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Talking Point: Should Villa Leave Villa Park?

This is a bit of an odd one. I always thought that any Villa fan would say no to the question:

Should Villa move to a new ground.

For me, part of our history, heritage, beauty and magic IS Villa Park.

I`ve thought about it before and if Villa moved, I can`t see that I`d move with them. The love affair would be over I think. A good mate of mine, home and awayer etc says the same.

However, in an article not long back, in reference to the Supporters Consultations Group brought up a couple of posters saying that if Villa are ever going to work and get back to the top of the table, they need to look at doing something radical and re-inventing themselves. Both posters who said they would do this are long standing fans, so not come day go day chaps!

voiceoftheholte kicked it off with:

"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."

I answered:

"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."

Villa historial the_lergy then joined in...

"'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."

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

Voice then went deeply into his views:

"Fear - Aston is dead. Small Heath is dead. Wolves have a well placed stadium, but unfortunately for them the city is dead. There are certain clubs where the club is the heartbeat 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 therefore 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??

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 abortion 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.
"

So, what say you folks? Not saying this will ever be on the agenda, but as we have the international break to bore us now, thought it would make a great talking point. Have to admit he has a point with regards to Arsenal and Manchester City... but Villa moving? I think it would break my heart!

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday October 11 2012

Time: 2:07PM

Your Comments

Be fascinated what the reaction is to this!
The Fear
The very idea had never really entered my consciousness, but the arguments made by Voice are extremely persuasive. I always assumed (lazily) that moving ground was to accommodate more fans, boost matchday income etc. And as we hardly every sell out games, what would be the point? But moving to re-connect with the city itself, bringing in new fans, making it easier, safer and maybe more convenient to attend, boosting the city economy, well, it sounds like a no-brainer! I love Villa Park, but for me, something died a little when they demolished the Trinity Road facade.If we could avoid a Pride Park/St Mary's identikit-style stadium, why not seriously consider the possibilities? We are treading water at best currently, a shot in the arm like this could be just what we need?
JuanPabloAngel
*hardly EVER I meant...
JuanPabloAngel
In essence we support a name because so many things change. Players come and go, Managers come and go, shirt designs come and go, trophies come and go... Or in our case they just don't come any more. So when you think about it we just support a name and a badge. So IMO as long as its in Birmingham and they play under the name AVFC and play with our badge and colours I don't really care.
Prepared
What ??????????????????????????????????????????? may the fleas of a thousand Bluenoses infest your crotch and may you next turd be a hedgehog Mr Fear !!! ..... how very dare you ? :o
astonmilan
My initial reaction was "are you mad??!!". But having read the background stuff it does make some sense. Would the City Centre infrastructure support a match day? But you are right the area around the club isn't really served by it.
Cheshire Villan
Once the Trinity Road was demolished to be replaced with .... with... well a poor man's Old Trafford North Stand much of my passion for Villa Park died. Not one stand remains of the ground I first visited. The Bundesliga (oh I wish are game was run as well as that league) have some awesome new stadia and they have something called 'atmosphere' at their games. Google Budesliga fans for images and see.
cropped
I dont think there is enough room on the site mentioned.
KSarge1
NO NO NO! The reason Villa are struggling is not because of our location it's because of the FA, the big money clubs and Lerner being a tight fisted owner. I feel that if Villa Park was to be relocated that would be me as a Villa fan over and done with, I have too much history with Villa Park just for it to be levelled and moved so Lerner don't even think about it!
Green Villan
It's only a stadium. The club is so much more than that.
evoflash
Firstly I have always loved my visits to Vuilla Park and would be sorry to see it go, but in saying that, i am not a sentimental fan, and was for spurs moving to the Olympic site (subject to a suitable rebuild) because the game has changed and as with most old grounds, parking and commuting however, you do it is a nightmare. relocating to an area where the transport links are far better, and quicker, and also have a stadium that offers greater facilities, including an ability to multi use for concerts etc, is the right way to go. Previously I have also advocated the common sense thinking of groundsharing, including Spurs/Arsenal, Liverpool/Everton etc as the right thing to do. if the Milans etc can do it, why not.
oxfordspur
The difference between Arsenal/Man City and this proposed move is both of those clubs stayed within the area of their previous Stadia. I honestly don't think moving Villa into Birmingham City Centre will make one bit of difference. The clubs referenced have fundamental differences with ourselves. Newcastle, Norwich and Leeds are all one city clubs so have no other distractions. Liverpool have drew support because of success throughout 70s/80s and the Hillsborough disaster, Everton don't sell out Goodison every week so are similar to ourselves. When discussing Man City, the oil money has made the difference to that club, the stadium is irrelevant. Prior to the oil money sell outs were not the norm at Eastlands. Also the transport link argument is feeble, Villa Park is literally off junction 6 of the M6, it has two rail stations within walking distance and is serviced by a regular bus service. Ultimately, the best way to improve the fortunes and revenues at the club are to provide a successful product on the pitch.
notthedougellisstand
Mine is a NO NO NO! I just can't see that I'd follow Villa to a new ground, this is the home of the league and I have so many memories there. I would probably only follow Villa away from home or my love affair would die in a heap of misery!
The Fear
Would there be any point moving and crippling oursleves even further financially? Maybe in 10+ years we reach the current maximum attendance of 55k?
son_of_cher
Villa Park is one of the easiest grounds to get to. Take it from someone who has travelled from various parts of the country to get to it over the last 30+ years. That is a poor argument for moving.
Class of 82
No. Next question.
onlyteaminthemids
I thought you meant move, because we can't fill it anymore !! No unless you were going to move it to where I live ,I'm happy where it is . As someone said moving it a few miles is neither here or there & it's easy to get to & not bad to get away from
AstonBilla
Listen ... the Premier League is on the very edge of imploding under it's financial excesses, it can't continue. UEFA are now struggling to get big spending sponsors for their CL and Europa League...... football is dying a death, it's something families watch at home on Sky. it is no longer a working class sport, for a bloke to say take his two sons to watch us play Liverpool would be around 120 with fuel, parking and food etc... it's not a one off event with 19 games plus cups through the season. The cost of building a new stadium like the Emirates or Eastland's is around 450m .... the land Villa Park is sat on is only worth housing redevelopment prices. Where would the money come from ?? .... attendances are dropping, even Old Trafford has empty seats nowadays unless its a massive game. Never mind blowing stupid amounts of money, lets get wage caps and ridiculous financial excesses under control and give football back to the masses. We aren't attracting new walk through the turnstile supporters, it's become a luxury to watch the peoples sport.
astonmilan
No way. Just redo the North Stand like has been mocked up in some pictures and it would be an unbelievable looking stadium.
Stephen Jay Hawkings
Hear Hear Astonmilan . I only go now & again as I can't justify the expense to the boss/missus & as she says we go out & have a meal & a couple of drinks & arrive home happy . Last year every time I come home from Villa Park I was a miserable *** for the rest of the weekend
AstonBilla
er...no way. Or leave the Holte End standing and put one of those screens in at the front like the Dallas Cowboys have (about the size of half a pitch). I guarantee you it will still get better gates than Randy Stadium.
malacaxeta
And it's a no from me too. Nowhere is big enough in the city to fit in what has been suggested for one thing. The second has been mentioned too... that is Villa Park is so easy to get to, by train or by road. It's near enough to the city centre and thirdly..... well, No!
Pride of Lions
More and more I've been wondering how much of a boost it would give us if we moved. I've lived near Manchester now for nigh on 20 years and through this time I've noticed the teams in the area that have progressed the most are the teams that have moved. First it was Bolton; the 1st match I ever went to was there in 1978, and what a poo hole it was! And a poo 0-0 game too! Anyway, my office was just round the corner from the new Reebok Stadium and I watched with interest how this team with the Co-op taking up half of one of the stands suddenly had this state of the art ground with a De'Vere Hotel at one end and a full sized shopping & entertainment complex on site. Though not much larger capacity wise, it still managed to substantially increase the average attendance and more success came with it. Then there is Man City. I still think one of the chief reasons the new investors came was due to the new potential of their fab new stadium and its immediate location. So we have Villa Park, the spiritual home of football and the place where we have so many great memories. The trouble is that memories lie firmly in the past and my honest opinion is that the logistical location of Villa Park belongs to a bygone era when transport was less of an issue. Getting to the Villa is downright awkward now and getting out is even worse. The potential for the immediate area is summed up by Ozzy's old house round the corner - cramped, pre-war residential. So, basically I agree with the other 'heathens', if we want to progress and increase our potential stock for the future, then we need to make Villa more of a part (and a proud part) of the heart of the City of Birmingham. You put a Cathedral in a City Centre, football's become a religion for many of us, so we should now think of it in the same way and put our temple near the centre too. If we get a museum on site, then the memories will always be there. Don't get me wrong, I love Villa Park with its immense character and being in the shadow of Aston Hall, which always makes me feel that I belong to the poshest club in the country. It's just that in this 21st century world, being stubborn and refusing to move means you'll eventually get run over.
Windy Villain
I have an alternative idea.. Buy out & Knock down all the awful housing in the area around Villa Park & turn that into a Man City esque area.. Expand & update the stadium & with such easy access off the a 38 & Motorways it could rejuvenate Aston, attract some new investment & reverse the decaying society which is prevalent there at the moment. You could build a casino & Hotel & a new Village of Aston completely.
danceoftheshamen
Also the locals have nothing to do with the club & this needs addressing. This i know for certain as i have spoken with some through my work & the whole community round there has no interest in or affection for the club whatsoever
danceoftheshamen
No point in moving you wont attract new fans by just being in the city centre. 99% of Villa supporters are forced to be supporters by their family or friends and then when you walk to the stadium and stare in awe at the massive holte end (1980 was my first time and in 2005 for my son)you get the bug and feel the love and pride to be part of something special, the club becomes part of you and you never lose it even if you cant go to as many games as you used to or would like to. The last thing I would want would be to be sat by a one off match day tourist supporter with his camera constantly out taking pictures and probably not of the villa players but of the Man U., Liverpool , Chelsea players (Fulham comes to mind). Are people forgeting we are actually called ASTON Villa and are based in ASTON hence the name. My heart is in Aston and always will be I dont care who lives around it, if they dont like it or support it. I do and its whats inside that historical staduim the happy and sad memories of mine, family and friends past and present are there and always will be. VTID
avfcfazza
An interesting point of view. I would support the team wherever the ground was (in Birmingham) and it makes a lot of sense. However the cost would be so high it would never happen. The main problem is though it is so expensive for the average person to watch a match. The Baggies game cost me 35 quid in the Upper Holte. That is a lot of money for 1 1/2 hours 'entertainment'. Most of the time these days I leave Villa Park annoyed and wondering why I have spent so much all the time. Most of my money is going on wages for players who couldn't give a damn (how many millions do clubs pay agents, our ticket money wasted). I have never felt so detached from the club, not the clubs fault just the way football is now. Also not because of the poor form the last few seasons, I think we have a great Owner and Manager and if we stick with him I'm certain things will get a lot better. However the greed of the Premier League is ruining it, it's a billionaires playground and not about the fans or the clubs. Also a ground move would mean even higher prices. Sigh..........
antvillan
No is the answer. Villa Park has it's location and shouldn't be franchised into moving. Midlifecrisisoftheholte is wrong.
Villan444
Ten years ago I would have said no, no way, not in my lifetime! Now... the game is a business and we, while increasing our revenue year on year, are falling further and further behind the big boys. Villa Park nowadays is not the place I grew up loving. Once the Trinity went so did the soul of the place in my opinion. The redevelopment of the Holte shows how a transformation can take place. Imagine a whole, new stadium built in a late Victorian / Edwardian style that pays homage to the boom time of Birmingham and Villa. Throw in a luxury hotel, casino, bars, restaurants and boutiques and create a new Villa Park experience that fits in with the game as it stands today.
Rawlie
Whilst living in Birmingham ,visiting villa park was always special but the journey from the city to Aston on foot was always a mare! A dump of an area,car scratched if you didn't pay the locals to look after it for you,no buses if you left the car in town and crap pubs. The ground to me just looks lost in a time warp of years gone by and filling in the corners will not change that! The stadium needs to be rebuilt in the city centre as Birmingham centre is now turning into a major European hub with visitors from all over the world! Build a stadium in the centre of brum with all the pubs,top eateries and less transport problems and the fans will come,even overseas visitors like they do at Barcelona. It's the only way to go forward,it's a yes vote for me to leave Aston *****e hole!
brisbane lion
The arguments for moving seem to be rolling in ... yet the poll doesn't seem to reflect a wish to move! ... This is clearly a highly emotive subject and as I started going down to Villa Park over 60 years ago then clearly I share the sentimentality. But ... the location has developed into an anachronism I'm afraid. On the other hand I feel there is no point in moving unless a new site is found somewhere in the heart of Brum and Aston-side with good transport links. That criteria might just make a move impossible, however - the council would take a lot of persuading. This is a very difficult nut to crack.
the_lergy
Not so sure on this one, but I'm not really shocked that the locals aren't interested in Aston Villa football club as it's a largely Asian area and all my Asian mates love thier cricket! When Arsenal and the like moved ground it was beacuse they knew they'd fill the new one, not so sure we would to be honest but as I've read this thread more I have gone from a 'Hell no, we won't go' to slightly undecided..........To be fair, it's not going to happen anyway.
juddy
Putting emotion to one side this could never happen. Look around you. How much development do you see going on in inner city areas? Not much above zero is the answer. If, and it's a big if we could sell VP the most it would fetch would be 50 - 70m. Redevelopment would only be low cost housing. Secondly, I am not sure where exactly the land 'by Aston Science Park' is. If you mean the site by the old Curzon St station that is earmarked for the terminus of the HS2 railway and, anyway, is nowhere near large enough for a modern football stadium. Thirdly, no new stadium would ever be built in an 'Edwardian/Victorian style'. It would be unbelievably expensive. Stop dreaming. Wake up and smell the cornflakes.
chocolate teapot
Understand and to a point agree with some of the arguments to move. Simple truth is for the next five years at least seems very unlikely,none of the required criteria are there to cause the momentum required. E.G. The current stadium rarely sells out for games, Villa park is not in a bad state of repair, as we do not bear the name of the city unlikely any public money would be forthcomming and our own finances are not strong enough to pay for it. Who knows where the game is going could be that the almighty tv companies will decide to invest in their product by subsidising new grounds bearing their names. In truth unless we turn into league and european champions in the next few years do not believe there is an argument to answer.
Merlin128777
I agree with the points made about then need to reintegrate with the city, developing our transport and commerical links with the city. The heritage around Villa Park is a stumbling block, so why not have the best of both worlds. The site where Villa Park is now isn't a bad site. With investment into transport the club can help provide a service to home and away fans who may struggle getting to the stadium. It could also reduce the amount of car traffic and petrol investment getting to the stadium. The site the North stand sits on, everyone knows, has massive potential. redeveloping this stand alone could increase the stadium's reputation as an established Premier League ground. But why not go further. If the club looked to buy up some of the land around Villa Park, which currently is housing, redevelops the land into a combination of a new club shop, restaurants and bars, a club museum, a casino, ticketing offices, shops, as well as new affordable, high density housing. The club could gain revenue from renting out the housing and outlets for shopping stores. It would be an ambitious project, but could cater for the need?
simsammons
Teapot, was the Holte 'unbelievably expensive'? I doubt it as a certain skinflint chairman was in charge during that time. Would a brick stadium with modern facilities and a facade that doffs its cap at the past be more expensive than the Emirates or the Etihad? I seriously doubt it. Anyhow, it's all speculation as I can't see us moving anytime soon. Still, I'm quite surprised by people who would move... never thought it would be that high.
Rawlie
Chocolate Teapot? 70m? Your valuation is far too high for Aston where only likely social housing and retail units would be built. As for the lack of construction work in Birmingham, as a Surveyor I could argue the following..... The Cube 100m - now open. New St redevelopment - 600m, Birmingham Library - 500m, Birmingham Metro....... Do I need to go on?
leelindsay
My stance on this subject is Yes to moving to a more commercially attractive location where sponsors ad revenue would increase as Aston is not the industrial thriving area i used to be instead we all know what its like these days, but the moving to a new stadium must not be until we pik up and move up the league first as so an clubs fall for the trap of spending on stadiums like Derby Coventry etc before sorting the team out first and then drop out the prem league which has disatrous consiquencies.
ClivetheVillan
Rawlie - You think the Holte looks Edwardian/Victorian, do you?

leelindsey - I accept what you say about the value of VP. I was trying to err on the generous side. On the developments - all these developments were started years ago when money was no object AND they are all in the city centre. As you say yourself, the VP site would only be suitable for low cost housing etc. The point I was trying to make (badly, obviously) is that what Villa would get for selling VP would be peanuts compared to the cost of land and construction in the city centre. It's a complete non starter.

chocolate teapot
And you'd have called the old Trinity Road stand what architecturally, Sir Norman Teapot? Wasn't the Holte built to remain in keeping with one of Leitch's masterpieces, which itself was built with Aston Hall in mind. I dunno, a Mock Post-Industrialised Jacobean Victorian imagining, perhaps?
Rawlie
I think we should move and not tell Bent the new address.
koolbill
Villa park is the reason for our exotic 1 touch total football style of the past 2-3 seasons. I think it's too risky to move ground incase the villa magic doesn't follow us. We are like a combination of the England '66 team, the current Spain side and the brazil 1970 team. Just can't risk that with a stadium move.
Tylervilla2012
VILLA PARK is Aston Villa to me,fill in the North Stand,50,000 I don't mind but WE BELONG HERE.
mc parland
 

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