Your questions answered: November 2008
20th Jul 2010
Yes there are plans to improve the website. This is a daily task, not just an annual review. We are constantly looking at ways of increasing our service to fans.
Paul Brown has taken up the editorship of the website in recent months and we feel he has made a big difference to the overall quality and responsiveness of the site.
It is not perfect by any means, we know there are lots of ways in which we can improve but we believe the website stands up well against many other clubs in the Premier League.
Our relationship with our web partners Perform is getting better and this will improve even further when we appoint a website manager to work alongside Paul, Perform and the Media and Marketing departments of the club.
Steve Tudgay Head of Media
Question 2: With the re-emergence of the residents parking zone, can much greater focus be placed on the availability and communication of alternative parking zones?
It is important that supporters understand where the Residents Parking Zone (RPZ) is located. If you visit the transport section of our website www.avfc.co.uk you will find a map showing the RPZ (anyone parking within the zone is subject to a fine for doing so).
You will also find a Transport Map showing the location of all known official car parks, detailing information on cost, walking times etc.
We are working hard to encourage transport providers to ensure the number of bus and train services are maximised and offer a reliable and cost-effective alternative to using your car.
It is highly unlikely that double yellow line dispensations can be put in place for our matchdays and we would strongly recommend that supporters do not park in any location unless it is clear that vehicles are authorised to do so.
If you are unsure about any particular location, please contact me and I will happily investigate with the authorities on your behalf.
Lee Preece Football Operations / Projects Manager
Question 3: Could the PA music be stopped after the initial fanfare when the teams come out to enable the singing to get going without being drowned out, and also what is the timescale on the PA system being improved?
We will look at the timing of the music that's played as the players walk out the tunnel.
It is now common throughout the Barclays Premier League and at some of the bigger clubs in Europe for music to be played at this point before the game.
We have received some positive reviews of the music that's currently played - Escape by Craig Armstrong - and I'm not convinced that it actually drowns out that much singing by the fans.
With regards to the PA System, there are some areas of the stadium that have been identified in need of improvement.
The club is looking into how to best achieve this goal while catering to the ongoing schedules of match and non-matchday events.
As of yet, no timeframe has been firmly established.
Question 4: The concourse catering has improved but it is still not possible to get food during half-time without missing part of the match. Are there plans to re-instate the 'pie and pint' outlets in the Holte as these worked well?
In the Holte concourse there are no plans to reinstate the old-style 'pie and a pint' as unfortunately we are not licensed to do this (serve alcohol from an area that cannot be completely closed off from fans).
However on the Holte concourse we have two new pint outlets that were licensed this season.
I would welcome a discussion on this so please get in touch directly.
Alison Plant Head of Hospitality and Events
Question 5: Are there any plans to re-examine the allocation of UEFA Cup tickets following the issues regarding loyalty of the supporter against ability to afford the official package?
With regards to putting on these Uefa Cup tours, this is at the request of our supporters.
These operate on a non-profit making basis and to try and ensure we cover our costs and fill the aircraft etc, a match ticket is included in the price of the package.
John Greenfield Head of Merchandise
Question 6: Could the club introduce a loyalty card or loyalty scheme for high purchasing throughout the season?
The club is always looking to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction and we are currently considering a number of different options in terms of loyalty schemes or cards.
We will keep you updated of any developments.
Russell Jones Head of Marketing
Question 7: Will the club support any fan initiatives to tidy up William McGregor's burial place at Handsworth Cemetery?
We would ask the "leader" of any fan initiative to contact Lee Preece to clarify what support is required.
Lee has started to make enquiries with the council to establish an appropriate contact at the cemetery and to try and understand what work is required.
He will be on hand to liaise with fans to see what support the club can provide.
Paul Faulkner Chief Operating Officer
Question 8: Would it be possible for the club to work with Nike to produce some gym and fitness apparel for women with Aston Villa branding?
There are women's fashion t-shirts etc, but these are not for proper exercise.
We recently took delivery of a selection of Nike ladies apparel from their essential range which features a navy zip hoody and open hem knit pant along with a V-Neck cotton/elastane short-sleeve top in white.
This range is ideal for both leisure wear and gym and aerobic workout work due to the cut of the garments and comes with subtle AVFC lion branding.
We are limited for space to offer a too-diverse range of Aston Villa branded Nike merchandise and currently have no plans to sell high-performance technical apparel.
Question 9: Will there be more visible Villa representatives at future away games in Europe? There were a number of problems in Prague.
The AVFC official supporters club flight to Prague travelled with four club stewards and members of staff plus two travel agent couriers.
Their remit was to assist with all travel issues and to aid wheelchair users in every way possible.
The stewarding of away supporters inside the stadium is the responsibility of the host club who will employ stewards and police for this purpose.
The police will act alone to deal with any conduct issues away from the stadium.
In my view, it is neither safe nor reasonable to expect Aston Villa stewards to enforce the laws and regulations of a foreign club and country or to attempt to modify the behaviour of large numbers of travelling fans.
John Handley Head of Security
Question 10: Can you make tickets for European away games available earlier?
We endeavour to make the tickets available for away games as soon as all the relevant details including prices and allocation have been agreed with the host club.
Nicola Keye Head of Consumer Sales
Question 11: The Players Awards Dinner has become (in recent years) a black tie, corporate event with expensive tickets. Would it be possible to make this event more accessible to the 'normal' fan by reducing the price or changing the format?
We only have one opportunity to access the players as they all leave for their short summer break, as you know, straight after the last match.
Also, the people that do attend are still 'normal' fans, the box holders and members are season card holders too, they just choose or can afford to sit in corporate areas.
I understand that the price may be prohibitive and will take this forward in the New Year when we start planning this season's dinner.
Question 12: Could we have a system whereby supporters witnessing racial abuse/coin throwing/smoking and drinking in the stand can text the location of the perpetrators to security, without fear of reprisals?
The club will seek to deal with any conduct issues that come to attention and welcome all contact from supporters.
It must be borne in mind that anonymous information alone is rarely sufficient to justify any direct action and the club and the police will always look to confirm the accuracy of what is alleged.
Question 13: As season card holders we get a 10 per cent discount on official merchandise from the club shop. Can this discount be made available on the online store?
Unfortunately there is no facility available when ordering online to identify whether the customer is a season card holder and the software cannot currently give a discount.
However, if an order is placed over the telephone with one of the call centre operatives, and the customer explains that they are a season card holder and give their reference number, a 10 per cent discount will be given (does not apply to sale items).
Question 14: Please could we have a general feedback email address for customers on the website?
Not everyone can attend the SCG meetings and it would be good for fans to be able to give feedback on a more regular basis. As well as quarterly SCG meetings, any general feedback should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
You could also register with our online research panel, Voice In The Crowd, at www.avfc.eglobalpanel.com in order to take part in future Aston Villa marketing research.
By registering with Voice in the Crowd, you may also have the chance to attend future SCG meetings.
We have also recently recruited the Fan Squad who, over the coming months, will be gathering fan feedback on matchdays at Villa Park.
Question 15: Could you set a system for access to the Holte Suite on a matchday so that once people leave they are not allowed back in and others queuing can be allowed access?
We could use a 'clicker' system to count fans in and out. This would mean that we could potentially let extra fans in if people leave with no intention of returning. (We would need to consider how we would let people in and out for cigarettes).
Also, as long as this was communicated to fans well in advance of launching, I would see no problem. I will investigate this further.