Your questions answered: January 2013
Club responds to supporter questions.
25th Jan 2013
Your questions answered: January 2013


Question One: Can we have cheaper match tickets and season tickets? There needs to be something done regarding the price difference between row 6 and row 7 of the Holte End. Why is there a large price jump from £295 to £480 for one row?

The club released 2000 seats around the stadium priced at £295 ahead of the 12-13 season. Sightlines and occupancy levels were taken into account when deciding which seats were selected. We will continue to review price points and recognise some seats a row apart may vary dependant on where they are located in the stadium.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Two: Has the club considered installing free Wi-Fi at Villa Park? It could be used for communications during a match i.e. Twitter. It could also be used for match betting, corporate seats and live match stats.

The club has been approached by various groups and suppliers offering a Wi-Fi solution for Matchday PDA connectivity. However, a viable and cost-effective Wi-Fi solution has yet to be identified to date. There are several technical and logistical hurdles that are inherent with installation of these types of cable-intensive solutions within a four-stand stadium. However, we are contemplating a trial to investigate VP-specific feasibility.We are also looking into a possible cellular solution which would negate the need for Wi-Fi.Unfortunately, there are no firm timelines at the moment.

Tom Fantini - Head of Facilities

Question Three: Would it be possible to run more fundays to encourage families to attend and make it a full day out? Maybe introduce more things for girls to do, and competitions where children can meet players?

It will also be good to have advance advertisement of when upcoming family fundays are being held. We currently aim to run six family fun days a season.These generally run alongside games with a family ticket deal.It is difficult to commit to the exact dates at the start of the season as fixtures can move and change due to TV. However, we advertise family fundays at least six-weeks prior to the fixture through email, www.avfc.co.uk and local press. Regards activities, our aim is to try and cater to all. Saying that we will put some extra thought into girl specific activities and more player oriented events.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing & Communications

Question Four: Would it be possible to have a third tier of season ticket which gives access to ten home games a year in a mixture of categories (e.g. 3A, 3B & 4VV) to encourage more repeat attendances?

This type of product has been discussed and continues to be something under consideration. We're always looking at ways to encourage repeat attendances and this type of product has been trialled previously - such as the Final 5 ticket a few seasons ago as well as this year's hat-trick match bundle.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Five: As we sit in Holte End Lower it would be good for the kids to have something to do in the concourse before the match starts i.e. chalkboards, noughts and crosses, wooden wall puzzles because they sit below the shelves that people put their drinks on.

Having more family activities around the ground are food for thought. As it stands we focus our attention on the family area and academy building. However, it is certainly something we will explore further.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing & Communications

Question Six: Could we have Acorns printed on the children shirts?

Unfortunately it is not an option to have Acorns printed on the children's shirts this season due to exclusive rights our current shirt sponsor, Genting, have in their contract.The Genting logo is not allowed to feature on children's shirts due to their association with casinos, but we are unable to put another logo, such as Acorns, on instead due to the contractual situation.

Paul Faulkner - Chief Executive Officer

Question Seven: How can the club be more effective in dealing with bad language and behaviour with fans? Should this start with players and managers?

It is often the case at all sporting events, which by their nature excite strong emotions, that robust language is used by all who strongly associate with the fluctuating fortunes of the team they support.Often, but not always, this language is moderated when in the presence of women and children. Realistically it is not possible to insist that nobody inside Villa Park uses bad language, but the club is always prepared to react to complaints of regular or particularly offensive language used by any person.The enjoyment of all our fans is high in our thoughts and it is clearly undesirable that the terminology used by a minority should adversely affect that enjoyment.

John Handley - Head of Security

Question Eight: Could pictures taken at Open Days be brought at poster size?

Yes. We now have a dedicated picture site where fans can purchase pictures of famous moments or pictures of themselves at Villa events in multiple sizes - with frames, on canvases or on mugs (www.avfc.co.uk/pictures). Aston Villa Pictures was only launched in December so the first customer event available was the JV Life Christmas Party at the Snowdome.All events will be individually password protected so only customers attending that particular event will have access.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing & Communications

Question Nine: What can the club stewards do to control smoking in toilets?

I will respond in similar vein to previous answers on this topic. It is hugely disappointing that people cannot control their addiction for around two hours, but continue to illegally smoke in various toilets around Villa Park on matchdays. They worsen the environment for their fellow fans and are resistant to club stewards. It is difficult to deal with smoking in toilets as issues of privacy and dignity have to be considered.People are ejected from Villa Park for smoking and have received club bans.This will continue. A smoking is area is available at half-time to supporters that use the Upper Holte End. Unfortunately, the other stands at Villa Park do not allow for a similar facility.

John Handley - Head of Security

Question Ten: Has the club considered a neutral fans area (like Fulham) which may encourage other fans to attend and may prevent visiting fans buying tickets for home areas (as the case was against Man Utd)?

The club continues to look at ticketing options, home and away areas and endeavour to prevent away fans from purchasing seats in home areas. However, we recognise that some mixed fans would prefer to sit together to watch games at Villa Park and we will continue to look at neutral seating as an option.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Eleven: Could you offer a points system for season ticket holders so the benefits can be tailored and chosen by the individual? Everyone gets XX points which can be swapped for different benefits e.g. club shop voucher, programme, travel voucher.

We do currently offer a loyalty cash programme for season ticket holders. Please visit www.avfc.co.uk/loyaltycash to find out more. At the moment loyalty cash can only be acquired when purchasing tickets and redeemed against tickets or merchandise.We are working hard to try and expand the scheme to other areas around the club. Keep tuned to www.avfc.co.uk/loyaltycash for updates.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing & Communications

Question Twelve: Could there be an open day at Bodymoor Heath in the close season?

As it stands Bodymoor Heath isn't set-up to host large scale spectator events.As a result the costs would be prohibitive.However, hosting an open day at Villa Park during pre-season is a possibility.It would be difficult to commit to this now as we would need to understand the team's pre-season schedule and the pitch preparation schedule post the Bon Jovi concert.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing & Communications

Question Thirteen: A rethink of the TV screens needs to happen to prevent overcrowding in the concourses.

The club will take the comment on-board in its review of the IPTV system in the concourses. Several years ago, the club installed an intricate network of over 200 large screen HD TVs in the concourses and lounges to enhance the supporter experience. A concerted effort was made to identify the best possible locations - with consideration being given to safety regulations while still trying to accommodate comfortable viewing for the largest number of supporters. We understand density may be an issue in certain locations at certain times, however at no point are the concourses allowed to be overcrowded (i.e. exceeding regulated capacities per the safety certificate et al.)

Tom Fantini - Head of Facilities

Question Fourteen: I would like to see meals targeted for children introduced e.g. nuggets + chips, selection of sweets. At present there is hardly a choice for children at the kiosks.

We are constantly reviewing the food and beverage offerings and deals available to children on a matchday. The Newcastle match will see the family kiosk launch of our Meal Deal of a VP burger & soft drink at the special price of £5. We are also currently looking at extending our confectionery offers with the new addition of vending machines around the stadium to contain the following items - Mars, Snickers, Twix, Bounty, Caramel, M&Ms, Minstrels, Starburst. The vending machines should be installed at the end of February ready for the Manchester City match. This season has also seen the introduction of two new items of popcorn (available in three different flavours) and candy floss in the family concourse kiosk to offer an alternative to the usual offer of crisps and confectionery. Moving forward we will have more trials of a chicken nugget meal option in the family kiosk before the end of the season. To do a full range of children's meals at all 34 kiosks around the stadium isn't logistically viable so we tend to try and concentrate on the Trinity where more children are present.

Alison Plant - Head of Hospitality & Events

Question Fifteen: I'd like to hear more about safe standing! Could this give the club negative publicity due to the current media exposure of Hillsborough?

Villa have been the first Premier League club to publically support the Football Supporters Federation's (FSF) campaign to persuade the government and football authorities to introduce, on a trial basis, limited sections of standing areas at grounds.Anyone who wants to understand more about this campaign and how they can support it and participate should visit the FSF's website at www.fsf.org.uk, where there is a great amount of detail on the campaign and our role so far. As we all know, Hillsborough was a terrible tragedy, that was sadly compounded by a shameful cover-up. However, it is important not to connect that with the current safe standing campaign, which is proposing a very safe and controlled way to allow fans to stand to watch football matches, and certainly is not suggesting anything that would lead back to the particular circumstances that caused the Hillsborough tragedy. Ultimately, we believe that a majority of our fans would at least like the option to stand to watch football at Villa Park. Under the current regulations that simply isn't possible, and so we are happy to support this campaign for a trial to prove that standing can be reintroduced safely to top flight football.

Paul Faulkner - Chief Executive Officer

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