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Where Was Everbody

Where was everybody?

Sunday was a great start to the season. We looked a little fragile at times and Man Citeh did manage to test Friedel on 3 or 4 occasions. Each time he showed why he could well be our most important signing of the summer. But overall we would have all took the scoreline before a ball was kicked. But was everything as it should be?

Why were there 3000 empty seats, mainly in the upper tier of the Trinity Road? I can think of many reasons why I think it is disgraceful that this happened. As fans we make many demands, most unreasonable but we can ask can’t we? We demand we spend on players. Well this close season Villa are one of the biggest, if not the biggest spenders in the league. We demand we hold on to our best players. I think the Barry saga has answered that particular issue. The game was not on TV and there was a full allocation of away fans. It was a 3pm kick off on a Sunday when most people are not working and the weather was tremendous. Transport to and from VP is amongst the best in the country and the club even lays on transport if things are a little difficult. Our ticket prices stand up to the closest scrutiny amongst any other Premier League Club (some Championship clubs would like our pricing policy). We have a team full of exciting internationals and last season only the Arse and Manure scored more than us.

We have a great new kit. We carry the name of a local charity. The ground and whole set up of Aston Villa is significantly better than at any time in our history. We have a manager that is the envy of most clubs in the league and we have superb, local, Villa supporting talent playing for the club and complimenting the rest of our international stars.

I understand some people are away. Finances are hard for some but it didn’t stop that hotbed of prosperity, Sunderland, from getting a 43,000 crowd at the weekend. Despite the fact they are not as good as us and the City has a population of one quarter that of Birmingham.

There can be no excuses and it makes the clubs attempt to restrict season tickets to a maximum of 26,000 more ridiculous than it already was. Even last season, 3 days before Xmas we had 2000 more against the same opponents, Despite this being a time when fans traditionally are short of money.

I can only see two reasons why the ‘sold out’ signs were not up weeks ago, not just for this game but for every game this season. David O’Deary was correct in saying we are fickle. Or we are simply not as big as we like to think we are. I actually think that Sunday was a smack in the face to Randy Lerner, the board, M’ON and the players. Why there were not thousands of disappointed fans unable to get in I will never know. The club have gone the extra mile and as is the way with Villa fans we have let them down. Sometimes we get great crowds when least expected and then at other times we do not turn up when we should.

Those that moan the most are probably those that do not even go to games. Again I understand that if you live in another country you are as entitled to your view as somebody who goes every game. But I am fairly certain there are many local fans who use this site that failed in their duty as a supporter on Sunday, but who will be quick to criticise if things start going wrong (as they will at times).

voiceoftheholte




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The Journalist

Writer: voiceoftheholte Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday August 19 2008

Time: 10:38PM

Your Comments

What a bleedin suprise. VOTH moaning about the fans as usual. Yawn.....
DeanoVilla
I think it had something to do with the fact that except for Friedel and a couple of full backs it was the same old team as last season . The Floaters want to see new exciting players and we haven't signed anyone you'd cross the road to watch have we really? You have to face the fact that not all Villa fans are rain and shine buggers like me and thee ? I was shocked we didn't sell out but thats Villa fans I guess !
Villan57
Not being able to afford it because times are hard and because I work the weekend. The money I earn goes straight back out before I get a chance to think about situations such as seeing Villa thrash some awful team. I think its not always viable for people to afford to see the villa no matter how cheap the tickets maybe in comparison to other clubs. Some people are having to do a lot of cut backs at this current time as well. If I had the money and the time then I would be at the villa shouting my lungs out in support, times are hard and things don't always work out the way we want them.
Layzee
msin holiday season and not everyone has the money basically.
The Fear
A smack in the mouth to Lerner? Dude it was ONE game! This article is way premature and as bad as those that criticize the club for lack of signings. You sir are the fickle one.
johnnyuk
40,000 of us made it, as stated above with the financial problems some are going through, I guess that makes us the lucky ones!
steff_the_villan
If the team performs well again VP will sell out. Unfortunately not all fans are in it just for the love of the club. I'm unable to afford football at the moment unfortunately, and I'm sure that doesn't help either.
Carlosio
Fickle - inconstant in affections, loyalties or intentions; Changeable. johnny maybe you should understand what the word fickle means? I have not critisised fans who went to the game. I have not critisised those who live away or who are on holiday or at work. I even stated that despite our good pricing policy, many games can not be afforded by fans. I simply have asked why despite all the efforts of everybody at the club, there were still 3000 empty seats. Deano, Where have I moaned about the fans? I have questioned the non fans, that is all. Villan57, you say it is because we haven't signed any exciting players. On that basis the Arse, Manure, Bluescouse, Newcastle and Sunderland can all expect lower crowds this season. Uh I forgot, Sunderland got 4000 more than us this weekend despite having a population a quarter of Birminghams and signing half of Spuds reserves. Maybe peolple in Sunderland have all got good jobs but decide not to go on holiday?? And I presume the likes of Gabi, Carew and Young are not exciting. It seems that as no real explanations are being offered that do not apply to every other club in the league, we simply do not have a big enough fan base. Either that or we are fickle as suggested by Villan 57 who says that Villa fans would have turned up if we had purchased more exciting players. Re read the dictionary definition of fickle, I would suggest that term could be applied to any supposed Villa fan who could have afforded to go on Sunday, but didn't because the signngs were not 'exciting'!! Or maybe I am the only one that is concerned that we couldn't fill our own ground on the opening game of the season??
voiceoftheholte
You're making a mountain out of a mole hill, mostly because you do not know why there wasn't a full house. You can speculate and point the finger (extremely prematurely if you ask me) but that still wont support your claims. Are you that bored already that you had to resort to this? The credit crunch has hit a lot of people hard and i can only imagine that football will be one of those first luxuries to go for the many households who do spend money on tickets. Again, this article is very prematurely negative.
johnnyuk
Be realistic, this is the worst financial period for many years and some people need to cut down on spending they don't need to make. Even though I spend most of the year away from the UK I still went to 5 or 6 games last season...I'd be surprised if I made as many this season on a similar schedule as much as I wish that wasn't the case, because when I am back I don't have a lot of cash! When I was at school back in brum I had a season ticket for 5 years during the Gregory-O'Dreary days (I like to think I suffered for AVFC! haha)...one day I'll be back!
Villa4Europe
Also, in regards to 'why don't we have as many fans as so and so etc"...well there are a lot of big teams in Birmingham who attract a large amount of potential fans. The catchment area for someone like Sunderland has more potential because there are less competing teams around them...and well obviously Man Utd have more fans t games because of reputation and quality of football. Ever been there though? I have, 5 or 6 times and it's the worst atmosphere I've witnessed in the EPL.
Villa4Europe
I think you've answered your own question VOTH - fan base needs to grow, which Lerner is quite aware of - hence keeping ticket prices to be one of the most competitive in the League. I don't think you can really come on here though and slag off anyone who is a fan of Villa but doesn't go to the games - it's pretty self righteous stuff. We have to just accept that it's going to take a couple of seasons of showing we're up there competing to get some fans back, or to develop new fans. When the 'Sold Out' signs go up, then Randy will start Phase2 of his plan which will be to extend the stadium. So I can understand your frustration, as I think once we can start to get the fans coming to Villa in their droves we can develop into a 50,000 plus stadium, increase our revenues, pay higher wages to better players, etc, etc....but it takes time. Last year was an amazing increase really - we averaged almost 40k a game didn't we? That's huge compared to the previous season! We're moving in the right direction Voice - just take a chill pill and enjoy the ride instead of giving yourself a coronary every time there are a few empty seats.
YatesyVillain
Empty seats my lord empty seats.
chris the villan
who votes for VOTH buying every member of vital villians a season ticket, and if they have one they can give the other one to a friend who doesnt have one? jk ;)
revival4us
unless you really do want to get us all one! I'll need airfare as I now live in the states. How about a 1st class seat and a stay at a fancy hotel
revival4us
I can't believe this is even an article. Give me a break.
los_angeles_villan
charity mate charity ;)
revival4us
Manure lots of fans? Liverpuddle lots of fans? Their catchment areas include London and Ireland. Give it time for Villa to start appealing to 'fans' in the same areas.
Gordonsleftboot
Sunday game,holiday season,people skint after holiday,V festival.... thought it was decent considering, don`t think signings come into it.
ASPINALL
Bloody hell VOTH having a go at villa fans, now there's a surprise. You'd have thought a bloke like him (who I don't doubt goes to every game and ha done for donkey's years) would have twigged by now that attendances are always down at the beginning of the season because of the number of people still on holiday. It wasn't just at Villa Park, it was all over the premiership. I looked at the attendances of all the premiership games in the paper on Monday and they were all down a couple of thousand (in some cases - Sunderland for instance-more) than you would normally expect. It happens every year and has done for as long as I can remember, and I too have been going down there for over 40 years. Still, let's not let a little thing like that stop VOTH having a pop at us hey.
jonah
When Deadly Doug was captain of the good ship VILLA many crew members jumped ship, and pledged never to sail again until the skipper of the ship had been made to walk the plank. Captain Randy now rules the waves and the good ship VILLA sails in calmer waters. The problem now is many of the old crew members who found alternative past times while the good ship VILLA sailed now find it difficult to climb back on board. For many years captain Deadly promised so much and delivered very little. It will take time but many crew members have now returned and many more are thinking of signing new contracts. Give it time and we will need to build a bigger ship UP THE VILLA
50 years a villan
the place would have been full had it been saturday. not complaining about being in europe or anything, but the uefa cup is gonna hurt our average attendance
cat_shafton
plus look how quickly 3000 tickets for stoke sold out!
cat_shafton
Well said I was at the game last Sunday and must admit I didnt even notice the empty seats in the Trinity. Our attendances last year were the best in decades and there is a feelgood factor about the place. We have an exciting young side and are surely going to pick up a trophy this season. I imagine the upper trinity seats are some of the most expensive in the ground and people simply cannot afford it in this financial climate. Sunderland have always had large passionate support and lets face it what else is their to do up there !! SO WHAT we had some empty seats its not the end of the world is it !! Some people will moan about anything lack of players,players not expensive enough,pies to cold etc etc
scoops
Holiday period and credit crunch-im sure we will sell out as much as last season
rotter82
Well it seems I am in the minority. I am the only one concerned that we can't fill our ground. But at least all the replies indicate that the reason we can't fill our ground is two fold. We are fickle and the fan base is not big enough. This is now up to the marketing team to correct to ensure that VP is full every game. Normally I would say it is up to the team to attract the fans, but as we have an expensively assembled, free scoring, entertaining team and still have empty seats, we need other people to work out how to fill VP. And for the less intelligent, I have not had a go at the fans. I explained that there are many reasons why fans couldn't go, that is understandable and in that respect we are no different to any other club. I have questioned though the non fans and despite all the legitimate reasons am still astounded that we couldn't fill our own ground on Sunday.
voiceoftheholte
The credit crunch may have had something to do with match not selling out, but there was also the V festival taking place at Weston Park in Stafford which saw 90,000 people attend on the Sunday... there were lots of Villa supporters there listening to the radio celebrating our win.
Spinks Wink
All this after the best attendance figures for, what was it..48 years?
jonah
HELLO MIDDLE OF AUGUST. HOLIDAYS????
Villan444
change the record VOTH. you dont speak for me, my family and many holte dwelling villa fans so change your name too.
bobbyfett
i don't think there is anything fickle for family men struggling to meet the mortgage payments etc to pick and choose their games, or for many on a fortnights holiday not to be able to get to Villa Park. I really don't think our fans are fickle, not all are hard core for sure but that doesn't make them any less of a fan. I did think we'd be over 40k for the first game but hey, it is still one of the highest attendances for the first weekend so there isn't any need to panic about it not being totally sold out.
The Fear
Holidays ? Credit Crunch ? ***** kick off time and it being a Sunday ?
crosswesleyanchapel
tell you what if you can give me the 79 it costs to get to villa park ill be the ticket and gladly come
Astonian Villan
"I have not critisised those who live away or who are on holiday or at work. I even stated that despite our good pricing policy, many games can not be afforded by fans." You've ruled out blaming those living abroad, on holiday and can't afford it. Add people that do work Sundays and who is there left to blame? I was a bit surprised by the attendance and then I looked across to the new VIP area in the Trinity and, correct me if I'm wrong - but that was no where near full. Can anyone confirm?
Silent-Bob
To be honest I was a little dissapointed that we didn thave a full house, however 40,000 is not a bad attendance at all....and besides Martin was happy with the attendance and it is the holiday season.....also although i am excited by our signings because I can see the benefit to the team, nne of them ar really bums on seats signings...hopefully before the end of the wndow
Bearvill
If I was back in England's green and pleasant land, I would have been there in my favourite area of the Holte and singing until I lost my voice. I go to a match every time i'm back, I went to over 20 games last season including 3 away. Thats probably more than alot of fans who actually live there! I love the Villa and I was gutted not to be there, but I only take up one seat. Personally, I always put money aside to go to a match. I see it as important as paying my electricity bill. Probably more important actually. But then I do get an Armed Forces discount:)
Villan-in-Cyprus
Once again you prove to me your the voice of a mouse and not the holt
TuBBz
Silent bob I can confirm there were massive banks of unsold seats in the Trinity. It also seems that you understand that I am not having a go at the fans who did attend. And I am not having a go at the fans who couldn't attend for all the reasons that you have acknowledged I have highlighted. Maybe I am just disappointed because I thought we were still big enough to fill our own ground. As for villan444, 'HELLO. MIDDLE OF AUGUST. HOLIDAYS?????'. Presumably you are having problems comprehending. I understand many are on holiday, the same as fans of every other club.
voiceoftheholte
I don't know about the others but I was on my Grouse Moor in Scotland rather than in my seat in the Trinity Upper. Are you not aware that the 12th of August is the start of the Grouse shooting season? And besides, Sunday's attendance against City was only bettered by one of our first 4 home games last season (Liverpool) and one of our first 4 home games the previous season (Chelsea). Last season for the other "holiday season games" we had 36k, 37k, 38k against Fulham, Chelsea and Everton and the previous season we had 37k, 35k, 35k against Reading, Newcastle and Charlton. So as the man said; we appear to be on an upward trajectory so where's the problem?
randy
Animal cruelty Randy:( tut tut tut
Villan-in-Cyprus
We seem to have overlooked that Sunderland were playing one of the big four too, were we down by as much last season with Puddle opening day?
azreal13
I', in Malta! Look out the window and you can see blue skies and sunshine!! I'll be back for the UEFA cup 2nd leg game! So that explains one absentee - what about the rest?
godzvilla
I can confirm that the "Dead Zone" (VIP seats) was nowhere near full. But there again it only ever is when Man Ure, Chelski, etc. are in town and I made this point when the plan to enlarge the Dead Zone was first mooted. And guess what, the few seats that have sold have a name plaque on them. And guess what, all the names that I could see were those of companies. And guess what, they'll probably be full for the next match...of LIVERPOOL supporters!!
TheQ.
errrrrrrrrr, its the middle of august dude. most fans that would normally be there were watching the game in spanish beach bars drinking corronita. jammy f.eckers.
Stig
Sundays are a nightmare for people with families, that's the problem now with being in Europe. I much prefer Saturdays - gets you out of shopping trips.
tarzan
I was on a a boat party just off the coast of Zadar, Croatia during the game. I have got a season ticket but it was unused against Man City. Gutted to have missed Gabby's first hat trick esp as it was in front of The Holte. Oh well, plenty more to come hopefully. I've already got my ticket sorted for the home UEFA cup game against the Icelanders. Can NOT wait!! :)
Adam Deuce
Presumably you are having problems understanding VOTH that noone seems to agree with your comments. Being a Sunday game and kids to look after even if they aren't on holiday due to no school. It seems that you are the fickle one....
Villan444
nitpicking is an art. all of the positives and this is what someone chooses to write about, it blows my mind really. there are a million and one reasons why people cant attend games all of which you have explained VOTH so what is the issue. i guess it nice to have the luxury to be able to attend every game unfortunatly most of us cant, sunday isnt even a day off work for alot of us now.
1982benny
Bit of an over-reaction.
young_jonah
I am skint and I am sure other people who have just bought houses are the same. I personally just couldnt afford a season ticket otherwise I would have renewed in the holte. the 8 - 10 lads I go with all have done so fair play to them and fair play to everyone else who could afford it, they will have my backing and can express their views as they would like too. I hope to go down a few times this season and sit in all the different ends to soak up its own atmosphere so i can then choose to renew next year
Upthevilla_83
At the end of the day no-one has to justify themselves to anyone else on here. If you went, great. But if you didnt, so what?
young_jonah
Maybe the writer should google feckless before he slags us all off in future!
Stourbridge Villan
I'm a season ticket holder in the holte. Your not my voice. You are an arse. Get over youself!!
holte ade
In fairness to voiceoftheholte, I don't think he was slagging anyone off. Just questioning why the stadium wasn't full, but I think we've established several reasons. It was only Man City afterall, Villa Park usually only sells out when we're playing Manure/Chelski/Gooners/Scum of the north or those from the dark side of who we do not speak. Don't think anyone should take this personally, it's just his opinion which he is entitle to.
Villan-in-Cyprus
What I can't understand, is why the club capped the sale of season tickets at 26,000. With a maximum of 3-4,000 away fans that leaves room for 12,000+ "floaters". You might get that many when the top four come to town, but a team like Man City devoid of any mega star players. I don't think so.
TheQ.
yeah definately, democracy prevails!!!! if u go then fair play, if u dont, u dont simple as. I still wear my shirt with pride if i go or not. people ask 'who do u support'? and I am very proud to say Villa, like everyone else on here. so VOTH, i listen to your views and take them on board, i can see it to be disappointing especially first game of the season but like Villan in Cyprus says we cant expect to sell out VP every week. people have holidays, work commitments etc that they sometimes cant get out of.
Upthevilla_83
voth - well reasoned article. Certainly for the last few years there are only a handful of games, usually only 5 or 6 in any season, so I'm not too surprised by the Man City attendance. What did surprise me is that exchange.com. does not seem to be working. I sit in B3 in the Triinuty stand which is virtually all season ticket. On Sunday more than 10% of the seats were unoccupied. With over 25,000 season ticket holders, 2,500 seats could have been empty in addition to the 3,000 match-day tickets that weren't sold. With almost 15% of the ground empty for last Sunday's fixture will surely kill any prospects of increasing ground capacity in the forseeable future.
villacross
Does the total ground capacity include the vip seating area in the Trinity and all of the executive boxes? And does it include the seats in the technical area where the subs sit? Just curious.
Villan-in-Cyprus
VOTH you say you are NOT having a go at the fans, just the non-fans. Nigh on everyone who posts on this site and everyone who crosses Villa Park's threshold just once to Watch Villa each season - or maybe 4 or 5 times or maybe 10 times - it makes no difference they are ALL Villa fans. Many may even still be able to afford, not have been on holiday and had none of your listed excuses - just other priorities compared to some full time regulars. Villa's gates are generally made up of a mixture of die-hards who go every week, die hards who would like to, and more casual fans. You are criticising Villa fans and it is premature, unnececessary, as most fans are telling you.
stennyvilla
Bring in either Santa Cruz and Milner and you'll see the sits all full, or even Joe Cole/ SWP on their own, we have not had a class signing yet and it is just the same old season, we keep buying young players but we have not brought in a finish player like a SWP or Cole, we need that signing to make it clear of our ambitions and that we mean business, i think if we did manage to pull off Cole as a signing i really think we'll be challenging 3rd-4th, and the reason i wasn't there is because im now in the British Army.
Villa 4 Ever
In fairness, I think VOTH was just trying to "stir-the-pot". It's very clear to me that the parents of most young families with kids just can't afford to attend every game; they have no a;ternative to select a few games every season if they can scrape the cash together. Fortunately, I pay little over half-price, being over 65. I would dearly love to see the family area extended or even new areas (eg upper Trinity) or Holte End Wings to achieve extra support from Familiesand at normal ticket prices, discounted by at leasr 50%.
villacross
Villa 4 Ever I salute you, I wear a blue suit! Where you stationed? I'm at RAF Akrotiri ;P
Villan-in-Cyprus
I know where voiceoftheholte is coming from, and if I'm honest, I agree with pretty much all he has to say on the subject. This is a guy who I dont know personally, but through his posts both on the front page and on the forum, he bleeds claret and blue, and is a 100% Villan, supporting the club by owning a season ticket and attending all the games. He knows the club inside out, and speaks from the heart. He's not knocking anyone, accept those that need knocking. I personally cant see owt wrong with that.
glensider
VOTH - Let me start by saying that I understand that you're NOT having a pop at any of the Villa fans that were present on Sunday. I myself am a Season Ticket holder in the Upper Holte and I was present for the game. At no point was I able to take my eyes off the pitch to look around the ground to spot the number of empty seats. So we were short of a full house by 3000+ seats....what's the problem? This is a conversation that should be taking place by the board members - it's not our place to question why people couldn't or didn't come to Villa Park. For the record, all I care about is whether "I" can get to the ground to watch the team and I certainly won't bust anybody else's balls if they can't as it's not my problem! Even short of a full house the crowd present were fantastic with the singing, chanting and cheering and the atmosphere was carried over from last season. The fans are out there and they WILL come back to Villa Park, but in the meantime I'll concern myself with affairs on the pitch and not around it. Considering that more than a few members feel like all you do is have a pop at the fans - be it those that turn up or those that don't - then maybe you should consider doing the same.
jeffg_utv
I have no doubt he is a Villa fan GS but he has no right to have a go at other fans who do not turn up no matter what their reasons.I simply cannot afford to come to every match [even though most of the time it is physically impossible for me to get their as i'm visiting my son in Jersey) It does not mean i am less of a supporter than he is. Why should i feel ashamed that "I've not turned up"?
TuBBz
Another 45 people on Sunday and the attendance would have been 40,000 which sounds a lot better a bit like 1 sounds better than 99p. We were 2,685 people short of ground capacity which is a little over 5% and not 15% as stated earlier. Doesn't this article and its response show us how far we have come in a short space of time? 3 or 4 seasons ago we would have been arguing why we hadn't got over 30,000 attendance! We are not yet at the stage where we are going to be full to the rafters for every match, but as someone said earlier a real star quality signing might just change that. Also, as I posted before, if the club raised the cap on season tickets to 30,000 that would make a difference.
TheQ.
glensider: Why does ANYBODY need knocking?
jonah
Definitely no need for a depressing article like this so early in the season especially when we have just won, are second in the league and in Europe for the first time in 7 years. Shame on you
Villan444
who is everbody?
fullygrownman
Jonah - I guess they dont.
glensider
The Q - nice response mate. VOTH - love your enthusiasm!
koolbill
I am not the most diplomatic when putting my thoughts in writing. I would also like to apologse to those who have taken umbrage at my article. However it is good to see the some of the responses and the thoughts of so many passionate supporters. So to finally clarify, I have not intentionally had a pop at anybody but am just frustrated that our support is not yet big enough to fill the ground, despite all the many reasons why fans couldn't attend. It is is also any persons choice as to whether they actually support a club by attending or by simply having Villa as their favourite team. The only one comment that I find strange is that some people would have come to Villa Park on Sunday if we had signed SWP or Joe Cole???? Why would that make a difference? We spent 9m on Ashley Young and he is better than both of them. Why would the signing of players not as good as those that we have, convince anyone to part with 30?
voiceoftheholte
Voice-We have 26,000 season ticket holders. Let's assume away supporters account for 4,000, that leaves 12,000 Villa supporters or neutrals who are not committed to every home match. 10,000 of them turned up on Sunday. What people are saying, is if we had signed a mega star it may have meant that the other 2,000 "floaters" would have turned up. We know they will turn up for the Liverpool match etc. You and I having purchased season tickets will turn up regardless, it's persuading those that have to queue down the ticket office that you're talking about and obviously the exciting prospect of Man City coming to town didn't appeal to the 2,500 that we were short of capacity.
TheQ.
 

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