Steve Hollis concerned at Aston Villa's spending - but still open to new signings
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 22/01/16 12:27pm
New Aston Villa chairman Steve Hollis has expressed his frustration at the club's transfer spending over the last few years and insists "other things need to be fixed" before big money is spent again.
Villa spent over £50m last summer and Hollis - who was appointed last Thursday says owner Randy Lerner's investment in five of the last 10 years has topped that of any top six club.
However, although Hollis insists the new regime at Villa are open to signing new players, he says improving the club's infrastructure remains the priority.
"The cheque book has not been put away and if there is a player out there or a couple of players out there who we feel will fit in and really help the side in the Premier League, we are looking," he said.
"You have got to look at the facts, this club spent £60m last summer. This club five out of the last 10 years has had the biggest contribution from the owner of all the top six clubs. That is a lot of money.
"This is not about spending money. That is not the reason why the club is not doing well. Other things need to be fixed before we go out and spend big money."
And when asked whether he felt the money had been spent badly in the past, he said: "I think the results are the best indicator on answering that question."
Villa have won just twice in the Premier League this season and currently sit bottom of the table, 10 points from safety with 16 matches remaining.
Hollis added: "The only thing we can focus on now is the best we can possibly do both in terms of the capital resources and human resources to put this club on the best footing possible.
"Just look at the Premier League, look at the clubs that are doing well at the moment. Most of them haven't spent big money. What they have done is invest in the infrastructure of the club and invested in that hard work culture, culture of continuous improvement and team spirit.
"That actually is more valuable than big money at the present time the way the Premier League is evolving."
Hollis, the former Midlands chairman of accountancy firm KMPG and current vice-chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, says he has no fears about undertaking a role in the football industry.
When asked whether he had any concerns about facing a future backlash from supporters, he said: "I hope we can all afford to be civil. I actually think the reaction you see from fans is brilliant, it's the raw emotion and just shows the passion and the care that is coming out.
"Hopefully we can move into better periods where we will not go through that. And actually you will not be interested in people like me, the chairman, you'll be more interested in people like the manager and the players. They are who the fans come out to see, not me."
Hollis also took the opportunity to defend owner Randy Lerner, who will take a back seat role with Hollis and chief executive Tom Fox assuming operational control of the club on a day-to-day basis.
He said: "Last May, Randy was very clear, the club was for sale. If he couldn't sell the club, he would put in a professional board, a new chairman and the club would be put on a 'proper footing'.
"I was with Randy earlier this week in New York and he is a private gentleman, but he is absolutely passionate about this football club.
"We watched the Wycombe game together and we were jumping up and down. But he is very clear, he wants me to run this club. The buck stops with the new chairman.
"Randy will still be on the board, he has a lot to offer to the board. He has got a lot of experience and knowledge, so he is not going, but we a moving into a new phase for this football club."