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Aston Villa 2 v 3 Leeds United
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 23rd December 2018 Kick-off 13:30
Aston Villa Awaydaze
Monday, 17th Dec 2018 19:09 by Tim Whelan

Our visit to Aston Villa kicks off at 1.30 on Sunday, having been shifted from Saturday by our very good friends at Sky Sports. We’re still not famous any more!

Villa Park is about three miles north of Birmingham city centre and can be reached by coming off the M6 at the spaghetti junction and taking the A5127 Lichfield Rd (Signposted Villa Park).

It’s mainly street parking, though a ‘residents only’ scheme will prevent you from getting too close to the stadium, and you might be pestered by kids offering to 'watch' your car for up to £4.The best bet would be in the streets around Aston station, or a mile and half away at the Star City leisure complex which is well signposted from the M6, which is at least free.

The best railway station for the away end is Witton, which is on the New Street-Walsall line and has an hourly train on Sundays at 3 minutes to each hour from New Street. Return trains at 15.56, 16.00, 16.56 and 17.56, so the 4pm is presumably an extra ‘soccer special’.

Aston station is further away but has a more frequent service as it is also served by half-hourly trains heading for Lichfield. One final option is to get bus no.7 from outside Snow Hill station in Birmingham city centre.

The best pubs are the ‘Witton Arms’ in Witton Road, which welcomes both home and away supporters but charges £2 to get in, and the Yew Tree on Brookvale Rd. For the latter turn right on leaving Witton station and it's a two minute walk. CAMRA enthusiasts should seek out the ‘Bartons Arms’ on High Street Aston (the A34).

Away supporters get a mere2,600 seats on one side of the Doug Ellis Stand (which the former chariman modestly named after himself), towards the North end of the stadium. This is split between both the upper and lower tiers of the stand. The concourse at the back of the upper tier is particularly tight and easily becomes crowded, and this means they offer a more limited choice of food than the comparatively spacious lower section.

Adult tickets cost £30, with four categories of concessions going down to £10. With such a meagre allocation on offer it’s no surprise that our tickets were originally sold through the ‘attendance tracker’ system, or that they have now sold out.

The current capacity of Villa Park is 42,785, but the club have planning permission to re-develop the North Stand by building extending around the current open corners at that end of the stadium. This would increase the capacity to 51,000, but there is currently no firm timescale as to when this will take place, and they would probably need to get back into the Premiership to justify the expense.

If this comes to pass we might get a decent allocation at Villa Park at some point in the future, but it might not be worth holding your breath while you wait for it. They were also looking the possibility of a 'safe standing' area at Villa Park, using the new ‘rail seat’ technology successfully developed in recent years, but this will have to wait for government approval.

Some of this stuff came from .

Photo: Action Images

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