Aston Villa - The 'Trinity 400'
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The 'Trinity 400'

I had decided to leave this issue in the forum but have since been asked to front page it. Also been told I only put something up about the club if it is good news. What a cad I am. That said, I get it from both ends, the other week I was negative and having a go at the club, now I'm positive and only paint a sunny picture.

Oh happy days!

Anyway, there is an issue for around 400 fans who are having to be re-located from their seats in the Trinity Road stand.

The club sent out a letter explaining to those involved:

This week the club is finalising plans for extensive refurbishment of the Trinity road stand during the summer. This work will improve hospitality areas of the stand and is part of a longer term scheme to improve the facilities that we offer to our supporters throughout the whole of Villa park.

The club has considered several options during the planning phase of this project and in order to maximise the benefits for the stadium as a whole the seating configuration in your area has been redefined. This means that unfortunately we will have to relocate your season ticket for next season upon renewal. I understand this may be an inconvenience to you especially if you have enjoyed use of the same seat for a number of years. We would like to explain your options and trust that you will be excited by some of our new facilities. However, I hope you will understand the clubs reasons for this decision as we seek to ensure that our stadium keeps pace with the improvements being made from a playing perspective.

It is our intention to make relocations effortless as possible and we will be happy to discuss all the options available to you at your convenience.

If you wish to discuss your options please call us . There have been some alternative seats reserved for next season that will be available to you.

I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you but please be assured club staff will do all they can to assist you to identify the best options for you during your renewal process.

I would like to thank you for your continued support of Aston Villa and for accommodating these important changes.

Bill Howell, who I think loves to have a dig at Villa, which makes me wonder why or how he gets such great access (then again, life as a Walsall fan is a lonely thing!!), followed up with an article in the Birmingham Mail,

He said that Nicola Keye (and wrongly called her the clubs ticket manager, she is actually manager of consumer sales, get it right Bill!) 'seemed as jumpy as a box of frogs. Desperate for the handful of press around the table to report the news positively.'

Not convinced by that, Nicola is a professional and experienced member of staff who seems to know exactly what she is doing. She has certainly always helped me when I've been in touch and many a fan who comes through this site for help of some sort are always treated right by her and the staff there. Also not sure I've ever come across a box of frogs in truth and how jumpy they would be would surely depend on the size of the box? I digress... although now I'm thinking about it, I did have a lovely exchange with a French student once, or was it a French student exchange, I forget now...

Anyway, Bill says they are being moved for the 'prawn sandwich brigade' (copyright Roy Keane) as the space is being used for corporate guests.

Now if I was one of the 400, I'd be gutted, especially if they have been there for a good few years as we all know how important the 'community' that builds up around you is so very important. I had to move once, not sure I'd do it again, I love where I am. Again I digress. There are two sides to this, the fans should always come first, but then we are also looking at our new owners to develop Villa Park (we all hope surely that it isn't long before the ground is extended and their is a waiting list for season tickets, after this season with a record sale of season tickets - over 25 000 it is obvious things are on the up, buy a few top players in the summer and we'll be over 30 000 next season) and to put Villa firmly back on the map.

Villa director General Charles Krulak said in our forum:

'Randy (Lerner) is looking at this decision from a long term perspective. He knows where he wants to take the Club and is driving towards that point. He and the Club cannot get to the point where we regularly compete in Europe without making changes to the Club...and those changes (players, expansion, etc.) cost money. Randy is not a 'cash cow'...he needs to supplement his own cash with revenue from the Club. This is NOT something cannot reach a goal without investment.'

He also says that there is a team now looking after the fans who are having to move, explaining 'I have been in contact with Villa Park since last night...and have been on the phone this morning. Nicky Keye and her ticketing folks have established a team to answer the questions that are coming into Villa Park from the 'Trinity 400.' This team includes Paul Faulkner, a Director, who is over in the UK to help. As of 8:58 am, these 3 people have handled over 25 seats and the results, in the words of the Fans involved, are 'reasonably happy' and understand why this is being done. Most of the fans have been moved to B5 which is very close to where they are now and are given a 'token' from the Club for the inconvenience. Once the people have the opportunity to talk to Nicky and her team and understand where they are moving to and have the opportunity to pick their new seats, things calm down a bit. The Club is NOT trying to screw the fans!! We are trying to make our stadium into a place that we all can be proud of and that will contribute, even more, to driving the Club forward. If you are part of the 'Trinity 400', please do not just talk to anyone at the ticket office...ask for Nicky or her team that is designed and prepared to address the issue and make the right decisions.'

Hopefully those involved will be able to be happily re-settled however I'm sure there will be a rough ride for those at Villa relocating so many with so much anger about it. Hopefully all will come good in the end. From the comments in our thread in the forum, it seems there is are a good few very disappointed people and a long way to go to resolve this: Forum Thread - Click Here

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 28 2008

Time: 8:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Not trying to blindly defend the club here, but I have four points:................ 1) Hospitality areas are an ESSENTIAL source of income to any club. These areas are not part of stadiums for no reason - corporate hospitality is a massive part of modern stadia - worldwide. Visit a stadium here in the USA and you'll see for yourself. .... 2) Mr Howell would do well to remember the fact that much of the middle area of the Trinity Rd stand is taken up by plush and well-equipped media areas that he sits in each week. And he doesn't even support Villa. At least those in these corporate areas are there because they want to be! ..... 3) The current stand and it's facilities was approved under a backward-thinking regime. Is there any surprise that the club needs to improve it??? My parents stopped going to Villa for two reasons - the fact that Ellis was running the club AND the fact that there is a ludicrous number of consecutive stairs to reach the upper levels of the stand, no slopes/ramps and no public elevators or escalators. They had sat in the upper tier of this stands' predecessor for forty years. ...... 4) The stand is very young - the fact that people are being moved is hardly saying that they have spent a significant period of their lives watching Villa from exactly the same place!
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28/04/2008 20:52:00

Two Faced Yank Shows His True Colours. Firstly I would like to thank the Villa Park Staff, who did everything in there power to make this move as painless as possibly But the Plain Truth is that the Fans have Been Screwed to make Randy £800,000 or £15,384.62 a week. Has Randy improved the Facility’s for the rest of the Fans I would have to say no, He Just wants to put in, faceless corporate seats in the place of fans. Let’s not forget he cannot fill the current corporate seats on less glamorous days Some may say that we have only been moved 60ft to the right, but think honestly how you would feel, if you say had front row seats at a concert. But when you got there they shove you out on the wing so they can make some more money on an entertainment package. Randy has done many great things for the Club so far, but what is his agenda I ask? It appears we are now prepared to let one of our best players leave for that old chestnut we cannot match the Ambition He decided to make a profit in the summer on transfers. I am still grateful for a lot of things Randy has Done but now feel that Graham Taylor Quote “Villa Run ‘By Ellis, For Ellis and on Behalf of Ellis” Can be Leveled at Mr. Lerner. We Had a lot of Talk prior to the last transfer window, What Next? we will have to wait & see I do know there are far more important things than a just moving seat, Just Very disappointing for me Another nights Ruined Sleep.
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29/04/2008 05:10:00

so whats your point kev? just messing, sorry to hear that anyway, hope it works itself out for you mate fear great article, full of opinions quotes and the standard dribble, i applaud you
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29/04/2008 08:56:00

sorry fatkev but i really don't see that point of view. it must suck to have your seat moved but until i see evidence to the contrary, randy lerner is absolutely brilliant for aston villa.
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29/04/2008 11:29:00

Quite what Mr Lerner has to do to appeal to some sections of fans i do not know. FatKev i understand that you may be a little annoyed at having to move seats, I know I would be a little peeved but to class him as a "two faced Yank" is a little extreme. Whilst i understand that you are viewing this as him "making £800,000 or £15,384.62 a week", in all seriousness what would you rather? A football club that is clearly going in the right direction on and off the field (6th in the PL, regeneration of the clubs training ground, The Holte Hotel, Aston/Witton Station etc etc) or a return to the heady days of Mr Ellis when the club couldnt afford to buy Footballs for the training ground! The transfer "disappointment" of January/last summer I think had a lot to do with the media hyping up and talking general rubbish (as usual) about the 450 players Villa were supposed to be buying? I personally think that the best way of regarding success/failure is how well the football team is doing, and I for one am very happy with the way its going!
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29/04/2008 11:54:00

I really don't see the issue of moving from one seat to another, I mean you will still be watching the EXACT same football match; just from a different angle.
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29/04/2008 11:57:00

Fatkev unfortunatly Incomegeneration is the way ahead, I would have thought the club would be making a gesture towards those moved from their origional seats, they dont HAVE to do this but it would be a nice gesture. Your seats will not be available to be sold to you next season so make the best of a bad job and get seats close as you can to where you were OF they are available. I know you feel agreived but whats the alternative? You could stop going to the games but the fact that you and 449 others are season ticket holders leads me to beleive this will not happen. Get in early and secure the best seat you can close to where you were.
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29/04/2008 12:01:00

Don't agree with the two faced part, think we are moving forward at an impressive pace BUT do understand the anger for those moving. Have had a couple of emails saying that the criticism should be removed, I disagree, this is a site for all views and will remain so as long as I'm running it as long as they are within the bounds of decency obviously. Only things that need removing are when you don't agree with me because if you disagree with me you are obviously a mentalist! :o))
The Fear
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29/04/2008 12:32:00

unfortunately this is the cost of progress. If that 800k a week extra as kev so eloquently put it, supplements a dramatically increased wage bill that oneil is looking to introduce this summer - then so be it. None of us will be moaning if we gatecrash the top 4 next season.
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29/04/2008 12:58:00

FatKev, with all due respect, you're a moaner sir, whether it be moaning at signings, individual players, the manager, tactics, or the club as a whole. Its progress, and we have to move with the times, and keep one step ahead. There's no hidden agenda against FatKev and his mates, the club is simply now forward thinking, something that was seriously lacking under the previous regime. Every action by RL and his board will not meet with the approval of every Villan out there, but taken as a whole, every decision is for the development and progression of AVFC.
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29/04/2008 14:23:00

Maybe I've been a tad unfair there FatKev. I guess if it were my seats involved, I wouldn't be quite so understanding.
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29/04/2008 16:16:00

Yeah, don't think he is moaning for moaning sake, he is just gutted at the loss of his seat. I can understand that. I think it is really tough on them because there are 40 000 of us ok and happy! These things are going to happen and how the club deal with it will be the difficult and interesting part.
The Fear
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29/04/2008 16:25:00

Well there will be more if the same next year if this proves to be a success. I will have to wait & see how the next batch of fans feel, most likely the oposite side to us as that is also a prime spot. If you have a decent seat you may find yourself in the wings. I agree the club has moved forward under Randy But I beleive his dream is to have a corperate ground where ordinary fans will have to treat the visit to Villa park as a one off trip To think the basic package for my seat will be £2500 The 2 Faced Yank remark refers to the fans being important . We were never consulted They have the nerve to infer most fans are happy to have a seat in a worse position The Letter states we should be excited by the improvement What improvement? prime seats given to people that have little interest in the actual game. If he had decided not to promote himself via the charity shirt sponsorship more revenue would of been forthcomeing I do not begrude the charity in anyway it is a great statment in the greedy world of football. I do not think this is about the money, just his vision of how the club will move forward without the traditional working fan. He has Taken my shares (I lost a lot of money there but was happy to see the back of Ellis) Now My Seat The Club Should always come first & if he really wanted to improve the facilties Why not fill in the corners I wonder if we will get still access into the Holte Pub in the near future surely this is destined for an entertainment pack
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29/04/2008 22:37:00

I am not the only fan considering not renewing I have supported the club for nearly 50yrs the club is now in a sound position so some glory hunter will eagerly grab my ticket in the good times. This years Away Scheme is on a 1st come 1st served Basis forgetting History I suppose this is to release more corporate seats. I am feeling less & less a part of the Club anymore. ~My Shares have gone ~ Now my Seat & Location within the ground. This was possibly the last thing I felt was my little part of the club but even that has been taken away. All I Get is Here is 50quid off put up or get out They Can put that where the sun does not shine I could go to a grand but £2500 that’s madness
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29/04/2008 23:00:00

It wasn't Randy who knocked down the original Trinity Road Stand. It was the bloke who decided to call the opposite stand after himself. Whilst I understand it can be a bind to move from seats that you have had in the very short time the new Trinity has been open, progress must be made. However it is not as if you have had those seats for years, the maximum you could of had them is for the short time the stand has been up. As for it being 'your' seat. It isn't. It is a seat that the club rents to you on a season by season basis, it isn't 'yours'. If the seat isn't there then you have to choose another seat or not to go at all. So you can choose to move with the times or to throw your toys out of your pram. Your choice. As for the comment on the Holte Pub possibly being reserved for an entertainment pack. Is this the same Holte that was a rat infested ruin for 25 years that Randy has restored beyond all recognition. The place that is virtually empty during the week. Do you think his £4 million investment can be justified by a couple of hundred lager swilling fans 22 or 23 times a year. I don't think it will become an 'entertainment pack' as you call it. But if he does how can we argue when we don't use it apart from the 22 or 23 home games a year? The fact that we have our highest attendances for since God was a dog means that fans are showing their appreciation. As the club develops and trys to find another 10,000 fans to fill a soon to be increased capacity ground, it is obvious that changes will have to made. Unfortunately this means a bit of short term pain. You can not make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. So as this is a forum for opinions where you have used it to call the guy who has single handedly restored belief in the club, 'a two faced yank', I think you are behaving like a spoilt child who is going to scream and scream until you are sick because you can't have your own way. Just because you have rented a seat for a couple of years what right have you to think it is 'yours'? Grow up.
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30/04/2008 10:07:00

I can understand the frustration but it seems to me that the club are once again trying to move forward and all Mr Lerner and the board are trying to do is make the club even more competitive. I'm not going to name call or say your opinions are wrong but I do feel that you need to look back over the previous 25 years and then look at how the club has progressed in just TWO years. We are lightyears away from where we were when Mr Lerner brought the club. I would also add that for the first time I can remember we have a waiting list for season tickets. Some people will say that we have now got glory-hunting fans but I don't agree. What that means is Aston Villa is on the up and in two years time it will be the big five not the big four and that can only be good for football. Final point I have a season ticket in the North Stand and we all know that it will be redeveloped sooner rather than later. However, when that happens I won't complain about it I will pay the extra to sit somewhere else in the ground until the work is complete. Once again its called progress and no club has progressed further in the last two years than the Villa.
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30/04/2008 12:43:00

I fully appreciate fans frustration, but it's hardly life and death stuff is it? Never nice to be moved, especially if you've been in the same seat for years, but is it really that important in the grand scale of things?
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01/05/2008 09:02:00

I do feel for the 400 but nothing is forever, the club needs to move fwd this is one of the areas the club needs addresing its just sad that it agreives people.
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01/05/2008 09:20:00


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