the vision for this Football Club is right now other than paying the interest and management fees and staying in the Premier League?
It isn't good enough but look around you, others see it and think it now and it's no longer just Aston Villa fans. What was it Jonathan Fear called for; roots and branch change. I've not seen it, but I still believe it is necessary.