Speaking to TalkSport, Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has urged the club’s supporters not to go ahead with their planned protest at the start of Saturday’s home game against Liverpool.
Unofficial fans’ websites Villa Blog, My Old Man Said and A Villa Fan have all called on those in the Holte End stand to boycott the opening eight minutes of the Premier League clash to demonstrate their frustration at the club’s plight under wantaway owner Randy Lerner and beleaguered boss Paul Lambert.
Each minutes is claimed to represent one year for the eight Lerner has been in control at Villa Park, but Given doesn’t believe anything can be gained from the proposed demonstration.
“It is a bit of a strange one perhaps not turning up for the first eight minutes of the game,” he said. “It is such a big game against Liverpool and we really need the fans to be behind us and to stick with us.
"It is a tough league and we need everyone to pull in the same direction. We really need the fans behind us.
"If there are frustrations on the terrace, then maybe [wait until] after the game. If the result hasn’t gone so well, then maybe show your frustrations then.”
Lambert echoed Given’s comments in Thursday’s media conference ahead of the match, telling Sky Sports: "I understand the fans' frustrations, but we'll have a better chance of winning a game of football if they don't protest, if they stick with the lads, no matter how hard it gets at times.
"When the stadium is behind the players it's a great place to play football, and we've a better chance of winning if they don't do it. Whoever has planned it, I hope the guy next to them tries to keep them on their seat.”
Villa sit 13th in the Premier League table at present with 22 points from their 21 games, and having found the back of the net just 11 times.
Without a win in six top-flight matches, the team have also recorded four red cards and one goal over that period, and calls for Lambert to go have been growing ever louder as a result.