Your questions answered: April 2011
Fans ask and the club responds.
1st Sep 2010
Your questions answered: April 2011


Question One: What progress is being made on the North Stand redevelopment, particularly with regard to the video wall? Are there plans for it to be replaced?

Development plans for the North Stand are still conceptual in nature. Evaluating this project's feasibility, as well as looking at all facilities within the stadium are part of the club's continued commitment to improve Villa Park and enhance the experience for all our supporters. Removal of the large video wall was performed as part of the R-Block renovation project undertaken last summer. At this time, there are no immediate plans for its replacement. Understanding the concern and to help with the communication of pre-match video, player substitution and other information - we are continuing to experiment with various content formats now displayed on the new video system located above the Cornerflag. All being said, please be rest assured that the club is committed to making the experience at Villa Park enjoyable and comfortable for all - and will endeavour to take all concerns on board in the future improvements as we move forward.

Tom Fantini - Head of Facilities

Question Two: Would the club be for or against safe standing areas (if an option) when developing the North Stand?

The concept of a safe standing area is not recognised in the safety legislation that governs football stadiums in England. Should such an area ever be defined and its provision made legal then the club will consider the issues involved. It must be stressed that Aston Villa Football Club is required to operate Villa Park under the terms of this safety legislation and cannot simply decide to introduce an illegal concept in any new stand construction.

John Handley - Head of Security

Question Three: The AVFC website appears to lag behind the main news outlets with Aston Villa news and prematch press conferences, and fans expect if a senior manager/director makes an interview with the BBC then this should be reported. Example, the early reports of the managers health was not mentioned for several hours on the official site after the BBC had reported it.

The official website is first with the majority of news relating to the club and is the best and most reliable outlet for fans who wish to be kept up-to-date on the latest happenings. For instance, an interview with chief executive Paul Faulkner which was conducted by AVTV in April was taken up by a number of different media outlets thereafter. Also, the manager's pre-match press conference, unedited and in full, is available on the official website very quickly after he is finished speaking to the media - the only media outlet which runs the broadcast TV press conference in full. Many player interviews which go on to make stories in the mainstream media are original and exclusive content for the official website and all club statements are carried by the official website first. Regarding the specific example you raise, ie the manager's health and how this was reported, the club's first statement on the matter went out first on the official website. Other media outlets were briefed early morning when initial reports that the manager had been admitted to hospital were confirmed but as soon as the club was in position to comment publicly this was done via the official website. Sometimes, of course, various media outlets will carry a breaking story but the most reliable and best channel for news regarding the club is the official website.

Brian Doogan - Head of Media

Question Four: The AVTV log-in page does not have a "Remember me" and "Forgotten password" option. Could this be rectified?

Yes. This has been logged with our website partner and will be updated in the next release of AVTV. This development work will take place in the off-season.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing and Communications

Question Five: Ticket news on the official website and Ticketmaster do not always seem to be updated at the same time, is there anything the club can do to ensure ticket information is accurate and consistent on both sites?

The club always attempts to maintain clear and precise information across all of our websites whenever possible. However, it is important to understand that the official AVFC website is a primarily a news portal and is dedicated to the portrayal of accurate ticket news information - when fixtures go on sale/sell-out or when special ticket offers become available. For the most accurate and up-to-the-minute ticket price and availability information, supporters should always visit the AVFC online ticket office to remain updated in real-time.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Six: What processes and checks are in place with Nike regarding the quality of the shirts? Sizing in particular varies greatly for each season.

Nike have many manufacturing procedures in place and quality is a key factor in this process. Learning from the difficulties they experienced at the start of this season, Nike have assured the club that additional staff, employed directly by Nike, have been appointed to oversee the manufacturing cycle out in Asia, especially when developing and sourcing new materials from the fabric mills. With regards to sizing, Nike have a standard replica shirt sizing template across all of their professional teams throughout Europe. From season to season the fit may differ depending on the style and cut of the shirt and may feel different once being worn. This was raised by the club at the start of this season, where we had received feedback from some of our supporters, that they felt the shirts had come up a 'size small' and they had to purchase the next size up. This has been addressed for the forthcoming season.

John Greenfield - Head of Merchandising

Question Seven: Will the new kit for next season be out before the start of the season? Would the kit be purchased without a sponsors name as currently some fans only buy the retro shirts because they do not want/like sponsors across the chest.

Both kits will be on sale prior to the start of the 2011/12 season. Official dates to be confirmed but the away kit is scheduled for late June, with the home shirt due to go on sale at the end of July 2011. With regards to purchasing an official shirt, all are manufactured with the club sponsor, as replicas of the players official match shirts. However, if no sponsor is available/confirmed at time of launch, the shirts would go on sale without a logo and customer may then return them back to one of our official retail stores to have the logo applied should the customer wish.

John Greenfield - Head of Merchandising

Question Eight: Can the club give supporters an idea of priorities in terms of the different competitions we enter, e.g. Are we going to use reserve players in cup games? A general view at the start of the season will be useful.

We enter every competition and game wanting to win. The team and squad selection for every game is down to the manager, who will always have to balance a number of different factors, such as injuries, suspensions and form, when making his decisions. But every time 11 players kick off a game representing Aston Villa they want to win for the club and our fans.

Paul Faulkner - Chief Executive

Question Nine: Why are there no draught beers on sale in the Holte Suite at half time? Given this, how does the club justify charging £3 for 1/2 a bottle of cider?

We currently only offer PET bottles of lager in the Holte Suite at half time to ensure that a speedy service is offered to our supporters. Draft Heineken is readily available at the adjacent concourse beer bar and we also operate draft beer hawkers in this concourse area for the fans wishing to enjoy a full pint. We could consider dispensing draft products from the Holte Suite bar but we are mindful that this would slow down the service speed and not all our supporters may be served.

Alison Plant - Head of Hospitality and Events

Question Ten: The quality of the PA has been accepted as very poor. In the event of an emergency evacuation what would be used to communicate with the supporters?

It is certainly true that the PA set up at Villa Park is not of the highest quality and the question of its replacement has been exhaustively considered and will be addressed as part of any North Stand re-development. The system is regularly checked and serviced, most recently last month and it does comply with safety guidelines. The system is thus considered to be more than adequate for the transmission of spoken safety messages. In the unlikely event of a stadium evacuation stewards will also guide and advise spectators.

John Handley - Head of Security

Question Eleven: Could we have a year book as part of the season ticket package again?

Whilst we have no plans to produce a year book this year, we have completely revamped the season ticket benefits package for 2011/12. It is now bigger and better than ever before. New benefits include a seasonal subscription to AVTV, the club's official online TV channel. Discount vouchers worth over £50. A welcome pack for juniors and adults. Free stadium tour and JV-Life junior membership for all season ticket holders under 14. More ways to pay for your season ticket - including an option to pay over 10 months. To see the full benefits package visit www.avfc.co.uk/seasontickets.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing and Communications

Question Twelve: Problems with the away supporters in the Doug Ellis boxes has arisen in some games this season. What is being done to stamp this out? We have been aware of incidents to this regard and have procedures in place to monitor and prevent this type of incident. We ensure that all our executive box holders have a representative of the company or themselves present as a group host at each fixture. Our Customer Service Hosts also carry out a verbal brief covering conduct and drink regulations to our guests at every single game. Also the Customer Service Hosts are positioned strategically on executive box balconies so as to manage the conduct situations throughout every game - in a situation where supporters do not comply with conduct code and act inappropriately then stadium ejection may be undertaken. Within our booking procedure we also provide hard copies and PDF versions of codes of conduct within executive areas to all seasonal executive box holders and ad-hoc bookers in addition. They then have the details to forward on to their guests ahead of each game. Post match, our Sales team conduct follow up calls and hold discussions post match with any box holders whose conduct is deemed inappropriate.

Alison Plant - Head of Hospitality and Events

Question Thirteen: Will season ticket prices for 2011/12 be kept the same as the previous season?

While there will be price increases, the club wishes to remain as sensitive to the needs of our supporters in order to remain as price conscious as possible. With this in mind, we are introducing two Family Group season tickets designed to provide increased value for Aston Villa-supporting families and permitting a family of four to attend home league fixtures for less than £14 per person per match! Additionally, Aston Villa has extended the Under 8s season ticket to include Category B seating areas, as well as the North Stand meaning even our youngest supporters will be able to join us next season. The club is also sensitive to the needs of those who may find it difficult to pay for his/her or a family of season tickets and has launched into partnership with Zebra Finance to offer a more affordable alternative to paying up-front. With Zebra Finance, supporters will have the opportunity to purchase season tickets via a four-month or 10-month instalment plan meaning purchasing a season ticket may no longer be seen as costly for the budget-conscious fan.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

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