British football team Aston Villa is doing poorly and its fans are hopping mad. With the team scoring only 11 Premier League goals in the current season, the lowest of any team in the top eight divisions, fans are voting with their feet. Brian Reade of the Daily Mirror reports that three Aston Villa fans’ websites have proposed a protest in which fans leave their seats empty for the first 8 minutes of the home game against Liverpool. The eight minutes represent the number of seasons since American Randy Lerner bought the team. The theme of the protest is “We want our Villa back!”
The feeling is, according to Reade, that “Lerner appears to have long washed his hands of Villa.” In the initial excitement at buying the team, he had Aston Villa’s symbol tatttoed on his ankle, and now he barely attends any games. Reade writers, “It was as though the American realised … how hard it is to make money out of English football—or rather, how easy it is to lose it.”
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Some blame manager Paul Lambert, but it is hard to find good managers when the prospects are not rewarding. Reade recounts, “I know a high profile manager who was interviewed for the Villa job and wanted to take it … until Lerner told him how much he’d have to spend on new players and salaries. He laughed and declined. Paul Lambert didn’t.”