Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday November 30 2009
Question 1: On several occasions no draft beer has been available in the food and drink outlets, particularly the one nearest the Holte End. The quality of service is also poor and slow. Is the service from these outlets monitored? If so is the service considered satisfactory?
We would like to apologise to any kiosk customers who have been unable to purchase the product of their choice. We are aware that on a few occasions we have ran out of Draught Carlsberg on some Kiosks. However, we have had bottled beer available and vice versa.
There have also been occasions where draught beer has run out on one dispenser, but not on others in the kiosk. If the customer has consequently been told we had sold out of the product, that was inaccurate & I will ensure that our kiosk supervisors communicate to the staff that they must use other dispense units.
During the closed season we are undergoing a rather extensive training schedule involving all staff within the stadium. Customer feedback is therefore, not only welcomed, but also essential for feedback in our training sessions.
We are committed to continuing to improve the standard of service we offer & are confident that this will be evident in the coming season.
Alison Plant – Head of Hospitality & Event
Question 2: What can be done about the switching of Kick Off times and dates at such short notice? Does the Club have any power to Veto requests to change Kick off times?
The Premier League and the Broadcasters have a timetable for the selection process with a view to announcing changes with approximately 6 week’s notice. Last season though, it was more like 5 weeks! The Premier League have a contract with the broadcasters which runs to the end of the 2012-2013 season and the income derived from this is substantial. Sky and Setanta select the games they want to show during what is quite a complex selection process. Clubs are always consulted and if there is strong police objection on safety grounds then the game would either be dropped or, rarely, the broadcasters would put it at a more suitable kick-off time.
Sharon Barnhurst – Club Secretary
Question 3: The booking system for some of the FA cup games has been unhelpful this season, why are season ticket holders only given a limited time slot to retain their seats?
We recognise that it was not always easy to secure your seat for the Cup games this season as often there is very little time between fixtures being announced, pricing agreed between both Clubs (which is the case for Domestic Cup games) or if the game is replayed at either venue as was the case this year when replaying Doncaster Rovers. For these reasons there will not be an exclusive window for non cup Scheme members. To secure your seat for 09/10 cup matches you should join the automated Cup Scheme. Your season card will then be activated for all cup games and your debit or credit card will be automatically debited. If for any reason you can’t make a cup game you can cancel your seat 24 hours before the game is due to be played for a full refund.
Nicola Keye – Head of Consumer Sales
Question 4: When will Junior Villans be improved?
We are currently reviewing our junior membership programme and hope to be able to release details of a new and improved scheme, which will include a dedicated website, before the start of next season.
Russell Jones – Head of Marketing
Question 5: More should be done to target those who display anti social behaviour and racist abuse. A friend made a complaint and nothing seemed to be done about it.
Every complaint of anti social abuse and racial abuse is taken seriously and it is important to distinguish between the distinctions made in the question. All abuse could be deemed as anti-social but racist abuse is designated as a criminal act, when complaints of racist abuse are made they are passed on the West Midlands Police who conduct an enquiry. If the person who feels that their complaint was not followed up will contact me then I will be happy to discuss their concerns.
John Handley – Head of Security & Safety Operations
Question 6: Why were the season tickets put on sale earlier than usual?
We recognise that purchasing season tickets can be expensive, especially when buying for all the family. We wanted to offer flexible and affordable payments by using the Club’s Easy Payment Scheme to as many fans as possible to spread the cost of their season ticket which has proven to be very popular. We will also be issuing new season cards for the 09/10 season. This is something that the Club likes to oversee to prevent last minute problems occurring before the start of the season. This will take place during July.
Question 7: Why do some matches not count for Booking History? A friend wished to start a booking history for some tickets I purchased for him but was told it was not possible to do so.
When purchasing tickets for your friends it is important that you advise us of your friend’s client reference number. We can then assign the purchase to their history. This will also enable us to award loyalty points independently enabling all fans to build their own history and loyalty points. You can also track the number of loyalty points you have by calling or activating your client reference on line when you purchase seats.
Question 8: Is it possible to have a cashless system using the same season ticket card?
The simple answer to this is yes. We are confident that in time a cashless system will benefit fans and aid our marketing intelligence. However, there are lots of things to consider before we take this leap and whilst we are investigating this technology we have no immediate implementation plans.
Question 9: SCG 4 stated that HOK architects were completing an initial study into the ground development. Have the results been published? Is the planning permission obtained for a new North Stand still valid?
HOK Architects (now Populous) has been working with the Club to look at the feasibility of improving various portions of Villa Park and the Grounds. At this stage, ideas for development are still conceptual in nature and are not published. With regard to prior planning permission for a new North Stand, it is our understanding that any new project we may undertake at Villa Park would require renewed submittal of permit application documents. As was undertaken last off-season, the Club is continuing to improve our facilities during this upcoming off-season with scheduled improvements to the Holte Suite and other corporate areas in the Trinity Stand. These works are in addition to ongoing plans for redecorating Dave Targett Suite, SuperBox and Legends Lounge during this off-season, as well.
Tom Fantini – Head of Facilities
Question 10: The PA system is still an issue and has been mentioned in previous SCG meetings. What improvements have been made and what more can be done? It is too loud and distorted in the lower trinity road stand?
The Club is aware of some distortions during message transmission in certain areas of the Stadium. We have commissioned a sound engineer to develop options to correct the problem(s). Whilst we have received their recommendations, we have recently engaged a second consulting company to provide a comparable, due diligence evaluation. The results of this second survey are not yet complete. In the interim, we will explore options to manually adjust the sound level in the lower Trinity section.
Question 11: Could we link up with the Tesco store to provide a limited number of parking spaces on match days? May be able to link with Tesco loyalty card.
We will approach Tesco to see if such an idea is feasible. We are aware that parking restrictions exist at present to protect spaces for shoppers. Should we be able to provide any spaces on match day we will ensure the details are added to the Match day Transport Map located in the Transport section of www.avfc.co.uk.
Lee Preece – Football Operations / Projects Manager
Question 12: With the general ageing population has the club considered the effects that this may restrict access to various parts of the ground. Is this being considered by HOK in their assessment?
As referenced in the Club's response to Question No. 9 (above), development plans are only conceptual in nature at this time. That being said, please rest assured that the Club is committed to making any newly constructed facilities enjoyable and comfortable for all our Supporters, and accessible to the young and not-so young alike.
Question 13: Can we have more fans input in the news and record programme and the web site?
We are always interested to hear any suggestions from supporters regarding the content of the programme and, from time to time, we invite fans’ input when formulating ideas for a new season. This was the case a couple of seasons ago, when a few suggestions were implemented, although there obviously has to be a limit how many new ideas we are able to accept at any given time.
As far as fans’ involvement is concerned, we compare favourably with most clubs, providing two pages for supporters’ stories and photos on Fanzone (four in the final issue of the 2008-09 season), a regular Supporters Club spotlight and Junior Villans page which often includes drawings submitted by young fans.
Rob Bishop – Programme Editor
With regards to the website we recently employed a Web Manager to evaluate our current platforms and help us plan for the future. There is a lot of work to do to improve both avfc.co.uk and our e-ticketing platforms. Consultation with fans will be imperative in order for us to prioritise this work.
Question 14: Could the club consider 2, 3, 5 year season tickets at fixed prices?
The Club is always looking at season ticket prices and currently doesn’t intend to offer 2, 3 or 5 year season tickets. However, this may be considered in the future if considered beneficial to the Club and our supporters.
Question 15: I note that the club have strong links with a local FA charter standard development club with a majority of Asian Members. Does the club have any thoughts of increasing the number of junior clubs with which it has definite links?
We will always try to assist youth clubs where possible but we aren’t looking to form definite partnerships. As part of our football development plans we attempt to aid groups who need assistance in developing organized structures. Over the last 5 years we have done much to assist players with special needs and we are currently working closely with Sporting Khalsa to help them form a sustainable club.
Duncan Riddle – Head of Community
The next SCG is before the Stoke game. I might do this one as I've not been to the last few having sent other reps (and got let down last one)
If you want to put your name forward, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date:Monday November 30 2009
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