Aston Villa fans continued to demonstrate against owner Randy Lerner by producing a host of protest banners during their home game against Chelsea on Saturday 2 April 2016
The majority of the fans inside Villa Park joined in the demonstration on the 74th-minute by holding up white card with the legend PROUD HISTORY, WHAT FUTURE? written across it, while others displayed home-made banners, or wore scarves and t-shirts with anti-Lerner slogans on.
Chants of ‘We want Lerner Out’ echoed around the ground while some fans made their banners into paper planes and flew them onto the pitch in the minutes after the protest.
The statement from the Aston Villa Protest Group prior to the Chelsea game:
Firmer Action Needed.
First of all we think it is only proper to hold our hands up and say we made a mistake. We acted in good faith in postponing the walkout yesterday with no hidden agenda and we felt it was the correct decision at the time.
It is clear though that we were wrong to show the club respect as it was made clear yesterday they have zero respect for us, the supporters. The behaviour seen by club officials at the Tottenham game is disgraceful and is indicative of a power structure failing to take responsibility and it must end. We want this regime changed and we as a collective need to make it happen sooner rather than later.
We have thought long and hard about the criticisms levelled at us for postponing the Tottenham walkout. We are a young protest group learning on the job and we would like to float an idea to you.
We are still happy to proceed with Out the Door on 74, however in light of the recent developments we believe firmer action is needed. The mood we encountered at the ground yesterday certainly suggests that.
Including the usual disappointment and understandable anger aimed at the board, we had the horror show as officials wrestled with ordinary, decent fans wanting to display an inoffensive message. We the supporters are hurting and we should be able to portray that hurt in a peaceful manner. Even the Tottenham Hotspur fans joined in with our Lerner Out songs.
So we are proposing Banners Out on 74. They may think they have control but Aston Villa Football Club is not a dictatorship so let’s give THEM pause for thought this time. This is Villa Park not North Korea. This has to be a democratic movement and we are more than willing to keep working as hard for you as we have intended since our inception.
Our initial alternative proposal would be that fans bring their own banners, of all sorts and of any size. Whether that be a bed sheet, a t-shirt, a tea towel, or even just a piece of A4 paper to visually display to a national audience their disgust.
Whatever the size or shape, it doesn’t matter. The cameras will capture it. We will hold them up on the 74th minute and they will stay held until the end of the game. The game is on TV of course, so the visual aspect will be electric and will only serve to further highlight the way our club has been driven in to the gutter.
If you put your faith in us once more we will also be looking at ways in which to assist fans who cannot bring their own. Though we absolutely encourage everyone to have their own say. This has to be your choice, we are still firmly committed to Out the Door on 74 Vs Chelsea if you feel that is correct.
Aston Villa Protest Group
Aston Villa 0-4 Chelsea
Saturday 2 April 2016