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The most recent Supporters Consultation Group meeting took place ahead of the Everton clash, and here are the questions in all their glory.

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Topics covered this time round include Safe Standing trials, Wine from the kiosks, signs & flags policy, smoking areas and speed of halftime service amongst a few others.

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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday September 11 2012

Time: 6:13PM

Your Comments

What a load of corporate spin. It is difficult to hear the music/tannoy annoucements from the top tier of the Holte. It is practically impossible to get a beer at half time due to lack of staff/single pour pumps and the fact that there aren't pre poured drinks ready. I understand the issue on the North Stand redevelopment as we can not fill the ground we have, because there are too many fickle fans/part timers/glory hunters etc. They say the use of large flags are not permitted whilst happily unfurling the largest flag in the country. The question was asked on transport but the club has a fundemental problem that will not be overcome whilst the club is based in Aston. Due to cultural changes, the ground is in a deprived part of Birmingham that is home to a 90% immigrant population. This social group have no affinity with the football club within whose shadows they live. Villa are not alone with this problem. Newcastle, Bluescouse, Redscouse etc are fortunate to have locations that have not been affected by population change over the years. So regardless of transport, Villa Park will remain a matchday venue only. The location and lack of supporters that live within the shadows of Villa Park will mean that youth/reserve games will struggle to attract support. The restaurants are underused and the Holte Pub can not open except on matchdays. The mainly muslim population have no need for pubs in the area. All the supporter consultation groups, whilst occasionally coming up with an idea, will never overcome most of the problems facing many football clubs in the future and are akin to moving the deckchairs on the Titanic. Flatten Villa Park, sell the land for development and move to the area now home to the Aston Science Park on the east side of the City Centre, next to the ThinkTank and within walking distance of the 3 Main train stations in Brum, the Metro service and every bus route into Brum. Make it the heart of the City or all the fan initiatives in the world are pointless. Big men and big leaders make big decisions. Lets forget ticking boxes and do something fundemental for the long term health of our great club. Villa Park worked upto 40 years ago. It doesn't anymore. Fortune favours the brave.
voiceoftheholte
The massive flag is controlled though voice etc...
Flatten Villa Park? Wow, didn't think you'd go for that sort of thing!?!?!? I think if Villa moved from Villa Park, my love affair would end. It is too historic a ground surely? Albeit, I understand, with all the stands now having been changed... etc. Interesting opinion that one. Agree the tannoy is no good!
the fear
Don't know about the PA being no good. Where I sit (in the front row of the Trinity Upper) the PA is so loud that it hurts my ears. In addition, of course, the people using the microphone always feel the need to shout into it.

Any chance we can get rid of the prat who introduces the second half? I don't need to be told to support the team. I've been a Villa fan for over 50 years. I know how it works.

I've never understood the theory behind 'half time entertainment'. Surely the 'entertainment' is supposed to be when the players are on the pitch? Half time is for having a jimmy, buying a pie or, possibly, sitting head in hands hoping the second half is a marginal improvement on the first.

chocolate teapot
Ime with you choc how much entertainment do you need for such a short break ? As for this announcement business its another dreaded americanism we dont need the gee up we are already up for it . Like choc says a Jimmy then a suspicious look at what they call pies lol mind you might add Ime in the same age bracket as choc judging by the 50 years support.
Merlin128777
'Voiceoftheholte's arguments are so persuasive about a move from Villa Park I am going to come out of my closet and say I agree with him! I never thought I'd say that, but it appears to me that we need people of the vision of Ramsay, Mac and Rinder at the helm to put Villa in its proper setting ... upsetting though that may be. I've written articles on my blog and on the Villa List in support.
the_lergy
Oh Jeez chocolate, you've blown it now, I was going to be dancing on the pitch at half time this week and they've just cancelled!!!! Yes, I think the problem with the PA is that it is very loud in places and muffled in other places. They have had trouble with it for years, think Ellis brought in a nice cheap system when it was fitted! ;o))
the fear
Blimey Lergy! lol... I might have to turn this into an article as a talking point I think! Trouble is, I put one up and some 'read between the lines' (where nothing is actually written) and think this is happening and I'm testing the water! LOL
the fear
Fear - Aston is dead. Small Heath is dead. Wolves have a well placed staduim, but unfortunately for them the city is dead. There are certain clubs where the club is the hearbeat of a community, Newcastle, both Scouse clubs, Norwich amongst others. But Villa and many others, suffer nowadays due to their location. Like you I have been coming for years, for many of our age group it would be a wrench to leave Villa Park. The emotions, memories, the formative years make it almost impossible to consider. But for anyone under the age of 35 they are not likely to live within 3 miles of Villa Park. The club is no longer home to the community it serves. But most problematic is that it is not fundamentally easy to get to. There is spare land on the East of the City Centre. Easy for a majority of fans to reach by bus, train, metro or car. It would be central to the brummy community and therfore central to the people who support it. Maybe put this up as an article as you mentioned. It is painful but I believe holding onto history could hold us back. Someone with vision could bring the club into the upper echelons of the game??
voiceoftheholte
voth, I grew up near VP and one of my parents is from an 'immigrant' background. It didn't stop me from supporting my local club. You make a good argument for a change but VP is one of the most famous and historic grounds in the land. Maybe Villa should be trying harder to win fans among the local population. Aston could also rise again. Nobody knows what the future holds. The club and it's ground should represent continuity in a changing world. Both Merseyside clubs have grounds in deprived areas. They have also both -- probably -- done more than Villa in reaching out to the local communities (although I concede that those communities might -- unlike Aston -- have long standing ties to the area). It's an interesting idea you have nonetheless. You might be right but some of s don't want succes at any cost. I no longer live in B'ham but still struggle to come to terms with the changes that have taken place. The old city centre was brutalist and grim but it had character. VP has character. Do you really want some soulless rectangle in its place?
VillaWillRiseAgain
Btw, voth I meant you make a good argument 'for change' not 'for a change'. You almost always make a good case for your views. ;-)
VillaWillRiseAgain
Cant' argue that the toon etc, in the heart, and makes the city. Will ponder an article, ran out of time today. Oh, and you don't have to be so formal voice, we are mates, you can call me The !
the fear
vwra. I think you can see that the conversation isn't about immigration, but a wider regeneration issue. However the clubs I mentioned are based in 'white' areas that are part of the fabric of the club. Villa probably do more to reach out to the local community than other clubs because of the specific challenges faced of being in an area that is far removed from its traditional core support. When I see a playing field in Liverpool all the kids are wearing Liverpool and Everton shirts. When I see kids playing football next to Villa Park they are wearing Manure and Liverpool shirts. This social divide and snub of the Villa is an issue that isnt going to be resolved anytime soon by some outreach work. And no I do not want a souless ground such as Small Heath, Riverside, Pride Park etc. But there is certainly a call for somebody with vision, either to move Villa to the centre of its own universe or to make it the focal point of the community in which it is based.
voiceoftheholte
voth, If the kids around VP are wearing footie shirts it at least shows that they are interested in the game which is a start. If I'm honest -- as someone who no longer lives in the city -- I'd be more inclined to come up and watch the Villa regularly if the ground was more accessible. A ground within walking distance of transport links would be a big motivator for me (and probably other Lions outside of B'ham). Maybe, it is time for Villa to move on but any new ground should be New Villa Park and not some sponsored JD Sports Arena (or suchlike).
VillaWillRiseAgain
This is the sort of idea that would make the suits sit up and take notice. It could also be far sighted. Both the Merseyside clubs have outgrown their grounds and appear unwilling to ground share. That will hold them back for years. The issue of many English football grounds being in deprived, inner city areas is a pressing one. The locations were appropriate during the nineteenth-century but times have changed. You might have persuaded me, voth.
VillaWillRiseAgain
'voth' speaks heap big truths! ... And sounds to be a perfect spokesperson. I'll be there at your shoulder if needed.
the_lergy
wvra, lergy. It is good you are on the same page as me on this. It is emotive. Villa Park will be my football love until I draw my final breath, but the thought of a Villa Park in the centre of Brum would convince me that there is life after the old place. There is the space for it by the Aston Science Park if only someone with the vision to do this would grasp the bull by the horns. Rebuild Villa Park on the same traditions as the current ground, brick built and solid. Not a plastic clad abboration as suffered by so many clubs. Surround it with casinos, health clubs, gymnasiums, our museum, retail outlets, bars and restaurants and a s*****y new hotel and the club would grow ten fold. Transport and location is the key. Being in the centre then I would guess that 95% of people would be able to get to it on matchday by just one journey, be that a bus, the Metro or the train. Less people would go to matches in the car which would mean massive extra trade for bars and restaurants as well as good revenue the public transport network. Fans would be more inclined to make a day out of watching the game. Shops in the city centre would benefit. It would be a great venue for international and European Final games, again bringing massive revenue into the City. There are a quarter of a million people in Birmingham City Centre every day. They would all be able to visit whenever they want for lunch, tickets, shopping, going to the gym. At night time the bars, casino and gyms would make the place a constant hub and a focal point of many peoples lives. This would also help the cultural groups who currently shun the football club to integrate. Thinking out of the box maybe even build a new church/mosque/synagogue in keeping with the surroundings to actively encourage the area as a multi faith use. I fully understand the emotive reasons for staying at Villa Park. I understand tradition and heritage. Man Citeh do not seem to be doing so bad since leaving Main Road, Arsenal since leaving Highbury, Red and Blue Scouse are both desperate to leave their traditional home (and it could be argued that they have equally as much reason/history/tradition for wanting to stay in their current grounds). It makes sense despite the emotive attachment to the area. There is the land to do it. It would take the club to an entirely different level. And I tell you something for nothing, if a club up the road gets proper ownership and financial backing they will do it. And that really would put us in a precarious position. Do unto him as would be done to you. But do it first.
voiceoftheholte
s w a n k y has been edited. Good gawd. I meant 'Posh'.
voiceoftheholte
Whilst i agree to the points made by VOTH about moving VP to a more accessable and commercially interesting part of Brum, the actual reality is it just aint going to happan or anytime inthe next 5/10 years, Villa is re-builing into a team that can once compete in the Prem league once again, let alone affording spending on a new 200/300million stadium with dwindeling crowds at VP and a team in transition this aint happaning anytime soon tbh but i at least agre it would benefit Villa long term to move but it would hurt and rip my guts out tbh i luv VP
ClivetheVillan
Agree with much of what you say Voice have one or two reservations but I am sure thats natural as its only a discussion and not an actual project no. 1 Wonder if the city council is would help or hinder given that we dont actually have the name AND nor do we want Birmingham in our title . no2 Its inevitable that at some stage of this type of project the dreaded ground share would raise its head no thanks. My only real problem with the idea is what those without the interests of Aston Villa at heart would force on us to get the project through,as we have seen before when it comes to cash versus historical concept history loses out EG Arsenal ,Man City. To be realistic the name Villa Park would almost certainly have to be sacrificed to get this project underway.
Merlin128777
ctv - It needs vision. In the normal context you are 100% correct, but this is radical. It requires radical solutions and would need Randolph to partner up with a whole host of public and private partners. It is a seperate issue to current team building and plans. Merlin - there are lots of questions/obtacles/worries etc however the basic idea is sound. And let me stress that I am sure that at some stage if we do not put a marker down for it as our project then somebody nearbye will. This needs to be done before/if the money arrives in Small Heath.
voiceoftheholte
will do something with this and do a poll next week, no good doing it now, we have the win lose draw and man of match etc.
The Fear
I couldn't disagree with voiceoftheholte more. His argument is just too muddled and contradictory. It also makes assumptions about religion I think is prejudicial. He says that the reason Villa Park is never quite full is because the fans are fickle or glory-hunters. So, if that is true, how is moving to another location going to change that fact? If Witton is supposed to be so rough the land is not going to be worth much and the cost of demolition is not going to leave much left over to build the Villa Emirates, which cost 390m. I do not like the implications of bringing "population changes" and religion into it. Football is supposed to cross all boundaries and let us not forget that Zidane was a Muslim and rather poorer than the denizens of Witton and Aston. The reason the local population are unlikely to attend Villa Park is that the local area is poor, just as it has been for decades. Its not that the locals have rejected football, it's that football has rejected them by pricing them out of the market. As for transport, Villa Park is between the two main railway lines, is on the outer-circle and is well-served by buses from north Birmingham - Sutton, Kingstanding and Great Bar. In short the area of 19th Century Aston, from Walmley to Birmingham. I am surprised to find those who imply that there is something immutable about the club, seem so keen to trade it in for a plastic replica.
Steve Wade
You make some very good points, SW. When I lived in Aston Parish over 30 years ago it was already very poor and very ethnically diverse. I agree with your comments about locals -- of any background -- being 'priced out'. It was arguably the case even in the 80's. Also your points about 'population changes' and religion are fair, although it's a shame that no Brummie Muslim or Asian footballers -- that i know of -- have come through the ranks at Villa, given the significant south Asian population in Aston. I think voth was -- possibly -- trying to point out that Villa, perhaps, has a disproportianatly high 'white' fanbase given the demographic changes to Brum over the last half-century. It was just a discussion SW. Arsenal and Citeh are no less the clubs they were for moving grounds. Their old stadiums -- Maine Rd and Highbury -- were no longer viable. Ditto, Anfield and Goodison. Watching football at the latter has been described as like watching the game 'through a letterbox'. Yes, we should be careful when talking about socio-ethic and religious issues, but the central question -- should Villa remain at Villa Park -- is worth debating. I, for one, don't want a 'plastic replica'. A sheikh or oligarch would be a disaster for Villa in my view. Voth is correct to point out that Small Heath could -- possibly - be an attractive proposition to that type with all the potentially negative implications (I.e loss of fanbase) that has for Villa. After all few could have thought that Citeh would ever be in the position they are in now. Fascinating discussion, this.
VillaWillRiseAgain
Good points Steve and well made but I think you have looked at my views from a slightly different position. However it makes for a very interesting debate.
voiceoftheholte
 

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