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SCG August 2013: Senior club figures answer questions from fans

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SCG August 2013: Senior club figures answer questions from fans

Club officials - including Chief Executive Paul Faulkner - met with fans in the Holte Pub prior to our match against Malaga.

As well as discussing all things claret and blue, the fans at the meeting - a mixture of season ticket holders, Lions Club chiefs, the Supporters Trust and representatives from message boards - submitted their most important ideas, suggestions and questions to the club that were formulated into the top 10.

These questions have been forwarded to the appropriate Head of Department at the club and both the questions and our responses are published below:

Question One: Could the club accept cup scheme applications online or send a form with season ticket application forms?

We are working with Ticketmaster Systems to ensure you can opt in to the Cup Scheme when purchasing your season ticket online. This is something we hope to have in place for the 2014-15 season. The form can currently be downloaded from the official site. We will also ensure that every supporter who supplies their email address or mobile phone number will receive a confirmation note from us advising that their Cup Scheme and/or Away Scheme request has been processed prior to the season commencing.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Two: Are the club working with the police to combat the use of smoke bombs at matches?

In recent seasons there has been a concerning increase in the use of flares, smoke emitting items and fireworks, collectively termed pyrotechnics. These items are designed for use at sea and in large open areas. Their use in stadiums is dangerous, illegal and shows a lack of regard for other spectators. The police have powers of seizure and arrest which they use in partnership with the club. A Villa supporter who used a smoke device at the recent friendly at Luton Town has appeared before a court, has been heavily fined and has been banned from all football stadiums for three years. Even in circumstances where a person does not appear before a court, the club reserves the right to ban that fan from Villa Park and from purchasing away tickets.The CCTV network at Villa Park is extensive and has and will be used to identify persons acting in this fashion. Please follow this link for a recent article from the Birmingham Evening Mail highlighting this particular issue -

John Handley - Head of Safety & Security Operations

Question Three: Why is our O65 season ticket lower than a student? One is just starting their career and the other has an average of 30 to 40 years income.

Many students currently undertake part time work and/or study on a part time basis. Most people who retire at 65 are no longer working. When looking across the League, we feel that we offer reasonably priced concessionary tickets and will continue to monitor all our prices including retirement age, student concessions and the school leaver's age.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Four: Why can't we exchange or return online merchandise purchase in one of the club stores?

The online store is run as a separate operation from our retail outlets and all stock for Mail Order sits in a separate warehouse entirely.

John Greenfield - Head of Merchandising

Question Five: Why do the ticket office wait to send out season cards?

Our priority relocation window is often at the beginning of July once season card holders have had opportunity to renew their season tickets. Many fans take advantage of improving where they sit, want to join friends and family or purchase additional seats when they relocate. Season ticket cards are printed once this window closes, enabling us to send season cards in advance of the season with the correct seat information printed on the card.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Six: Can the quality of AVTV be improved in the future, and what are the medium and long term plans for AVTV and the clubs partnership with Perform Group?

We have recently agreed a new three-year deal with Perform Group. As well as continuing to manage a large domestic sports portfolio, Perform Group has a vast international footprint, which includes offices in 14 different countries. They manage some of the biggest digital services and clients in the world and we believe their ambition and growth offers us some exciting opportunities to expand our own digital footprint globally as well as improve our service to UK supporters. Regards the quality of AVTV, we continue to work hard to improve our service. During the next nine months we will be working with Perform to build a new TV console, which will integrate our desktop and mobile services. While we acknowledge we have lots of room to improve, it's important to recognise that AVTV doesn't have the resource or budget of a company like Sky Sports, the current benchmark for digital sport content. Regardless of that, AVTV currently has the highest number of subscribers ever, has delivered more live streams this past 12 months than ever before and has recently announced international programming deals with Eurosport (in Asia) and three major airlines (All Nippon Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Jet Airwards). In summary our medium and long term plans are to continue to improve the service we offer subscribers and increase our programming footprint globally.

Russell Jones - Head of Marketing

Question Seven: Why has the allocation of tickets to Lions Clubs been cut?

The Lions Club away ticket allocation has not been cut. It has been increased from 200 to 250 when the club takes 3,000 tickets for an away game. Lions' Club chairpersons have been asked to purchase any additional tickets online in order to prevent season ticket holders waiting for long periods to secure their individual away tickets. There is no restriction to anyone booking away tickets online provided they have authorisation from the person they are purchasing for and that the relevant away sales criteria has been met on a per supporter basis.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

Question Eight: Can we have tours round Bodymoor Heath?

During school holidays we do organise a number of visits for season ticket holders to Bodymoor Heath, to have a tour of the facility and see part of a first team training session. The training ground isn't designed to accommodate a large number of visitors, and is obviously a place of work for the players as well, and so there are no plans to introduce large-scale tours of the facility.

Paul Faulkner - Chief Executive

Question Nine: Can the club improve the range of clothing for older women?

We like to think that the club caters for all ages at present but we will be looking at this in our annual review of clothing and other products when the situation will be re-assessed. In the Macron range we already have an extensive choice of product for women of all ages, however, we will have a close look at our non-branded clothing with a view to extending the range for the older person.

John Greenfield - Head of Merchandising

Question Ten: As season ticket holders, it feels we are penalised over the season for sitting in the same seat, as there are increasing ticket offers. Are the club planning on rewarding season ticket holders who have already paid to attend every game? This should be a personal incentive, not reduced tickets for friends and family. For example, will we get additional Villa Cash at Xmas as we have in previous seasons?

The club endeavours to reward season ticket holders by offering sensibly priced season tickets, affordable ways to pay, complimentary AVTV as well as priority access to away tickets. The club has introduced Villa Cash this season with a 5% start up balance - based on the cost of the season ticket purchased as a personal reward. Villa Cash can be used to purchase home tickets, including home cup tickets, Villa merchandise as well as hospitality and voucher booklets. Supporters can also earn 5% net cash on transactions against home tickets as well as 10% against merchandise, soccer schools and Villa events. The scheme is in its infancy and we will continue to look at ways to enhance the scheme further throughout the season. The club recognises that there are ticket offers throughout the season, but guarantees that season card holders secure their seat at the cheapest possible price when compared to buying the exact same seat for every home game on a match ticket basis.We feel it is vital to maximise attendance and generate the best atmosphere possible to support the team for every home game. Maximising attendance also plays a critical role in helping us to maintain sensibly priced season ticket prices for our season card holders.

Nicola Keye - Head of Consumer Sales

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 20th August 2013
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