Should I Stay or Should I Go? A View on the 74 Minute Walk Out

Following the first 74 minute walk out protest, new MOMS writer Molly Jennens calls for supporter solidarity however you want to make your feelings known to the board...

By Molly Jennens

As I walked up Witton Lane towards Villa Park, a single supporter chanted “We want Randy Lerner out”, 60 minutes later it was ringing out around all four stands inside the ground.

The planned walk out was to protest about just that; Randy Lerner, Tom Fox and everyone associated with the club from middle-management upwards. After five years of painful decline under owner Randy Lerner, Villa fans are now voting with their feet. Unfortunately, for Lerner to walk away, he has to find a buyer first.

There wasn’t very many at Villa Park to begin with, just over 29,000 (the ‘official’ figure claimed) turned out to watch Aston Villa lose 3-1 to Everton on a cold, Tuesday night. In all honesty, it looked as if the spirit of the players had already walked out before the game had even begun. Heads down, shrugged shoulders and wandering eyes looking for the next player to blame.

A handful of fans couldn’t bare to watch until the time of the planned protest, with many leaving after Lukaku made it 3-0 just before the hour mark. Then on 74 minutes, a few thousand more left their seats, with the scoreline no doubt helping make-up the mind of some of the previously undecided fans.

What the Fox going on? #wtf #avfc #holteend #villapark #enoughisenough

A photo posted by My Old Man Said (Aston Villa) (@myoldmansaid) on

After 74 Minute Walk Out

While not a mass exodus, admittedly, the atmosphere did change. Previous to those who walked out on 74 minutes, the mood was close to mutinous at times as the supporters made their feelings known. But, it did fall quieter after the protest.

I’m not too sure what I expected, at first I thought I’d be the only fan left at the end. However, I was joined by many in the North Stand, who stayed to watch on, or in some people’s cases admire Everton’s play rather annoyingly.

Whatever you decided to do, walk out or stay, you are right. If you walked out, good for you, it is the start of something that could grow and could get an answer. You are the ones that are attacking those at the top who are incompetent at running a club.

If you stayed, brilliant, you showed to the players and the manager you still support them, you even witnessed Gestede’s goal and let’s be honest we don’t see many goals nowadays other than the opposition’s.

That doesn’t mean to say that those who walked don’t support the players. It also doesn’t mean that those who stayed aren’t angered by the club’s situation at the moment. We are all in this together, and we are all showing our frustrations in different ways which is fine. The most important thing is to not be apathetic to the situation.

For me, I have never been in favour of the protest, I would much rather watch the whole 90 minutes of football, however difficult that may be. I’m continually reminded that football is nothing without fans, so I am abiding by this saying. I will continue to sit and support the footballers of my beloved club, despite how little effort they display at times.

R-word Protest

The most painful thing as a supporter is to have to sit through a game which you cannot change the outcome in the slightest, so if you’re walking out fair enough. But shouldn’t we wait until there is an R by the side of the club’s name? In my opinion, that is when it will have the greatest effect.

For now at least, we are still a Premier League club, with the slightest chance of retaining that. So why not come together to cheer on the club we all love, to try and prevent the inevitable from happening? You don’t have to support the board; there are plenty of chants now to show your disgust. You just have to get behind the players and motivate them, as unfortunately it doesn’t appear like Rémi Garde is capable of doing so.

Whatever, you decide to do, do what is best for you. You are the fans, not the “customers” of one of the greatest football clubs. However you decide to show your frustrations, remember that form is temporary and class is permanent and one day we will see Aston Villa great again.


Follow Molly on Twitter at @m0llyfaith and check out her Talking Football blog 

And make sure you follow MOMS on Twitter too – @oldmansaid



  1. I have to say I am with Molly on keeping fighting whilst there’s a chance. I love my club and have never left a match early in over 25:years and can’t start now even though it breaks my heart to see how a great club with amazing history is being destroyed by a greedy American with no interest in or understanding of football in the Premier league. Boycott Villa stores and refreshment outlets to hit them in the pocket makes more sense to me. I have already paid for 5 season tickets they have my money.
    I sit in the lower north stand and whilst some stewards do not behave well there are others feeling just like me. Didn’t see any removal of banners near us and my 14 year old son has made his own for next match so we will wait and see.

  2. Hi Molly. I understand you more now that I realise your age. I have followed Villa for over 60 years and I believe I have seen it all – highs and lows but never as low as our current plight. But your age group are more important than us “old farts” for you are the future, the very life blood of the club. As a real genuine supporter its important to me that we try to pass on the right values to the younger generation and on this issue I hope that just for once, you will listen to the older generation and follow their lead.
    I read the latest issue from MOMS – Villa Park Stewards Wrestle Teenage Fans – with total distain for what values are the club passing down here. Bullies and thugs are without doubt the lowest form of life and have no place at Villa Park or anywhere else for that matter. Peaceful, dignified protest is the right of every human being. To be met by representatives of the club with violence is totally unacceptable and should give our younger supporters a clear indication of how low the club as sunk. Think on.
    Finally, I was with one of my closest mates last evening. As a fellow supporter we have travelled every highway over the years in support of our beloved team. Sadly this guy is terminally ill and has 18 months at best on this earth. He made one statement that struck a real cord with me – “Your lucky mate” he said “I will never ever see the lads playing at the highest level again, and that hurts more than the cancer that’s taking me down”. Some irony here I thinks, for it is the cancer in the Villa boardroom that is taking our club down.

    • I totally agree with you and we definitely do need to do something to make a change. I don’t want to be the one who just sits and writes about my displeasure but I also am not the type of person to protest either. If you read my own blog post: I outline both my reasons for not wanting to leave on the 74th minute. But I do understand both sides. I know that actions speak louder than words. I want to make Aston Villa great again just like you.

  3. “Even leeches leave a corpse alone.” yes but by that time they’ve sucked it dry !

    But the club already has a new board but it was put in place it would seem before effective changes could be made due to the restrictions of the FA. . But it would seem change is happening as the Company Secretary , the man it would seem who had the power to hamper any improvements that need to be made !

    • New Board? This would be Hollis and King? The auditor and the man who presided over the bank of England during the biggest financial crisis since the depression, who I may add wasn’t thought fit to turn it around and was replaced by an American!

      Why you think we didn’t buy anyone in Jan? Doubt very much the company secretary put the brakes on purchases as he isn’t the highest authority even if he was the CFO.

  4. Sorry Molly, although you have my total respect for your opinion I know from past experience at Villa Park youre wrong to sit there and simply take it on the chin. Your cash simply lines the pockets of the most inept board ever seen at Villa Park. They all draw a wage from the club – YOUR MONEY. Empty seats mean empty pockets.
    Protests have to become stronger and far more pointed. When Fox, Riley and Lerner finally go we should insure that they are never allowed to impose their social experiment on any other unsuspecting football club in this country.
    Villa till I die but at no further expense to me.

  5. I was unfortunate to see us relegated from old Div1 in 1967. The first season in Div2 saw us at the bottom of that league in November 68, there was mass protests, it worked, a new board took over eventually, if we had not protested at that time, that could have been the end of the club.
    We eventually ended up in Div3 for 2 seasons, but it was 1975 before we got back into Div1, can you see the comparisons with today’s malignancy?
    As long as Lerner is in charge we are in a quicksand we can’t escape from, I know he’s trying to sell, but not hard enough to help our club, and he doesn’t seem to care.
    So, any form of protest is good, and as the article above says, keep it all aimed at the owner and the board.
    Accepting the situation as it is, is a suicidal attitude, we will suffer unless we do something, everything possible.
    Relegation is not a good thing, I’ve seen it, don’t like it and fear how we’ll end up this time if/when it happens, apathy is our enemy. UTV

  6. I’m not sure how old Molly is, but took part in the action of 1968, if we had waited until we were relegated God only knows what would happened to the Villa. Remember twelve years after winning our battle with the then owners we won the old Division one, followed by the Europeon Cup. So don’t hang around if you think as I’m sure you do that Lerner needs to go then stand up for your feelings don’t sit in the corner and moan.

    Up the Villa,

    Don Taylor Cannock

    • Hiya, I’m actually only 18 so I haven’t experienced relegation or those protests. I agree that you shouldn’t just sit in a corner and moan but for me, the difference between now and then is that Randy Lerner himself wants out more than anyone. Nothing will change unless someone buys the club. What I’m trying to say is that no matter how hard we protest, I don’t believe it will be effective as it’s not going to change until someone has the guts to buy us.



      • Hi Molly, who do you think will buy us, Lerner has had more than one offer when the Villa were in a much better position than we are now. He is greedy, and now we are probably going down we are going to be half the price he was offered originally. We have to make him realise he’s burnt his bridges with us, but you must get behind the cause.


      • We the fans should buy the club. See other posts of mine. The math is difficult right now, but if we aren’t in the Prem and we don’t have huge player contracts (which I believe are counted as assets for a football club) then the price can become more reasonable because the club’s valuation cannot be as inflated based on future revenue or player sales.

        I believe if Lerner truly wanted out he would cut the price, and think this is more being run by BAML who will earn X% on the sale price for arranging the deal and probably have loans against the assets of Villa to be paid off. Lerner’s mistake is he seems to pick very bad advisors or proxies.

  7. The fans won’t motivate the players unless we mob and abuse them (the players themselves said that the Wycombe incident got them up for the next game), they are motivated by one thing once success isn’t achievable. Harsh on Remi to say he couldn’t motivate them, Sherwood couldn’t either. There is a deep malaise at the club that will probably only be solved after Villa 1. goes down and 2. has new owners.

    Also yeah, Inevitable. Think that means “unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary”. In my opinion, for Aston Villa’s case it is the last definition, Necessary. So I admit I am apathetic about the inevitable, as I think it will be a good thing. Even leeches leave a corpse alone.

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