Your questions answered
Check out our responses to your questions.
20th Jul 2010
Your questions answered

Question 1: How will the club improve match-day services in the 07/08 season? In particular, speed of catering service and staff friendliness.

During the close season, we have invested in Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS). This will speed up service for customers, with state of the art touch screen tills.
We are also re-vitalising all 31 kiosks with new fascias, lights and easy signage. Staff recruitment and training was undertaken during July. To help queue bust, we have also explored temporary bars that we can utilise at half-time, and these were used for the Liverpool match. We recently conducted a ground catering survey on Voice in the Crowd (completed by over 2,500 supporters) that will help us to ascertain what the main issues are that need to be addressed.

Alison Plant Head of Business Villa

Question 2: At present, the PA system is poor quality and the music that is played during the warm-up and when Villa score is outdated. Are there are plans to change this?

There are many aspects to the match day experience that we have considered during the summer and obviously we hope these will significantly add to the atmosphere and the enjoyment of all supporters who visit Villa Park. We are of course aware of the restrictions set by the current PA system and this is part of a programme of issues the club is currently prioritising. As for match day music, it is clear from previous discussions with supporters that this is a subjective issue! However, we are working hard to ensure we improve the overall experience at Villa Park next season.

Phil Mepham Head of Media

Question 3 Can Aston Villa introduce safe standing areas at Villa Park to increase customer choice, and match atmosphere?

Since 1989 clubs in the Premier League and what is now the Coca Cola Championship have been required by the Secretary of State for Sport to maintain all-seated stadiums.This legislation is part of the Football Spectators Act 1989 under which clubs are licensed to admit paying spectators.So as the law stands, if Aston Villa does not maintain an all-seated stadium, a licence cannot be granted and spectators cannot be admitted to Villa Park. Aston Villa does not acknowledge the term 'safe standing' and seeks to comply in all respects with the legislative requirements governing football stadiums.

John Handley Head of Security & Safety Operations

Question 4 How does the club plan to improve half-time pitch-side entertainment?

As with the answer to question 2, this is something we are looking at closely this season.

Phil Mepham

Question 5 Could a weekly email be organised with fixture changes?

Fixture changes are always made available to supporters via a whole series of outlets, with the website and our SMS text messaging service just two of the methods used by the club. We also announce changes to the media at the earliest opportunity and the news is then reflected as soon as possible. At present, we are working on the launch of a new website and we are confident that the enhanced platform and other associated services will further improve our communication with supporters.

Phil Mepham

Question 6 Are there any plans for a membership scheme to be introduced which offers benefits in addition to being a season-ticket holder?

AVFC have introduced an access control system for the 07-08 season for season ticket holders. Once the system is well established we will be looking to introduce an adult membership scheme to complement the junior membership scheme. The scheme will enable fans to gain access to games ahead of general sale and a discount in the shop from time to time as well as other benefits. We recognise that we need a membership scheme that fans who, for whatever reason, cannot be season ticket holders can become members of.

Nicola Keye Head of Consumer Sales

Question 7 Can cup games be introduced as part of the season ticket?

The rules of domestic cup competitions dictate that 45 per cent of the net gate receipts have to be paid to the visiting club.This includes season ticket revenue that would have to be attributed to the gate receipts for each match.In order to incorporate cup matches into season tickets we would have to estimate the number of domestic cup matches we would be involved in each season, and then add an appropriate charge to the price of season tickets.This would greatly increase the price of season tickets which is clearly something we do not feel is in line with our pricing commitments.

Lee Preece Football Operations / Projects Manager

Question 8 Can 'part' season tickets be introduced which cater for fans who work inconsistent days and hours?

AVFC recognises that not all supporters can attend every game and may work evenings or weekends. We are currently reviewing a buyback scheme option to offer further flexibility to fans who cannot attend a game for whatever reason. We also feel that our half season ticket and Final 5 season ticket last season gave fans the opportunity to buy at various times during the season. We will continue to look at every option which enables us to 'package' tickets together for fans to take advantage of throughout 07/08.

Nicola Keye

Question 9 How will the club approach securing a new shirt sponsor? Will supporters be consulted on design?

The nature of shirt sponsorship is changing rapidly and attracting a shirt sponsor that shares our ambition, vision and values is of paramount importance to us. The days of selling space on the front of a Premier League shirt as real estate are long gone.We are aiming to recruit long term partners who offer Aston Villa as many benefits as we offer them. The acquisition of Nike, for example, provides us with the perfect platform from which to re-engage with the younger community. We are 100 per cent committed to consultation on all levels.The SCG (supporter consultation group) and VITC (voice in the crowd, online research panel) have helped us create a two-way dialogue which we hope to develop yet further during the 07/08 season.

Russell Jones Head of Marketing

Question 10 Although there are hospitality facilities at Aston Villa, they are too expensive for small businesses. Are there any other options?

Hospitality on offer that is perfect for the small businesses is the Claret and Blue package in the Superbox in North Stand.Prices start at £90 per person this season and include a three-course meal, private area, giftware, host, match programme, former player appearance and fantastic seating behind glass in the corner of North and Doug Ellis stands. Alternatively, we can 'tailor' packages to suit a budget for the lower profile games as we provide a flexible approach within our packages to suit the individual client.

Alison Plant

Question 11 Are there any plans for an Aston Villa museum or some means of remembering the heritage of the club?

We are currently undertaking an extensive audit of the archive material available to the club.The majority of what we have is already on display within the corridors and function rooms around Villa Park, with other items held within our archive room.Based on the results of this audit (and a review of the facilities available for such a purpose) we will see how best to display our history while being conscious of creating a modern experience for visitors to Villa Park.

Lee Preece

Question 12 Would it be possible to have an open-air bar in the North Stand Car Park to act as a meeting point for fans before and after matches?

We will be having the fixed screen in North Stand car park all season, as well as a new one in the Holte car park.We do need to be mindful that these are car parks and active for customers trying to park cars so we need to consider safety.However, the screens will create a natural meeting point as they are so visible.An open air bar will not be possible unless we don't allow car parking.

Alison Plant

Question 13 To promote a friendlier club, are there any plans to ensure players sign autographs before and after each match?

Signing autographs before a match is not normal practice because the players are focusing on the game. However, the players do sign autographs after the game and it is now a regular feature of a match day at Villa Park that the first team squad members will spend time talking to supporters and signing autographs before leaving the stadium. This is a practise that is encouraged by the club to promote a friendly atmosphere.

Phil Mepham

Question 14 With the proposed relocation of away supporters, will there be effective segregation in the stands they are relocated to?

The Doug Ellis lower stand has for many years featured segregation between opposing fans, consisting of a light rail and the covering of several rows of seats with netting, which has recently been replaced by a vinyl cover.This arrangement will continue and it will be repeated as a segregation barrier in the upper tier of the stand.The concourses on both levels of the stand will be segregated with roller shutters.

John Handley

Question 15 What is the club's policy with regard the no smoking ban in the UK?

We are compliant with the No Smoking Legislation that came into force in England on 1st July 2007.

Alison Plant



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