Your questions answered: December 2007
20th Jul 2010
There are no plans at present to change the name of any stands at Villa Park.
Paul Faulkner Director
Question 2: What progress is being made on improving the transport system when travelling to and from Villa Park? Could there be increased signage from the motorway?
The Transport Committee continue to liaise with the relevant authorities (Centro, Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, London Midland Trains, Travel West Midlands, Secure Car Parks, Network Rail etc) as we strive to make improvements on all issues to do with Matchday Transport and Travel. We are currently working on the first ever comprehensive "How to get to Villa Park" guide, which we intend to launch for season 2008/2009.This will be communicated with season ticket renewal information and will be "live" and up to date on our website from May 2008. The most important input from fans to the Transport Committee is to help the club by completing the annual transport survey (conducted January / February each year).The survey is predominantly available by logging on to Voice in the Crowd, but we also ensure the surveys are carried out in person prior to at least one home match each season (this year will our match versus Newcastle United on Saturday 9th February). In addition, as we consider or trial new ventures we will seek opinion from supporters as appropriate.
Lee Preece Football Operations / Projects Manager
Question 3: Would it be possible for official merchandise to be available in retail outlets outside of the Midlands?
We have recently employed a key account manager to deal with supporters clubs and to expand our retail business outside of Villa Park. His brief is to contact as many potential retail units and supporters clubs with a view to stocking official merchandise. Our work in this area has been successful to date, as we now have Villa product on sale in over 60 retail stores across the UK, Ireland and further a field. This is a relatively new initiative but something that we anticipate will grow. Supporters must remember that we cannot force retailers to sell our product - the retailer needs to want our product, which will be made easier the more successful we are on the pitch.
John Greenfield Head of Merchandising
Question 4: Are the club looking at security issues for the next local derby, bearing in mind the problems at St Andrews in November?
Villa Park has hosted many high profile games, some of which have carried a risk of disorder. The situation presented by the visit of Birmingham City FC in April is challenging but is not to be feared.The club has been in regular contact with West Midlands Police and policing and stewarding levels should cope with any foreseeable situation. All at the club earnestly hope that the game will not be remembered for scenes such as those that sullied the aftermath of the November game at St Andrews and ask all fans to behave with restraint.
John Handley Head of Security & Safety Operations
Question 5: Are there any plans to incorporate a "museum experience" at Villa Park to celebrate our proud history?
Having a "Museum" requires two key elements. Firstly, we need a room / building to house the experience. Secondly, we need items of historical interest that fans will want to see.However, it is something we are committed to providing. As discussed and communicated in SCG2 (Q11), we have been undertaking an extensive audit of the archive material available to the club.As of January 2008, the work was still ongoing, and to this end we are looking to secure the services of John Lerwill to complete the exercise he started during 2007. Since SCG2, the club has begun a thorough review of the facilities at Villa Park (see Q13), having made the decision to keep Villa Park as our home.This review will ensure that the space available at Villa Park is used to its maximum potential to enhance supporter experience. The completion of these exercises will enable us to establish whether or not we have a suitable facility and /or items to display.There are a number of supporters who have contacted us to let us know they are in possession of items of interest, which will be included in our thoughts.The kind offers we have received for items to be donated to a Museum are extremely appreciated. In closing, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to ensure that the archive items available to us are maintained and preserved, and that it is our duty to ensure the history of our proud club is available for future generations.
Question 6: How does the Government report into security in Public Areas (for example airports, stadia etc) affect current and future plans to re-develop Villa Park?
The suggestions in that report and any recommendations yet to be made will be considered when any development work takes place at Villa Park.The club will only consider designs that afford the maximum protection to spectators whilst inconveniencing them to the minimum.
Question 7: After four meetings, will there be any internal review of the SCG process and in particular are there any plans to involve the Manager in the consultation process?
The SCG has provided some tremendous insight into the views of fans who clearly care deeply for their club. I think (I hope) it is obvious to all fans who have either been directly involved in the process, or who have read about the activity, that the club has listened to views and remains committed to the process. It is true to say that not all suggestions made by fans are practical but the discussions and decision making process - even in rejection - remain transparent and worthwhile. The idea of the SCG was to keep "officialdom" to an absolute minimum at meetings and for the Aston Villa staff present to address issues discussed with a wider group of senior colleagues who are involved in the specific areas. This, of course, involves the Team Manager who is consulted on issues relating to his position in the same way as other administrative colleagues. For the club, the SCG has been successful and we shall continue to review its progress along with the possibility of improving the process for future consultation.
Phil Mepham Head of Media & Communications
Question 8: Can more be done to promote the armed forces discount?
We strive to make our prices known via the web and the programme. However, we can and will take the necessary steps to ensure that members of the Armed Forces are more aware of our prices by sending a copy of our stadium plan and prices to the Navy, Army and RAF etc. This is something that our Marketing department will take up.
Nicola Keye Head of Consumer Sales
Question 9: Can we have an official club song - many fans would like it to be the 'theme from an unmade silent movie'?
There is a desire from the supporters and from the club to adopt an official song. The problem is which one. There is a thread as long as your arm on the Villa Talk website about terrace chants and the need for us to have our own. But there is no consensus as to which one. The 'theme from an un-made silent movie' is popular with some sections of supporters but is it an 'anthem' the crowd can sing? Doubtful. As a club, we'd be happy to co-operate in any way possible in some kind of web vote on this tricky subject.
Steve Tudgay Head of Media Operations
Question 10: The fans forum on the official website is not managed or moderated efficiently. Are there plans to improve it or if not should it be closed down since it gives a lacklustre impression of the club?
We have considered a number of options relating to the message board on the site and are continuing to work with PTV to provide a service that is reliable and a platform that is suitable for everyone to use. I would hope this will happen shortly. It is of course important that fans should feel they can use the club's official site with confidence and we are committed to providing that with the support of PTV.
Question 11: Are there any plans to expand the product range within the Villa Direct catalogue and website?
We are looking to expand the product in the Villa Direct Catalogue and the website. This will focus in particular on expanding the Nike range and the Villa clothing range.
Question 12: Can the club establish smoking areas within parts of the stands, so that smokers have the opportunity to smoke without leaving the stadium?
This question was largely answered in a response to SCG 3 and the situation has not changed. There is not sufficient room in Villa Park for this to be done and the logistical and security problems involved in allowing spectators to leave and re-enter the stadium are considerable.The club feel that the cost of such a provision would be considerable and that the money could be better spent in any other sphere of operations.
Question 13: Is the club considering ground re-development - in particular to re-build the North Stand?
We have engaged the architects HOK to complete an initial study of Villa Park, with a view to looking at opportunities to improve some or all of the stadium. We do expect to continue with Villa fans behind both goals.
Question 14: Will the club continue to bring back former players on a match-day (for example Mark Delaney and Juan Pablo Angel)?
Yes. The club will continue to welcome back former players on a match-day. Mark Delaney has already been back for some match-day corporate appearances. And we are talking to the representatives of Juan Pablo Angel to see when he is next back in the country from the US.
Question 15: Could the range and quality of Ladies merchandise be improved and expanded for the next catalogue?
We have already extended the range for 2008 which are now available in the Villa Village store and the online store. We do try to offer a wide range of products and colour schemes to meet a diverse range of tastes and preferences.