Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... Aston Villa fans vs Aston Villa Football Club

Protesters: Aston Villa fans
Target: Aston Villa Football Club
Location: Villa Park, Birmingham
Date: 15 June

The lowdown

Up to 500 fans protested at Villa Park prior to the appointment of former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish as Aston Villa boss. Fans surged through the Villa Park gates and occupied the club car park, while 15,000 fans joined a Facebook campaign against the hiring. The group was organised by Aston Villa fans Gary Simmons and Paul Williams, who were behind the planned protest.

Why the protests?

The fans were protesting because they did not want a former Birmingham City manager to take over, and they do not like his 'defensive' style of football. One protester told the Birmingham Post: 'We can't employ a manager who has taken Birmingham City down twice, we can do much better than him. I've been coming here since 1975 and I won't be coming to watch McLeish and his negative football.'

How did Aston Villa respond?

In a message to Villa fans, club director Charles Krulak said: 'You cling to the fact he's seen his lads relegated twice. The first time he was not with the club long enough to make a difference and the owners he's worked for have not provided him with sufficient money to buy players.'

How did the media cover it?

The protest was covered extensively on sports pages. Coverage continued following the appointment of McLeish on 17 June despite fans' protests.

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