Aston Villa - Opportunity To Leave Villa Park?
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Opportunity To Leave Villa Park?

Opportunity to move away from Villa Park?

I am not saying that we should move away from Villa Park. It is the heart and soul of the club but I thought, as the club appears to be thinking big, it would be worth hearing peoples views on possibly the biggest potential change that the Randy era could bring. I understand all the reasons why the club should stay close to its roots, however most of them seem to be based on memories and tradition.

Whilst these are things that can not be overlooked it may be worth considering a couple of alternative views. What got me thinking about this was the plans for the
Holte Pub and hearing what fans would like. The idea of a museum or a Villa themed pub seem popular. As local demographics have changed, very few supporters now live within easy walking distance of VP. Infact most of the local area could be described, at best, as multi cultural. Due to this change most pubs in the region are struggling to stay in business.

Would an extra Villa themed pub/museum attract much business except on match?? I doubt that it would generate enough to warrant the expense on rebuilding and refurbishing it. The club would like it to be a hotel. But in truth the location does not make it the most attractive proposition for any visitors to Brum. Whilst the ground is convenient for the motorways and rail links, parking is a nightmare.

The surrounding area, other than Aston Hall is poor inner city and does not reflect the stature of the club. So here is the crux of the matter. Would moving to a new ground better serve the clubs purpose. In the same way as Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Bolton and Man City have? And in the same way as Portsmouth and Liverpool amongst others are considering. Arsenal have a comparable history to us and Highbury the library must have meant the world to their fans. However they seem more than happy with their new home. A ground in the centre of Brum would be ideal.

The ground could have bars and restaurants that could do business 7 days a week. The museum would be accessible. Transport in and out would be superb, although parking may be an issue. There are hundreds of bars and pubs that overnight, would become the new home of Villa supporters. Working in the city there is no reason for me to visit my matchday pub (the Adventurers) on any other day except matchday. This would change dramatically if fans could just nip down to there 'Villa' pub on a more regular basis.

Those that have been to Newcastle United will see the benefit of having a ground in the city centre. Geordie fans come out of the ground and in 2 minutes they are in the Big Market (the equivalent of our Broad Street). There are numerous other benefits to a City Centre ground but the availability of land means that this scenario is unlikely. However it is not beyond the realms of possibility for a new ground by the NEC. What are other fans views on this??

Article by utv-sotc

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday October 4 2006

Time: 11:10AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
build a super stadium on the NEC complex, massive amounts of parking, excellent rail links and road links. international airport right next to it. i'd be all for it, the ground could be more than just a football stadium too... we fear change, yet it should be embraced, we all say that small heath is a sh!t hole but in all fairness the surroundings of villa is a dump..
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04/10/2006 11:25:00

Hmm this in an interesting one, however we recently re-did the trinity road stand so i doubt we would move for a very long time? I dont care as long as the stadium looks good, ticket prices do not rise because of stadium upgrades etc and is ten minutes from a train station!
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04/10/2006 11:36:00

stick a new stadium up yer arse ! Aston Villa STAYS in Aston
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04/10/2006 11:39:00

I think a more interesting proposition is to redevelope the surrounding area. Broad Street used to be a dump, especially near Gas Street but now it's THE place to both live and go out in the evening. As you rightly pointed out, the transport possibiolities in the area are fantastic and with a redevelopement the parking situation could easily be addressed. Threads on the forum have agrgued the point of the standard of VP and redevelopement issues as well as relocation but redevelopemnt and increased capacity on the existing site is a very real posibility even with today's planning permisions and regulations. There is also the possibility of rebuilding entirely on the original site(see Wembley but obviously on a smaller scale and a better managed building project - hopefully), something that will be done soon here in Norway at my local club . That then raises the issue of matchdays during the rebuild but one step at a time, everything is possible when there is sufficient support. I think it would be great to see the old houses of B6 restored to the rightfull place in Birmingham's cultural history instead of being used as bedsits and flats as many are today. Redevelopement on this scale can be done and often proves to be very financially sound. I site Broad Street as one example of this but if you want an none-city centre example, look at the Isle of Dogs in London. Randy has already spoken about redeveloping the area and I would not be surprised if he gets the local council on side and starts this kind of major project. On the same subject I would love to see some other areas of Brum reclaimed in the same way, parts of Mosley and Kings Heath and Edgebaston were one beautifull residential areas but have now been converted to "slum-land" (I know that some parts of these areas are still beautifull residential areas but not all that could be are). I think it's a real shame when we let out architectural cuture waste away to ruin like this and then build soul-less empty/funtional boxes in their place. Taking care of tradition, as we all seam to be keen on where AVFC is concerned, also means taking care of our herritage.
Villain Of The North
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04/10/2006 11:44:00

yes lets build a mega stadium by the nec next door to an international airport so our wonderful players can breath in all that aviation fuel and exhaust, DOH doesn't cover it. see the point about the area, it is a ***** hole, VOTN with you on this, part of a villan is the feeling at VILLA PARK, stand in front of those steps and look up at our crest, feel that? thats your heart lifting, there is nothing like it, you can feel the history, its like hearing the chanting and singing of the fans from the last 100 odd years, the place vibrates with it. yes I know its probably just the trucks on spag junction. sentimental maybe but the place just feels special. just my opinion
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04/10/2006 12:16:00

Damn I've brought a tear to my eye. UTV
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04/10/2006 12:18:00

cw&c I think you will find that the Villa are actually located in Witton, not Aston. The fact that you had no substance to your argument would lend weight to the point in the original article, that memories and tradition would be the main barrier to fans excepting change. Other clubs have proved that this is not an insurmountable barrier. However VotN, it not Randys objective or ambition to redevelop the local area. It is the cultural change that changed the area, not the buildings. It is a complete non starter to think that similar changes could be introduced to compare it to Broad Street. No matter what you do, people are only going to come to the area on matchdays. The NEC is interesting, the lack of pubs though would mean a change in pre match habits for lots of supporters. I think an option would be to relocate the Science Museum back into the centre of Brum and build a stadium on the site of Millenium Point / Thinktank. Plenty of land. Only 5 minutes from current ground. 5 minutes from New Street and Moor Street. Lots of pubs. It would make accessibilty to the ground very easy 24/7. The centre of Brum would be claret and blue dominated on matchdays. I think there are real merits at looking at the potential opportunities this brings up. Importantly it would bring lots of potential investors to the table in the way that Emirates are involved with Arsenal. It is definitely worth having a feasability study carried out. And if at the end of the study, staying put is the best option then that is what should happen. I do not think it would do any harm to have a look at the options though.
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04/10/2006 12:19:00

I think it is interesting that the Fear has not added his thoughts to this forum. Does this mean that he does not mind either way or that he is already privvy to sensitive information??
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04/10/2006 12:30:00

the NEC is a nightmare to get to itself, 20 mins on a train, then you have to walk across it to get to where you need to be, this in itself can take 20 mins, and its not in aston. There is nowhere big enough in the centre of brum to put a stadium. the only available space is where the old post office was opposite millenium point and thats no where near big enough. Villa park is home and the surrounding area, whilst not being pleasent, has improved dramatically. there are logistical issues regarding parking, but that is the same at almost any ground. Birmingham is so full of developments that to put a ground anywhere near the city centre would mean putting it in a suburb, VP is 10 mins from town and a much nicer option than neechels, handsworth, garrets green, alum rock etc. if you wanted a ground in a nice area, you have to travel to four oaks estate or little aston (which is where most of the players actually live and is an hour fom brum) and theres no way the residents of those areas want a stadium on there doorstep. if the postition of VP was an issue, they'd have changed it years ago. great discussion though !
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04/10/2006 12:31:00

Sorry voiceoftheholt but you, although making some valid points are also talking about something that you have no knowledge of. How do you know Randy Lerner's intentions. He has already stated that he wants to redevelope the local area and that he is starting with the Holt Hotel. The question is, how far do his ambitions stretch in this area of developement. As far as the culture of the area changing is concerened, that was for socio-economic reason. To put it simply, the area lost it's value due to wealthier people 20-40 years ago deciding to move out to new developemnets rather than invest in maintaining the older buildings of B6. This was obviously contributed to by the poor vision of Birmingam city council prefering to use their funds on "liberal" hairbrained schemes as left wing councils are known to do, instead of maintaining and redeveloping cultral Birmingham as has now, in later years, become the case. If the investment is made, the people with money (I don't mean rich but people who have enough money to maintain their own properties - now that would be nice, would it not) will return. OK not right next to the ground maybe but right next to the ground is far better suited to commercial propperties such as pubs, clubs, hotels and a Villa museum.
Villain Of The North
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04/10/2006 12:35:00

This is the one thing I would object to the most! Aston Villa IS Villa Park! Villa Park IS Aston Villa! Players, managers, fans, chairmen all come and go but to move stadiums would rip the heart and soul out of the club. I would never accept it.
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04/10/2006 12:38:00

i'm off again, Steff, you got me feeling sentimental. My gran (bless her) was born on witton lane. doug knocked her house down, so it would be fantastic to see the area redeveloped. if it is developed then other things will follow, other companies will invest in the area and aston, or as VOTH rightly puts it witton will start to look pristine. all it takes is one person to invest correctly and the rest will follow.
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04/10/2006 12:47:00

Calm down everyone, it hurts not to talk. Lets start filling VP before we need a new stadium. And I doubt we would need one if Ellis was developed like trinity and north like holte - fill in the corners and hey presto its bloomin massive. A holte hotel pub would be packed go to some of the others around the ground on matchday and that will throw the article argument down the pan. VP is villa park, invest the money in the team. One last point.....arsenal have had a new stadium, you may want to ask them how much they are paying for a season ticket becuase it dont pay for itself.
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04/10/2006 12:52:00

I live in Newcastle and the city centre ground does have it's benefits, but it's important to remember that Newcastle is a very very different city to Birmingham. Newcastle are the main team up here for miles and miles. Their fan base stretches from Durham up to the top of Northumberland. Only a small minority of Newcastle fans live within walking distance of the ground. Many have to use the Metro (underground system) to get to games and this can take up to half hour, the equivalent of travelling to VP from Redditch. The main benefit of St.James' location, is that getting to a pub from the ground is easy. However, it has taken a long time for SJP to become the nice ground in nice surroundings that it is today. The ground has been developed for a while, but the areas surrounding it are only just starting to have money put into them. Building work is still going on to renovate that area of the city. Shearers Bar at the ground only opened a few months ago. Therefore, if Randy invests in the ground and the land surrounding it by building bars, restaurants etc. then this in turn will improve the surroundings and bring more people in, as has happened at SJP. The transport links will have to be improved to cope with demand, and house prices will increase as the area could become more appealing. There is a much bigger choice of bars in Brum, which is why people go there rather than stay around VP, whereas in Newcastle the bars near to the ground have moved there BECAUSE of it. If Randy plays it right, Aston Villa could be responsible for a re-generation of the whole area, much like Newcastle have been up here
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04/10/2006 13:31:00

Yeah, let's move to the NEC so we can queue for an hour to get out of the car park. And pay 8 to park. And get stuck on the motorway. And be nearer Coventry than Birmingham (more ammo for the noses being the team of our city). No, we need to help develop the area we are in.
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04/10/2006 13:52:00

Tyler Villa season tickets at arsenal were more expensive at the library than they are now, so i'm led to believe...
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04/10/2006 14:19:00

What a great debate. Fans have mentioned many reasons for staying and others many reasons for moving. IMHO I do not know what would be right or what would be wrong. This lends weight to fact that a feasability study would be in order. This could discuss all the pro's and con's of moving ground. Whilst some fans feel passionately about Aston Villa staying in Witton, others see potential opportunities that a new ground would bring. I personally would love to have a ground in the city centre, althougth I think if a properly financed study showed that there was more benefit to staying in Witton then that is what should happen. I am personally not keen on the NEC but would again be keen to hear the results of what an independent study would say. I am still interested to hear the Fears point of view on this.
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04/10/2006 14:25:00

tough one there but I think Aston Villa should stay at Villa Park its where we belong
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04/10/2006 14:53:00

Even though the Villa Park of 2006 has 4 different stands to the Villa Park I first visited in 1973 it is still Villa Park and a new ground would be the last straw for me. It is our link to the past. It should never be broken. I agree with VOTN, develop VP and use it as a catalyst with the City Council to regenerate the area. Think regeneration, look at Manchester City Council and what their East Manchester project is doing.... house prices near Citys new ground were c. 10,000 for a terrace... now you will be pushed to find one under 80,000 and they are still rising.

AVFC and Birmingham City Council working for the benefit of one another.
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04/10/2006 16:12:00

I can understand moving for expansion so that the capacity of the ground can be increased, but you also must consider that the location of the ground is perfect for transportation. It is located off the motorway in the middle of the country, this is why the ground stages many international matches, and has been choosen as a venue for the 2012 olympic games. I think that the government would be willing to put some money forward to update/expand Villa park as a result of the olympics!
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04/10/2006 16:16:00

also add to that the FA cup semi finals EVERY year. if it was so delapidated and unaccessible, the fa wouldn't use it. i know of many fans of other teams who think villa park is a gem.
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04/10/2006 16:48:00

AC I think it is interesting that you use Man City as an example. You say stop at VP but then describe the positive impact that a move to a new stadium has had for them?? As for semi finals and Olympics, VP was selected because it is the largest centrally located ground, not because it is in Aston specifically. A ground in the city centre would only enhance this accessibility. Still it is interesting to hear peoples opinions. I think the original poster got it right in saying that the main opposition would be memories and tradition. When we were European Champions in'82 I wonder what fans would have said then if they were told the club was about to be bought lock stock by an unknown American who has no history of sporting success?? I guarantee it would not have been received as it has now. I mention that just to show how peoples perceptions and opinions can change. If in 15 years Villa were top of the league, playing to a crowd of 80,000 every week, in the worlds greatest stadium based in the city centre, you would not hear many people saying "I wish we were back in Witton". Still haven't heard the Fears opinion on this????
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04/10/2006 17:22:00

Mr Fear you are conspicuous by your absense, I know your honest opinion on this matter would be most welcome, I know you have to work and spend time with family blah blah, but we are your family too and we feel abandoned and neglected. UTV
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04/10/2006 18:02:00

Aside from the fact that VP is already quite well located as far as car access is concerned, the history of Villa at Aston Lower Grounds goes back to the late 1870s. Villla played a number of the Birmingham Cup finals there in the 1880s - the history of the area regarding football is immense. However - at some point (not now), a much bigger ground will probably be needed. When it somes to that, I believe that the old Villa Park should probably become a Museum to Football. I don't think any other club goes back so far to one location, even though they did spend years at Perry Barr for their normal games.
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04/10/2006 18:57:00

:-o lol, sorry, didn't mean to neglect my family! I'd be amazed if they looked at moving in the next decade, that isn't down to inside knowledge, just we need to grow far bigger to even think about it and we do have space to develop at Villa Park, it isn't as if we are small now and we can re-do the north stand (which I think will happen once we are selling out regularly) + fill in the corners. I've mixed views about moving, VP is historic, although since the Trin was demolished, it hasn't 'felt' quite the same has it? Or is that just me!? Agree with voiceoftheholte that if we ended up playing to a crowd of 80 000, winning everything in site and had a ground with all the brass knobs on it, we'd probably not hear too many complaints. I do know a couple of my mates reckon a move away would be the end of their love affair, but as that is some way in the future, if at all, I don't think we need to worry just yet. Lets concentrate on getting Villa Park full to the rafters and see where Randy and MON take us! (Mental note, don't take an afternoon off again, stay on the site!!!!!!!!!!!!)
The Fear
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04/10/2006 19:03:00

I have done all 92 league grounds and Villa Park is my favourite, I have always enjoyed the atmosphere and the history of the ground but I did prefer the old main stand to the new one.
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04/10/2006 19:38:00

Randy lerner could buy all the land around Villa Park, he and we need, for Pubs, Clubs, Museums and CAR PARKING. This keeps his money in AVFC. Attract more business to a Football Stadium, from outside of the football world.
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04/10/2006 20:55:00

Just develop villa park, move and the name of a new ground would be just a sponsor and villa park would leave our vocabulary.
chris the villan
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05/10/2006 09:39:00

pleeeeease re do the north stand...thats my only wish
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05/10/2006 12:15:00

It'll come, it will have to, but I cant think that it will happen in most of our lifetimes.
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30/03/2007 00:35:00


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