Aston Villa have 'doubled in size' as they fight to keep up with Unai Emery

Unai Emery has led Villa to the Champions League
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Aston Villa's president of business operations Chris Heck recently, in an interview with the club's media channel, explained how the club on the field and how they're operating off it under NSWE, certainly with FFP limits in mind, are comparable to two trains travelling side by side - one, at this moment in time, is clearly running faster than the other.

Villa are heading for the Champions League. It's taken them just four years since they returned to the Premier League to finish in the top four. They possess international footballers right the way through their squad and all of them are tied down to long-term contracts. Perhaps the most significant contract of them all was signed by manager Unai Emery recently.

Since his arrival, the results speak for themselves, but he is having an influence throughout the club - that was never more evident than when Villa ruthlessly shifted Johan Lange out of his role as sporting director and welcomed Monchi into the club. His wealth of knowledge, expertise and previous rapport with Emery has helped with the club's rapid rise. It's been impossibly unforeseen progression.

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It's to be expected, maybe, that Villa's team of employees tasked with globalising the club are struggling to keep up. They are working 'round the clock' in order to strike new partnerships, increase revenue streams via a multitude of avenues and raise funds which can be spent in accordance with FFP. Progress is being made, according to Heck.

“We're globalising this club. We’ve pretty much doubled in size over the last 12 months,” Heck told Marketing Week. “My goal was, let’s control our own destiny and bring everything in-house. I want to bring in everything possible to control our customer experience, our brand experience and, quite frankly, our revenue opportunity.

“The club was run on efficiency as opposed to ambition. This is the club that’s going to break the mould. Aston Villa was the one that stood out. It’s in a huge market, it’s a club of history and then they hired this magical coach. This is the club that’s going to break the mould and that’s when I was like – okay, I’m in.”

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One off-field hiccup has been the issue concerning the club's Castore kit. Villa had had Castore manufacture their various clothing for the men's and women's teams for two years but issues were raised and Heck had to work tirelessly to take Villa out of their contract in order to tee them up with adidas, a partnership they revealed this weekend.

“Our kit was falling apart on us and I came to the conclusion this was not going to work,” he added. “I wanted a clean slate, so we kicked everyone to the curb that was not a good deal financially.”

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