In a late statement from the club today, Dr. Tony Xia provided answers to the vast majority of questions that fans have been clamouring for.
The statement from Tony Xia read;
Firstly, I would like to thank you for your patience during what has been an uncertain period on and off the pitch for the club. Losing out on promotion to the Premier League was a disappointment to us all – not least you, the fans, whose support took us to the brink of promotion.
I would like to apologise for the lack of communication in recent weeks. This has been largely as a consequence of the many business decisions that have been required to be taken as the implications of losing the play-off final become a reality that we must face.
I am now in a position to provide a comprehensive update on the club’s situation in the hope that we can continue our preparation for the season ahead with renewed focus and determination.
For the avoidance of doubt, I remain a proud and committed owner of this football club and with that accept and embrace the responsibilities to the fans, players and staff.
In recent weeks there have been changes at senior management level and these changes have been made with the intention of establishing a focused, calculated approach.
Of course, given the financial realities, it would be prudent of us to be open and receptive to any potential minority strategic investment that would aid our objectives to consolidate after a tumultuous summer and ultimately achieve our ambition of returning to the Premier League. We will be very selective in any discussions to ensure that the club’s best interests remain the focal point.
Having assumed the role of acting CEO, I have been working closely with the senior management team to improve efficiency and effectiveness. A more measured approach will enable us to overcome the implications of Financial Fair Play after two years of significant investment in the football department. We need to generate sufficient revenue to ensure the smooth-running of the club without compromising the standards of this great institution.
With that comes a reality check over performance and expectation for the season ahead but also the opportunity to work smartly in the transfer market, bring through young talent and draw on the experience of our manager.
I have had numerous conversations with Steve Bruce in recent weeks, which only reinforced how fortunate we are to have someone of his experience and standing in the game. His leadership will be important for us on the field, as a club and as a community and I thank him for his loyalty.
These qualities will be essential as we begin a new season with the fresh hope and expectation it inevitably brings. While we would never want to compromise our ambitions, we must however be prepared to do so in a measured and realistic manner, hence the necessary business decisions I have outlined.
Lastly, I am aware that there are a number of stories being written about the club and to be definitive I would like it to be known that:
1. I have not put the club up for sale
2. I would consider minority investment stakes that bring strategic value to the club to help us achieve our goals but this will be considered extremely carefully
3. I have not received an offer of 51%
4. I have received an offer of 30% but we did not believe there was strategic value and we did not know the source of the money
5. We have been approached numerous times and we have turned away numerous approaches
6. FFP is a burden and we need to work within the defined parameters over the course of the next 12 months and beyond and as we have done in the previous 12 months
7. To be clear, to meet FFP we need to player trade. No shareholding sale of any size will contribute to meeting FFP. We must reduce costs and increase revenue
8. Selling any size of shareholding in the club will not aid in respect to FFP
9. Steve Bruce remains in charge with my support
10. There is significant football experience within our playing department and our football administration team who will be supported by the club admin team
11. I have made significant investments into the club and all loans provided up to 31st May have now been converted into equity as part of the club’s compliance with FFP rules
12. We are bank loan free but continue to evaluate opportunities to create sensible solutions with regards to financing as is common in most business practises
13. The EFL have shown no concern over the ‘lack of football experience within the club’
14. Work continues at pace at the Recon Training Complex as a result of the HS2 project
15. Work continues on the pitch at Villa Park and is on schedule
I would like to once again thank you for all your support.
Dr Tony Xia”
He thanks the fans for their patience, of which not much has been shown.
He then goes on to apologise for the lack of communication; which we’re sure a lot of people appreciate, and tells us that he was not able to communicate due to business decisions.
Whilst a lot of the answers provided in the above statement are not entirely straightforward – with him stating that the club should be open and receptive to strategic investment – meaning that we’re not out of the woods by any means, he’s still answering a lot of questions raised by the fans and media.
He backs this up saying that the club need to generate sufficient revenue to ensure the smooth running of this ‘great institution’.
Tony Xia then confirms that Steve Bruce will be staying in the role of manager. That’s good news, regardless of whether you want him at the club. Aston Villa needs stability after this torrid affair.
He moves on to say that their current situation gives the club the opportunity to work smartly in the transfer market and bring through young talent. With Harry McKirdy, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Easah Suliman, Jack Clarke, Mitch Clark and Jake Doyle-Hayes all training in Portugal at the moment – that looks like the wheels are already set in motion regarding that.
Following this, Tony Xia clears up a number of issues that the mass media have been reporting on recently – dismissing a lot of these as false.
Whilst it doesn’t make up for the situation that we’ve found ourselves in over this summer – it’s certainly something – and something is a lot more than other owners at other clubs would give.
Now you’ve got your answers, it’s time to support whichever players are on that pitch come August. Even if it is a full XI of youth talent. They’re representing Aston Villa.
His answers don’t make up for what we’ve been put through by any means. But as long as the club still functions, you should be roaring behind it.
Up the Villa, always.