Dear Editor, As a former Aston Villa season ticket holder and fan of some 50 years standing, following both my Dad and Grandad who were both born in Summer Lane, Aston, I feel as though I have Aston Villa FC running through my veins.

I also feel that this makes me uniquely qualified to comment on the recent furore caused by Coun Mike Whitby’s comments on Aston Villa’s name.

I detect in Mike Whitby’s well-intentioned idea that Aston Villa incorporate Birmingham in their name in order to ‘spread the Birmingham Gospel to the unenlightened’ a sense of hysteria from those Villa fans (not known as ‘Historians FC’ by our Small Heathen rivals for nothing!) for the first time in years getting involved in the local ‘knockabout’ political scene.

Perhaps the comment is a ploy by Mike to engage the electorate in Birmingham in robust political debate?

Coun Whitby has obviously seen that our second city rivals in Manchester gain marvellous global marketing capital and coverage from the football icon that is Manchester United.

Reading between the lines I think Coun Whitby feels that Aston Villa FC can perform the same function for Birmingham going ‘FORWARD’ - the Birmingham motto, by the way - should they qualify for The Champions League next season.

There is a long way to go in the current season and perhaps the Leader of Birmingham City Council got carried away by the recent 2-0 victory at The Emirates Stadium for The Villans?

Why not have a badge on The Villa European kit, should they qualify for The Champions League next season, or even the lesser secondary European competition, the UEFA Cup, bearing the city of Birmingham’s motto and incorporating that motto in a badge with something along these lines: ‘Aston Villa FC-FORWARD Birmingham’ in The Champions League/UEFA Cup 2009’ (Delete as appropriate).

I realize that there may be ‘branding issues’ over the phrase: ‘FORWARD Birmingham’ in relation to ‘ Birmingham Forward’ , the city’s professional services lobbying group.

Perhaps we could even get some funding from the European Regional Development Fund and get them to sponsor the badge as it seems that most of Birmingham’s better developments over the last 20 years have received some sort of ERDF funding.

I realize that Birmingham City Council’s sponsorship of such a ‘FORWARD’ Birmingham’ badge is out of the question bearing in mind the ‘tribal’ support of both The Villa and The Blues.

However if Birmingham City Council allow Birmingham City Football Club to be the ‘anchor tenant’ of the proposed ‘Stadium for Birmingham’ which will hopefully soon be built on the Wheels site in Saltley, an area in serious need of regeneration, perhaps BCC’ s sponsorship of the Villa badge could be a ‘quid pro quo’?

This I think , might assuage the anger of even the staunchest Villa fan.

The moral of this tale?

Political leaders should stick to politics!

What do other Post or Mail readers think?

Name and Address Supplied.


Anger is focused on the ‘grass’

Dear Editor, It looks like the chief crime committed from the council leader’s point of view concerning the managers’ Christmas bash was being found out.

There is more annoyance with the civic champion who grassed than an attempt to justify the quarterly junket.

I don’t know about morale of managers, but every time I meet a rank and file member of staff the question of morale amongst them comes up, and high it isn’t.

I recently visited the head quarters of Birmingham’s advocacy service in Handsworth Wood to find that morale there was below zero. They had been “decommissioned” from January. Well I suppose we need to move on and modernise.

What were the proposals for its successor? Who have the commissioners, the new breed of gatekeepers who are legion, brought in to support the many vulnerable people dependent on this support? At the moment I can’t find an answer, but the usual chorus is “we’re short of money”. So all these, I assume fairly well paid commissioners, are all looking after dwindling finances.

Don’t know if anyone noticed but we’re facing hard times, and as is usual those on low income with housing, health and employment problems are having to struggle more. At the same time support is withdrawn. Have a merry Dickensian Christmas everyone.

John Tyrrell,


Chance to help raise a smile and vital funds for heart charity

Dear Editor, Heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer - responsible for over 200,000 deaths a year – that’s a staggering 547 people a day. It is complex, it is unpredictable, and it could affect anyone of any age.

I write to urge your readers to consider participating in this year’s Hearts First Birmingham Santa Jog in support of the nation’s heart charity, the British Heart Foundation - for the good of their own hearts and the hearts of others.

The annual Santa Jog, which is a one-mile festive fundraiser, takes place this Sunday starting at 11am from Centenary Square. It usually sees up to 400 ‘Santas’ spreading a little Christmas cheer among the shoppers on Broad Street, and raising funds to help people with heart disease across Birmingham.

People are welcome to come along and register on the day, if they haven’t already signed up.

Just turn up about half an hour before the event. Each adult receives a free Santa suit and children are encouraged to come along in fancy dress.

Many thanks to the readers who have already signed up to take part – your support is much appreciated.

I look forward to meeting the people of Birmingham at the start line on the 7th.

Sarah Kirkpatrick,
Regional Events Organiser,
BHF Birmingham.