Aston Villa Awaydaze
Sunday, 6th Feb 2022 13:16 by Tim Whelan
At last we have another game, after a wait of two and a half weeks since our last fixture. Our visit to Aston Villa kicks off at 8.00 on Wednesday evening and it’s live on BT Sport.
Villa Park is about three miles north of Birmingham city centre and can be reached by coming off the M6 at the spaghetti junction (junction 6) and then taking the ‘Birmingham NE’ option when the slip road splits in two. At the roundabout at the bottom take the fourth exit (the A5127 towards the city centre) and Villa Park is well signposted from there.
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 railway 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.
It won’t be possible to get back to Leeds after the game by train, but I’ll include some directions for the benefit of Leeds fans who live closer to Birmingham. The best railway station for the away end is Witton, which is on the New Street-Walsall line, which usually has a half-hourly service from New Street, with departures at .27 and .57 past each hour.
But on matchdays trains heading for Rugeley Trent Valley also stop at Witton, so you could also catch the 19.07. There are trains back to New Street at 22.14, 22.18, 22.37 and 22.54. 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 makes a small charge of 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). Also recommended is the Beaufort Arms in Hamstead, which has the option of leaving the car there and getting the train to Witton.
Away supporters get a mere2,972 seats on one side of the Doug Ellis Stand (which the former chairman 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 £11. 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.
Home tickets are now on general sale, but we are warned that “Tickets are sold on the basis that they are for home fans only. Supporters purchasing for away fans or those who do not adhere to AVFC ground regulations WILL lose the right to purchase tickets for future matches”. So if you do manage to get into the stadium via that route you’d better pay attention to those threatening capital letters and avoid drawing attention to yourself.
The current capacity of Villa Park is 42,785, but the club has planning permission received planning permission to re-develop the North Stand. This would involve building a new stand that would extend around the current open corners at that end of the stadium. This would increase the capacity to 51,000 and the latest is that redevelopment will be broken into several smaller projects from 2023 to 2031.
And they are also looking at the possibility of a 'safe standing' area at Villa Park, using the new ‘rail seat’ technology successfully developed in recent years and now implemented on an experimental basis at a couple of other stadia. If this all 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.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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