Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday April 28 2008
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 new...you 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
Date:Monday April 28 2008
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