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The Guardian


Villa's general wows fans with talk of Becks and thongs



Randy Lerner's right-hand man has gone online to reveal his thoughts about the state of the club


Stuart James

Saturday December 23, 2006

The Guardian


With an American owner at the helm, the notion that democracy reigns at Aston Villa should hardly come as a surprise. However, even the most open-minded fans have been taken aback by a Villa director's willingness to post messages on supporters' websites, discussing everything from signing David Beckham and extending Martin O'Neill's contract to receiving sloppy kisses and the need for more comfortable women's underwear to be stocked in the club shop.


Enter General Charles C Krulak. Randy Lerner's right-hand man, a former US Marine Corps Commandant and military adviser to the White House, has spent the past two months enlightening Villa fans with his candid and, more often than not, comedic views on internet message boards. Supporters could have been forgiven for dismissing "C Krulak" as an impostor when the name first appeared in October but club officials have confirmed this is not the work of a prankster.


Indeed, in one of his early messages Krulak explains: "I am on this site because, like Randy, I truly care about what fans say and feel." It is a novel approach which Villa's supporters have warmed to, with the general's response to those applauding his contribution typical of the bizarre humour that characterises many of his messages. "Thank you!" he writes. "In the immortal words of that famous centre-half, Clint Eastwood, 'You made my day!'"


Krulak's knowledge of football is clearly embryonic - he describes the strip he recently bought his "soon to be 94" father as "an Aston Villa game kit" and one supporter points out that he should be using the word "pitch" not "field" - but the 64-year-old does not mind being educated. "Thank you for the English lesson . . . and I mean that," he writes. "Last thing I want to do is appear to be some Yank who doesn't understand the King's or Queen's English."


He is not completely in the dark on footballing matters, though. "We all understand who David Beckham is (remember, Randy and I lived and worked in the UK from 2000-2004 and Randy still has a home here . . . and we are both here very often)," he writes with regard to reported interest in the former England captain. "Becks is a great player and a huge name but we only want those that Martin wants. There is absolutely NO sense in telling the manager who to go after!"


Krulak, who reveals that Lerner "is a brilliant musician . . . a guitarist that plays with some of the best ever", admits the owner could see dollar signs when he took over. He is not just after a quick buck, though. "Although Randy believes that we can make money at Aston Villa, he realises it is not a 'cash cow' and was never interested in that as a mission. With that as a given, he was and is taken by the tradition, ethos and 'soul' of the Aston Villa FC."


His analysis of matches is not so eloquent. "Great win! oooohhhhrrr-aaaahhhh! I love it! Mon [Martin O'Neill] and his claret and blue army were superb!" he wrote after the 1-0 victory at Everton. Recent results have been less uplifting and Saturday's defeat to Bolton prompted him to describe the away match at Charlton tomorrow week as "must win".


Krulak does admit on one website that he did not imagine that sending messages would be "so time-consuming" and, as a result, he now sets aside an hour daily to post comments. He encourages feedback and claims each suggestion "will have its day in court". He is also not afraid to ask supporters for advice, recently seeking help to find a website where he could view images of old kits, with the club apparently considering reverting to a more traditional design.


According to Krulak, a new strip will not be the only noticeable change at Villa. "Stadium expansion: first the Holte Inn, then Holte End, then North End . . . just watch us," he writes. "Global brand . . . absolutely! As an example, we are on our way to Soccerex in Dubai just for that reason . . . we are looking into a foray into the Czech Republic and, obviously, we are looking at ways to expand closer to home . . . a year from now we will be in many locations that are just a dream now."


As for the festive period, Krulak has four wishes. After "health for my family" and "safety for the troops deployed around the world", he hopes his presents will include "a continuing steady progress on the pitch for Aston Villa" and "a return of the fans". He has also been thinking pants. "How many women like to sit on a cold seat at Villa Park wearing a thong???" asks the general. "Hev", a "female fanatic" who offered Krulak a "sloppy kiss" for his postings, did not reply.

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Guest Alan_Shearer

You really should highlight the important bits for us lazy sods who dont wanna read a massive article...and MArtins rules. :lol:

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It's a good gesture but part of me thinks it's a clever publicity stunt. I took a browse on the guy's thread and he seems to be an informal mouthpiece for Randy Lerner.


Krulak is on the board, was Lerner's right hand man at MBNA Europe and is playing a very hands-on role at the club at the moment, so he is not an informal mouthpiece for Lerner, he is a formal mouthpiece.


The fact is that since they took over, they have listened more in a few months than previous boards did for decades. They know they've got to deliver, or all this dialogue won't matter, but so far they have been phenomenal.



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