By Harry Sykes
Long-serving Aston Villa staff will lose their jobs as the club prepare for life in the Championship, the club announced on Monday evening.
Villa chiefs have begun the process of trimming the wage bill for non-playing staff following an audit led by new chairman Steve Hollis and director David Bernstein.
Senior officials from the Midlands club summoned all full-time, part-time and zero-hour contract employees, from both the stadium and the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground, to a meeting on Monday to explain the redundancies and cutbacks that will take place.
It has been estimated that over 120 non-playing staff were present on Monday and that as many as 50 jobs could go.
“Aston Villa can confirm it has updated all staff on the proposed changes to the club structure in order to put it back on a firm footing,” the club said in a statement on Monday night.
“These changes will result in a headcount reduction but every effort will be made through a voluntary scheme, to mitigate as much as is possible, the need for compulsory redundancies.
“The objective is to secure a sound financial platform from which the club can rebuild for the benefit of the fans, staff and sponsors.
“We recognise this is an extremely difficult time for all staff and the club will offer support to all staff affected.”
The proposed restructure has been led by Hollis – previously the chairman of KPMG’s Midlands practice – who has been tasked by owner Randy Lerner with leading an investigation into the reasons for the club’s disastrous campaign.
The appointment of Hollis, plus the subsequent addition of ex-FA chairman Bernstein, former Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King and former manager Brian Little, has led to a ruthless cull in senior areas of the club.
Manager Randy Lerner, chief executive Tom Fox, sporting director Hendrik Almstadt and head of recruitment Paddy Riley are all high-profile casualties after the investigation into Villa’s infrastructure.
In other Aston Villa news, a £54,000-a-week player is set to pay the price for a wretched campaign.