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 ;)