Former Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore has called for Randy Lerner to “sell up and go” after his regular programme column was axed.
The 44-year-old broadcaster and Villa fan, who offered his footballing services to the club in the summer, has been notified that his regular feature in the club’s matchday magazine has been chopped.
The reason why the club have decided to sever their ties with the former frontman, who played for Villa between 1997-2000, is because of Collymore’s support for boss Tim Sherwood and his criticism of the ownership and club structure, according to Collymore himself.
Collymore said: “After six years of doing an official Aston Villa programme column, today I’ve been notified by the club that they no longer wish me to continue due to my support of Tim Sherwood and fierce criticism of the ownership and club structure.
“The club felt in essence that it would be inappropriate for me to write positively in a column whilst being critical on air or in a newspaper.
“The column I have written for six years was at no charge to Aston Villa, but the club kindly gave me four or five tickets a season for games.
“I’ve asked for two which the club kindly have given for the Swansea game.
“I am firstly a broadcaster, and a broadcaster who treats every club in the country the same. So if ownership is letting fans down, as proven last night on perhaps the only football show in the country which actually addresses issues rather than ignore them or pretend they don’t exist, we debate them and criticise or praise where necessary.
“This has and always must be my objective as a broadcaster, to treat Aston Villa the same as any club. I do and I will.”
TalkSPORT presenter Collymore said Villa have become the “laughing stock of the Premier League” and claimed owner Lerner and director of football Tom Fox are “not fit for purpose”.
“On the watch of Mr Lerner, and laterly Tom Fox as chief executive, and Paul Faulkner before him, the club I have supported since childhood have become the laughing stock of the Premier League. This, England’s fourth most successful football club.
“So do I pretend on sir everything is great? Or do I broadcast justifiable criticism alongside one of the best in the business, Mark Saggers, echoing the concerns of a huge fanbase, as they come to terms with a sixth year of complete and utter dross on the pitch, and ineptitude of the highest order off it?
Aston Villa Football Club Read: https://t.co/vCVTsJp4Sk
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) October 20, 2015
“I met Tom Fox in the summer and said to his face that I wanted to do anything, anything to help my club moving forward. Get on a plane, train, in a car, watch players, report back, anything to help my club.
“A smile , a coffee and a patronising ‘we’ll call you’ came and went.
“I believe this treatment is symptomatic of how Villa fans generally are treated by the current owner, with disdain.
“Mr Lerner, Tom Fox, the current director of football and technical staff are not fit for purpose. They all should go, now.
“As for Tim Sherwood, he gets my unequivocal support and should get the same from every Villa fan. He really could have had no idea what mess he was coming into or some of the najor decisions that he would have no hand in. An incredibly tough job.
“I’ll walk into Villa Park soon with chest puffed out as a fan or broadcaster. It’s my club and I was here before this current ownership, firstly in the Doug Ellis stand aged six, then on the pitch aged 27, then in the broadcast booth aged 35. I’m going nowhere.
“Our great club will be back, but only with new ownership. So please Mr Lerner, instead of petty sackings of columnists who tell the truth about our club, please sell up and go.”