'Get out of the seat' - Aston Villa fury as Chris Heck explains changes

Aston Villa fans wave flags in support of their team prior to the Premier League match against Liverpool at Villa Park.
-Credit: (Image: Alex Pantling)


Aston Villa fans have hit out at the club's decision to move season ticket holders to create new premium seating areas to enhance the club's matchday experience.

Some fans are losing seats they have had for decades with an uncertainty of the quality of seating that they will be moved to if they do choose to renew their tickets for the 2024/2025 campaign.

BirminghamLive/Birmingham Mail has been sent a number of emotional and angry messages and letters from fans on the issue. One angry Villa fan who wished to not be named, told us;

"A lot of season ticket holders are going to be very unhappy. About 900 of the best seats which are held by season ticket holders are being moved to “update the Villa experience”. Some have held great seats for years. These seats are being taken arbitrarily but in a bad way without providing alternatives.

"Those season ticket holders whose tickets will not be renewed will have to wait until all the other season ticket holders have taken up their options. Only then will tickets be reallocated to those people whose seats have been taken off them.

"The consequence of this is that from having great seats, the situation is that we’ll be offered the dregs. Clearly, the seats taken off season ticket holders are in the best central locations.

"We’ve done well this season, but we haven’t won anything yet and this is happening. It will get worse the more successful we are!! The Americanisation has started!!

"It’s understandable they may want to do this, but they should offer the people with these great seats the option to move to the next best locations and then re-allocate others so that everyone shuffles down. With this system we are going from great seats to sh*t seats and no options!"

His feelings are echoed by a number of messages we have been sent by supporters. They have also taken to social media to give their views on the changes.

Forum fury

Popular Villa Facebook community, All Things Claret and Blue is awash with disgruntled fans like the ones below;

Pete Gough : Had a letter to say our seats in T4 Upper North are unavailable.
Written a complaint email stating that the offer of £80 in the club shop, should be a choice of that or a reduction of the same amount off your renewal

Maggie Lampitt : My seat in Doug Ellis Lower M2 also gone , after 22 years. To say I am upset is putting it lightly.

Simon Lawson: My seat is in T5 Upper North...I spoke to the ticket office earlier...our seats are being replaced for the casual premium 'fan' that Heck thinks we should be encouraging rather than the season ticket holders who have sat in the same seat since we were sh*t!

Gary Jenkins: Yes lower Doug Ellis just get out of your seat that I've had for 25+ years. On the half way line 6 from the front. And go where one of the corners

Alex Beckett: Upper Trinity c60s - absolutely gutted - can’t work out what they’re doing and where - seat selection seems really random!

PeterJWD posted on X : So the price of Aston Villa’s success is for my wife and I to be booted of our season ticket seats so that premium payers can pay more and take our spot. Where were all these fans through the tough times? Disgraceful! @AVFCOfficial

Villa Park
The letter from Chris Heck to Aston Villa fans

What the club has said

In a letter to the fans from President of Business Operations, Chris Heck, he explains why the changes have been made and what options the supporters have.

"As you know, we've been working to upgrade our stadium and grounds to mirror our strong performance on the pitch. 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.

"To go some way to lessen the disappointment, we would like to offer you a gift voucher to the value of £80 to be redeemed in our new club shop when it opens in mid-August.

"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.

"For the first time in history, we're in the Champions League, playing against Europe's very best. In turn, our fans are going to witness some of the game's greats, right here at Villa Park.

"Many thanks again for your support and understanding. Up the Villa!"

The letter from Heck then goes on to explain when the fans can secure their new tickets and how, explaining that this step will come after current season ticket holders have renewed theirs and the club can evaluate what tickets are left.

Season ticket rises

Heck has also confirmed that there'll be a 5% increase in price for the club's adult season tickets for the 2024-25 season.

Villa decided to hike their prices by 15% last season, but despite the excellent form of Unai Emery's side this year and the strong possibility of Champions League football arriving at Villa Park next term - and the added requirement to raise money through revenue in order to remain in keeping with the Financial Fair Play limitations - there won't be a similar increase this summer.

Villa sold out their season ticket by mid-July last season ahead of the club's return to European football, despite there initially being some disgruntlement from within the fanbase that the supporters were being hit in the pocket at a time when there was a cost of living crisis. That was as Villa made efforts to increase their revenue streams in the face of the spending challenges presented by FFP.

"Everything affects one another," Heck told AVTV. "I think it affects it positively on our fanbase. Our plan is to go out with renewals with our general admission adult ticket at a 5% increase, which is fairly modest. The success of other revenue streams can alleviate some of the difficulties that many clubs can have with their fans."

Renewing current tickets

Season ticket holders can renew their memberships for the 2024-25 season from Monday 3 June after the club confirmed that they'd be playing in the Champions League next season. Tottenham Hotspur's defeat at home to title favourites Manchester City on Tuesday meant that Villa can't now be caught ahead of the final day of the season at Crystal Palace.

Attentions now turn to what the summer holds for Villa; players will leave and players will arrive, likely to be of a higher calibre than before as the club prepare to mix it with the European elite. Villa will also be celebrating 150 years in existence in 2025, and the club have a number of things planned to mark the anniversary.

As president of business operations Chris Heck recently confirmed, the club intend to heighten the Villa Park experience for supporters and they are constantly exploring ways to offer fans better ways to watch football - whether that be through rail seating, which is being installed this summer, or via the hospitality areas.

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Villa have confirmed that the redevelopment of Villa Park will be accelerated this summer ahead of the return of players and supporters in August. They intend to increase the capacity of the ground in some areas, but they'll lose around 900 seats around the Trinity, Doug Ellis and North Stands - held by season ticket holders, whose relocation will be prioritised.

Villa season ticket holders will be subject to a 5% increase, as was previously confirmed by Heck, across all adult tickets. A full list of prices will be released by the club in due course. Existing season ticket holders will have until Sunday 22 June to renew - after the deadline, their seats will be released.

What do you make of the decision to force fans to move seats with the compensation of an £80 voucher in the club shop? Tell us in the comments below