á Aston Villa - Villa Park. Time To Move?
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Villa Park. Time To Move?

I know its got all that history, I know its been improved, I know we can't and haven't filled it regularly for years, but is it time Villa started talking and exploring the idea of moving to a modern purpose built stadium ?

I'd be sorry to see it go, but then I'd be keen to have a stadium up with the best again, especially if by some miracle we start competing with the top spots in the Premiership and Europe. That's our ultimate aim, that's the dream, no matter how far away it may seem its the target and surely we should be considering a ground to match. As is always the case the traditionalists would bemoan the loss of such a great stadium but then Ellis wrecked much of what there was praiseworthy, well before his departure, what's left is a mismatch of costly building fabric, in which its hard to produce the functional areas for supporter comfort.

Views can still be restrictive, access to toilets and catering abysmal, certainly at best basic with knobs on to make it look good. Oh for a modern day clean and unobstructed stadium purposely built to suit the viewing public, full of the right amenities to encourage a family day out.

A site easy to get to, and a place where you know that if you arrive at 11 in the morning there is enough to keep you there to 11 or later at night. Imagine a day every other week where you know you can bring your family, meet up with your family. Where the women folk can shop, do their glamour thing, whilst the lads watch past Villa games, have a sociable drink, where the kids and grandchildren can play safely, enjoy the Villa experience one and all.

Then after lunch a few beers, cinema, TV, games rooms, Xbox's for the wannabe managers and so on. Then in the mood, out to your nice seat with an unadulterated view, to watch the game, safe in the knowledge the children if they don't want to listen to mom and dad or nan and granddad abusing the English language, are safely in care in the warmth away from the rain and snow and freezing weather.
Then when the match is over, instead of the annoying walk to claim your car, the slow tortuous exit onto the route home you can sit and enjoy banter with family and friends and others before a decent meal, a relaxing climb down and happy good byes, before a nice relaxed exit via immediate alternative transport locations to return you home.

Do for me, and although I appreciate I might need Randy's bank balance to afford all of it, I'm sure much could be incorporated at a reasonable cost.

When I look at what it costs me to bring those in my family keen to see the Villa, the peripheral cost of those who need to come down to meet up with those local to the ground, and their peripheral costs, added to the overall costs for food, added entertainment and drink, to say nothing of the tiring drives, the nightmare getting to and especially way from the ground, I think it would pay.

Certainly if Aston Villa plc were reaping the benefit of the total expenditure I'm sure we wouldn't need Randy's fortune to finance the club, 40 odd times that sort of expenditure would do it with ease, especially when multiplied by 50 or 60k attendees every time. I don't think it would be that hard to achieve either, the choice of site the most difficult of it all, it would need to be near enough to Aston to maintain its base, Ideally it would need to be close to or on easy access from the main motorway routes, 'real' rail outlets, and so on, and because of the included facilities not that far from the over all population of the area.

That way even none Villa supporting folk would be encouraged to use its numerous facilities, and it becomes even more viable. A huge project yes, but a viable one too and one the club should be considering now.

Aston Villa have over time always been innovators we like being first, and this is a superb opportunity to go one step further than most.

Is Mr Lerner up to it, are Villa fans up for it I wonder ;)

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The Journalist

Writer: avfc48 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday October 2 2007

Time: 12:45PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Maybe they should move the ground to Wales to pick up the odd delusional fan who has abandoned the current home of football.
Hoss The Villain
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02/10/2007 13:04:00

However, not a bad idea as I'm sure Randy now has a bucket load of cash to splash out on a new ground as MON doesn't want to spend it on players.
Hoss The Villain
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02/10/2007 13:18:00

Would see the argument if we were selling out and having massive back logs of fans wanting in. Just not the case (yet) though and we do have plenty of space to develop at VP. The area isn't great and it is a drag traffic wise, but VP is where our soul is, I'd hate a move.
The Fear
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02/10/2007 13:22:00

Actually, saying I'd hate to move, fact is I probably wouldn't move if Villa left Villa Park I'm not sure I'd be interested in going to a new place.
The Fear
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02/10/2007 13:23:00

Bolton have one of the best purpose built stadiums I have been to, the infrastructure is superb with dual carriageways in and out to the motorway. On the back of a retail park and spoilt for choice where to eat.
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02/10/2007 13:31:00

.....but on the subject of moving, we have enough land to redevelop and the right man at the helm to help us do that. There is a good feel about Villa Park on the banks of Aston Park and I wouldnt have it any other way. The walk up trinity road past the Holte Pub, seeing the trinity appear through the tree's as you walk up the hill, and the scale of the Holte End still retaining its fine architecture, stopping at the burger van out side the trinity before tackling the stairs up into the Upper Trinity. Then watching the Holte fill up and in full view of the pitch a few rows back above the directors box right on the half way line...................I wouldnt have it any other way.
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02/10/2007 13:37:00

Why would we want to move to a lifeless new stadium? Randy loves VP so this is a no-goer. AVFC48 - time wasted writing a fact-less article... give it up fella... and we are NOT a plc...
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02/10/2007 13:39:00

First thing - Aston Villa is no longer a PLC (just to put straight the article's reference to it). Second - the ground already has planning permission for another 10,000 spectators. 52,000 would then be quite a respectable number - if the ground can be filled. Third - the ground is already as near-ideally suited for transport as could be imagined. Fourth - Villa have always been involved with Aston Park and the Lower Grounds. There is a local history around there in which the club is an integral part. To take the club away from that area would cause the loss of most of what is remaining of its soul. You may not be aware, but the club is interested in forming ties with it's locality - not breaking them. To divorce Villa from its home territory - for where else locally could a new ground be built? - would be (there's no other word for it) sacrilege.
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02/10/2007 13:50:00

I think this is a good discussion, over here Yankee stadium ("the house that Ruth built", Babe Ruth that is), the same arguments came up, capacity, facilities, views even updates that were made in past years that ruined the old feel. But money won over nostagia. I grew up on the watching my games at Villa Park and Anfield, they have a feel and Aura about them that the new stadiums dont have. I can go and get a hot dog quicker or ***** without the smell of years gone by, but I also have no memories and that is what keeps pulling me back. We are not a throw away franchise!
NY Villa
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02/10/2007 14:37:00

No! No need to move, everyone loves VP, away fans, home fans. It's the last great stadium, once Anfield is replaced, in the country. It's too special for us to get a lifeless, modern, anti-atmospheric ground. VP will be rocking with 52,000 fans in. I can understand why you'd want to discuss it...but not for me, no way.
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02/10/2007 14:48:00

I get stuck in traffic and then have to travel back to weymouth from VP, but I wouldn't give it up for nothing
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02/10/2007 14:56:00

Why Why Why would you want a new stadium you cant fill it now. Big fan base that will only turn up for the big games. When their is a waiting list then maybe look at it otherwise whats the point.
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02/10/2007 14:57:00

Aston Villa under American owners is one thing. Aston Villa under American owners in a characterless stadium with no history or tradittion and we are just another sports 'brand'. I'd hate to leave Villa Park and also feel it completely unnecessary.
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02/10/2007 15:09:00

There is enough expansion room at VP, looking at how close we are to the spag, surely some sort of link up could be built with the help of those lovely people at the highways department. Would not want to go anywhere else, you can feel the history, VP is haunted by generations of players and fans alike, let it be.
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02/10/2007 15:19:00

Thatcher would have demolished VP. Only somebody who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing would suggest leaving VP unless there were very, very good reasons. That time has not come yet and probably won't for some years to come. I personally hope it never does.
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02/10/2007 15:25:00

Share with Walsall?
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02/10/2007 15:34:00

We don't even fill VP so why move to another stadium? Don't fix what isn't broke. Once it fills regularly and we can no longer expand then it's broke.
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02/10/2007 15:38:00

Worthy of discussion agreed AVFC48, but realistically (there's that word again) only in 3+ years when we are hopefully selling out VP week in and week out and moving to a new stadium will take us to the next level of revenue generation - much as Arsenal's move to the Emirates has pushed them up a notch to #1 revenue earner in the Premiership. We're a long way off that yet, particularly if it is true that we can already develop to 52,000. If we can get those kind of numbers at VP though....happy happy days....like the lack of MON barracking in this article for once - nice and refreshing. I've been reading this backwards and everything, looking for a hidden code, but not a snipe in sight.
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02/10/2007 16:35:00

Harsh Rawlie old son.
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02/10/2007 16:36:00

the_lergy - excellent points, all of them extremely pertinent to the "shoud we or shouldn't we move debate". The only point that is an important issue though is the present transport and parking problems. I would like to see some solution where supporters can park easily, remote from the ground then "bus-it" to and from the ground and finally get on their way home with minimum traffic congestion. Would be great to have the expasion plans and a solution to the transport/parking problems in place before the 2012 Olympics.
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02/10/2007 16:57:00

Success Before Expansion Randy Lerner insists he will not contemplate Villa Park expansion plans until Villa are successful enough to fill the existing stadium. And the chairman has promised any future growth will be in keeping with Villa Park's rich history, reflecting: "I think the stadium is beautiful." Villa Park currently holds almost 43,000 fans and Lerner commented: "The idea of building without success is out of whack. "You've got to be a winner not only to build a bigger stadium, but also to feel good about doing it. I want to make sure the stadium is full. That helps you win games. "My understanding is that we have planning approval to grow the stadium by 10,000 seats. That was already in place." The Villa owner continued: "I love the history of the club, but there are things we can do to Villa Park to make it more beautiful.- and I think it is beautiful. I love the stands, although the North Stand is my least favourite. "You go to the Holte End and you have a wonderful piece of 19th Century Victoriana. Then you have the fa├žade which we are working on and trying to give a more authentic feel. At the moment we just have a big 'Aston Villa' sign in plastic. "Then we'll work around the stadium with big Claret and Blue painted gates. Little things like that. Then, when we get to the North Stand, we may look at something more progressive architecturally - going from the deeply historical to the current."
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02/10/2007 17:03:00

I agree with NY Villa, it is a good discussion, no one claimed it was fact, it is just something to discuss, nothing wrong with that is there?!
The Fear
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02/10/2007 17:49:00

Villa Park is my home. It's where I watch my football. Extended to a capacity of 52000 is sufficient to cater for our current needs so why move? If we filled it every week with 10,000 not able to get a ticket, look at it then.
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02/10/2007 18:11:00

No no no no no no no! Hate Old Crapford, Riverside, Wastelands etc. Soulless, no idea where the home end starts and finishes, no atmosphere. Use the current ground and do something with it ffs! There is still plenty of room to expand if needs be and the infrastructure is still in good nick and can be upgraded when the cash is ready
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02/10/2007 19:10:00

I dont think theres enough room on the Spitfire roundabout for the pitch to fit in.......... Leave Villa Park no way, I suspect it will happen eventually but hopefully I will not feel as Gutted as I did when the Holte End and Trinity Road stands were torn down.
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03/10/2007 00:06:00

You do write some silly articles, mate. First of all, we can't fill the stadium we have and if we were to build a new one, it woud indoubtedly be funded by selling the name which would be akin to selling the very heart of Aston Villa. Then we would be like so many others with a stadium named after a bloody shoe or maybe an airline. NO THANKS!
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03/10/2007 15:19:00

It'll happen one day, that's surely obvious to all, but it wont happen in my lifetime. Birmingham will leave St Andrews and move into a new stadium before we ever do. Good article though '48, certainly food for thought.
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04/10/2007 08:24:00

48 was right in saying the traditionalists would instantly say 'no way'. Everything in life is about evolvement. These traditionalists seem to have no problem using the internet, watching satellite tv, driving ultra modern cars. So they have excepted and welcomed life moving on. So why should football be any different? If you are not happy with change maybe you would be better off putting your thoughts on paper and sending your views in to the editor via the postal service?? Personally I think 48 has a point. Villa Park is in Witton, not Aston, so moving away from the area is not really an issue. However it could only be to a location that meets his criteria. Witton/Aston is a ghost down 45 minutes after every match. During the week the only people in the area are the local, mainly ethnic population. And they are not followers of football as a general rule of thumb. Randy will not be investing in regenerating the area to the extent that it is a welcoming place to visit other than for a football match. Location is key. I would have no problem in moving from VP if it was right for the club and more importantly for us, the fans. Personally I think the white elephant, that is the hugely loss making Thinktank Museum and IMAX cinema at Millenium point would be the ideal location. It is just off the end of the Aston Expressway and is still close enough to retain all community ties. But importantly it is central to all the transport links and commercial infrastructure. It is just a few minutes walk from New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street rail stations. Just a few minutes from all the bus networks. You have access to all of Birminghams retail and leisure opportunities in one visit. So you you could turn up and park several hours before a game and have plenty to do. You would have a whole array of things to do after a game instead of just getting away from the cess pit of an area that Witton and Aston currently are. Make the football ground the focal point of the city centre and you will see our club grow quicker than ever in our history. It would take lots of planning and investement but the rewards would be enormous. Or we could just stay as we are. Unfortunately the movers and shakers in the football world are moving on. Ellis prevented us form being amongst this group of movers and shakers. It seems our fans, many of whom are part timers, now want to be Ellis clones, and not look to the future. First we beat Ellis, but now we want to join his ideals. Strange!!! It is about seizing the moment. If you snooze you lose and there is a real possibility of the Dildo Salesmen stealing a march on us with this one.
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04/10/2007 11:43:00


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