Major Villa Park changes underway as Chris Heck outlines vision to help Aston Villa FFP position

Seats in the North Stand have been removed
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)


Redevelopment at Villa Park is underway as the club breaks ground on facilitating more premium seating ahead of the new season.

Earlier this month, president of business operations Chris Heck explained that 900 seats which were occupied by season ticket holders would no longer be available to keep for next season so the club can offer more choice of premium seats at a range of price points.

“We’re spending a lot of money and capital expenses to renovate and rebuild and add on to Villa Park, which was built originally in 1897 so we have some work to do,” Heck said earlier this year at SportsPro Live in London. “We have this incredible building and this incredible opportunity to generate new revenue, and we see it through premium seating.

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“Our core fanbase, our general admission ticket, we would like to give them a better experience, a grander experience, giving them the option to purchase more things. So if that means keeping the prices similar to what they are then so be it.

“Our focus is on premium spaces. We have grand plans to add well over 1,000, closer to 1,500 seats this summer, that are premium seating in products at Villa Park. So that’s where we’re generating our revenue from our core fanbase by offering new things to purchase, as opposed to mandating a new purchase.”

Heck believes that the introduction of more premium seating and hospitality offerings at Villa Park will drive up revenue for the club to use to bridge the gap between themselves and the 'big six'.

"It'll take a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of changes as we grow our business," he told Villa TV. "We use the analogy with FFP that we have a train which is the football side, and a train on the business side. The train on the football side is going lightning fast and that's a good thing.

"The business side has to catch that train. We're working around the clock trying to do sponsorship deals, changing the stadium to be beneficial to Financial Fair Play, find new revenue streams, take in our merchandise in-house and things of that nature."

Speaking of Villa Park, Heck added: "This is our home and I think it's the greatest home field advantage in the Premier League, so the plans are to stay at Villa Park. We are going to do a little bit of work. We are going to put in rail seating and we're going to put in new seats, but we are not going to change any of the banners or anything else, other than just cleaning things up a little bit.

'Over the next two summers, we are going to continue to clean it up and reimagine all of our premium seating. We are working on a concert venue that is for pre- and post-game, and we're going to have an entertainment zone. You'll also have a new superstore. That’s the vision."

Work on improving Villa Park started not long after the club's final home game of the season against Liverpool. Almost every seat in the North Stand has been removed, as have many in the Holte End.

It follows the letter sent out by Villa to the supporters who have been impacted by the changes to Villa Park over the summer.

"As you know, we've been working to upgrade our stadium and grounds to mirror our strong performance on the pitch," Heck said in the letter. "This has not been an easy decision, and we're not making the changes for the sake of it. Villans are at the heart of every decision we make, which is why we are embarking on this development plan across the whole of Villa Park, to offer fans more choice of premium seats at a range of price points.

"Our intention is to create one of the best fan experiences in football, at the same time supporting investments on the pitch to ensure we continue to compete at the highest level. As a result of these upgrades, I am very sorry to inform you that the seat you currently occupy is one of those 900 seats that will not be available for renewal next season.

"Aston Villa would not be the club it is without its supporters and altering the seats of loyal fans is not something we take lightly. To that end, Aston Villa is doing everything in our power to support you following this change. The club is taking several steps to ensure all those affected fully understand their options so that they can continue to enjoy the Aston Villa matchday experience.

"We know that this is very difficult news to hear. We will do everything to ensure your matchday experience is as unaffected as possible. While this has been no easy decision, we want Villa Park to reflect the historic momentum we've seen on the pitch, and we want you to be a continued part of that journey."