Your questions answered: August 2012
Club respnds to supporter questions.
11th Sep 2012
Your questions answered: August 2012


Question One: Could the kiosk staff be increased at half-time to try and reduce waiting times?

Staffing levels are governed by the physical space within the kiosk areas; we are working to ensure we are able to service the demand at half time as quick as possible. Fans most popular products will now be available at every till point for ease of accessibility to the operatives to endeavour to speed up the transaction time. Catering equipment has also been moved around within many of the kiosks to improve logistics which will hopefully improve service speed as staffs have easier access to product.
A very successful summer recruitment drive and detailed Pre-Season staff training has also taken place with every single new member of staff and we hope that efficiencies will be seen and that will also help.

Alison Plant, Head of Hospitality & Events

Question Two: Have the club considered providing multi-pour beer taps around the ground?

These are very successful at some grounds, especially at half time. Queues at some kiosks are too long and the amount of customers served could be increased. We are not able to utilise Multi pour beer taps due to limited cellar cooling. All of our beer bars however have the ability to pour a pint through our industry leading specialist 'Fast Pour' beer dispense units within 3.5 seconds per pint. We will also be serving draft beer from back pack beer 'hawkers' from the Everton match in areas which we understand are difficult to service demand. These staff members will act as queue busters which will improve service particularly at half time.

Alison Plant, Head of Hospitality & Events

Question Three: Is there any way that supporters could buy season tickets over a year period (in advance) through the club, rather than a finance company either using vouchers or your own season ticket cards?

We are always looking at ways for season ticket holders to spread the cost when purchasing season tickets and are looking at ways to spread the cost further next season. Details will be communicated early next year.

Nicola Keye, Head of Consumer Sales

Question Four: Entrance music - Are the club intending to increase the volume to build up the atmosphere at the start of each half? What can we do to improve atmosphere in the stadium this year? A nice match day experience will be welcomed by all.

We continue to work hard on improving match experience. In terms of music, we carried a vote on entrance music on avfc.co.uk for Everton. The winning song, with over 27 per cent of the vote, was paranoid by Black Sabbath. We will continue to select the entrance song using this method for the next few games. Please visit avfc.co.uk to vote. Prior to the Everton game (12-3pm) there was a family fun day in the Academy building. Fans could take part in lots of different activities, including face painting, completely free of charge. There will be lots of other opportunities to enjoy these activities throughout the season. At Everton we also trialled propane flames as the players walked out on to the field. The giant Holte End Flag was unfurled during the player handshake and there was a zorb ball race at half time. We also supported a fan led initiative to bring back the fun in the Holte End. We realise how important match experience is for everyone in the ground and we will continue to trial new things and work with fan groups to improve the experience throughout the season.

Russell Jones, Head of Marketing and Communications

Question Five: What are the plans for the North stand redevelopment?

There are currently no imminent plans for a redevelopment of the North Stand.

Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive Officer

Question Six: Are there plans for facilities for children on a matchday? Including meals, family areas, pre-match bars?

We do have a family friendly kiosk on Lower Trinity, where the offering is adapted slightly for children e.g. cones of chips. In addition families are very welcome within the Academy, entrance to this area is complimentary, and there are X-Boxes available for the children to utilise. On a number of matches this area actually houses family fun activities. We will be looking to introduce additional child friendly food offerings in the family enclosure kiosk as the season progresses.

Alison Plant, Head of Hospitality and Events

Question Seven: Will smoking areas be implemented all around the stadium?

The club has undertaken a thorough assessment of the stadium in order to identify any areas suitable for use as spectator smoking areas. It was concluded that due to legal, operational and stadium safety requirements, the only possible location is at the top of the external steps to the upper levels of the Holte Stand. Smoking is currently permitted in this area, but unfortunately it is not envisaged that any provision can be made for those using the other stands at Villa Park.

John Handley, Head of Security

Question Eight: Will we ever have a museum to showcase our great history? Either at the stadium or in the city centre.

This question has now been raised three times via the SCG. Our position has not changed from September 2011 (SCG12), where we explained as follows: In any future development of the North Stand, we will explore the possibility of creating a suitable space to allow us to house a museum. We could not create a visitor's experience that would do justice to our heritage without significant investment, so it would be necessary for us to carry out a feasibility study to ensure that such investment could be recouped, and that the facility would be commercially sustainable. We continue to recognise the importance of our history, and would welcome the opportunity to share our proud story via a museum.

Lee Preece, Head of Football Operations and Projects

Question Nine: Why is the Holte Pub closed on non-matchdays?

Unfortunately the facility was underutilised. A number of initiatives have been implemented to encourage regular users, but this did not prove successful.

Alison Plant, Head of Hospitality and Events


Question 10: Would it be possible to play reserve/academy games closer to Birmingham?

With the launch of the new Professional Development League to replace the Reserve League we will be playing games between Villa Park, Bodymoor Heath and Hinckley. Full details of all games will be listed on the official site in advance. In addition, all home games in the NextGen tournament will be played at Villa Park, and we'd encourage all fans to come down to the stadium to support the team in that competition.

Sharon Barnhurst, Club Secretary

Question 11: Are there any plans for better transport links with the redevelopment of Aston?

There is an area action plan for Aston relating to specific sites where redevelopment can be expected over the next few years. Whilst specific sites will be developed (these developments are not connected with Aston Villa), the club is not aware of any plans to change, improve or add to the existing Road or Rail Network. The BIKE NORTH BIRMINGHAM PROJECT is a funded project that is developing recognised cycle routes and promoting cycling within North Birmingham. There will be opportunities for supporters in key areas such as Sutton Coldfield, Erdington etc. to take advantage of existing or additional cycle routes (and cycle parking at Villa Park), so the club will keep in touch with developments and communicate to our fans accordingly. We remain in contact with the City Council and other transport authorities regarding all elements of transport, but cannot see any significant changes regarding transport links for the foreseeable future.

Lee Preece, Head of Football Operations and Projects


Question 12: Has the club changed its view from bringing in signs/flags? As stewards took a heavy handed view last year.

The use of banners at Villa Park is at the discretion of the club's security personnel. In general, small banners and flags held by one person are acceptable provided they are not disturbing other supporters in the vicinity. The use of larger banners, held by more than one person or fastened to barriers or other parts of the Stadium, is generally not encouraged due to fire-safety reasons and the fact that such banners have a high probability of restricting the view of others. Club security personnel will remove any banner which they believe is effecting other supporters' enjoyment of a match. Overall the club is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable matchday experience for all supporters and, as a result, club security personnel will also remove any banner of any size which displays any offensive, inflammatory or otherwise inappropriate message or image.

John Handley, Head of Security

Question 13: Will wine still be served in the kiosks on match day?

Yes - red, white and rose will be available from all kiosks.

Alison Plant, Head of Hospitality and Events

Question 14: When will safe standing be trialled at the stadium?

There are currently no plans or dates for safe standing to be trialled at Villa Park. The club has held a number of productive meetings with the FSF (Football Supporters Federation) who are leading a Safe Standing Campaign, and we believe that Villa Park could be a great stadium to use for a small scale trial of a 'safe standing area' using rail seats, as is the case in many German stadiums. However, at present the debate still has a long way to go, and there is no sense of when, if at all, safe standing areas may become a possibility at Villa Park. The club will keep fans fully informed of any developments in this matter.

Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive Officer

Question 15: Can you do loyalty discounts on additional matchday tickets purchased by a season ticket holder (I have family from Sweden who attend five to 10 games a season).

The club is always looking at ways to incentivise fans and will be replacing the Recruit a Villan scheme. Further details about our new loyalty cash scheme can be found at - http://www.avfc.co.uk/page/loyaltycash.

Nicola Keye, Head of Consumer Sales

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