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Aston Villa Toryism

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What is it about Aston Villa and celebrity supporters?   The Duke of Cambridge is one and David Cameron claimed to be one.  The economist John Maynard Keynes went to see a match against Blackburn Rovers there in 1913, although he seemed most interested in the drinks in the bar afterwards.

Former Bank of England governor Mervyn King is also a supporter and for a time was brought on to the board until he fell out with Randy Lerner which showed that his good judment extended beyond economics.   The late Derek Scott was also a supporter.   He was the husband of Birmingham Labour MP Gisela Stuart, a prominent figure in the referendum 'leave' campaign.

Now people are talking about 'Aston Villa Toryism' in Theresa May's government.   Her joint chief of staff is Nick Timothy who grew up in the working class Tile Cross area of Birmingham and is an avid Aston Vllla supporter.

His hero is the Liberal mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain, who used the power of the local state to transform the lives of local working class people 100 years ago, sometimes called 'municipal socialism'.  Timothy believes in a small state, but also an active state.

What is his line on Villa's relegation?   'The first lesson is that, in all forms of life, accountability and good governance are paramount…Second, the rules that govern markets can be unfair.  The finances of the Premier League – and of football in Europe in general – are rigged in favour of the clubs established at the top…The third lesson of Villa’s demise is that there is a clash between market forces and important institutions that serve many local communities.'

'The Premier League is a hyper-competitive market, with clubs owned by wealthy foreign investors, huge TV revenues and, for those teams playing in the Champions League, even greater income. Clubs compete with one another over a series of marginal factors, from marketing revenues, to gate receipts, to scouting networks, to players’ fitness and team tactics.'

'Those that fail to keep up – as Villa have – risk oblivion, and the communities they serve suffer.  The Premier League is an exciting market place, watched the world over, but since it was created, great English football institutions, including Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest have found themselves chewed up and spat out.  My fear is that Villa are the next in line to suffer the same fate.'   (Picture of Nick Timothy below)

However, one person tweeted in response to this article, 'The demise of Villa was due to poor management at executive and owner level.   That's the lesson.'