Why Aston Villa aren't offering new season tickets as rail seating plan revealed

Work has already started at Villa Park
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Aston Villa chiefs sat down with the club's Fan Advisory Board (FAB) a few days after the curtain fell on their 2023/24 campaign last month.

The club representatives in attendance were chief operating officer Ben Hatton, vice president of business development and fan engagement Chris Hornbuckle and supporter liaison manager Lee Preece. The FAB raised a number of pertinent questions which supporters have, including the club's plans to redevelop Villa Park during the off-season.

Work begun on renovating the stadium last month and will be largely complete by the start of the new campaign. The Holte End lower and upper will see the introduction of rail seating above vomitories, while there will also be gangway re-alignment in the lower section as well as seating adjustments.

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Gangway re-alignment is also taking place in the North Stand upper, while seating readjustments shall be made too. Rail seating will also be implemented in the Doug Ellis lower, where the away fans stand. The seating works will see a marginal overall increase in capacity at Villa Park to approximately 42,900.

Other projects across the summer include an increased number of hospitality spaces, a new club shop, a new fan zone - which will house up to 1,500 fans – to replace the Trinity Road fan zone and LEDs inside the stadium.

The redevelopment of Villa Park has resulted in the displacement of approximately 900 existing season tickets in the North, Doug Ellis and Trinity Road stands.

"Our priority has been to ensure that those who will need to be relocated have been notified by the club, and have not found out through social media," the club said in the meeting. "Letters have now been sent to all affected season ticket holders and explains the process on how we will find them alternative seats.

"We have worked as fast as we could to identify them. Unfortunately, we were not able to complete this work ahead of the end of the current season. For clarity, everyone that needs to relocate will be offered a seat for the 2024/2025 season."

Last year, Chris Heck confirmed that he had scrapped plans to rebuild the North Stand, which was due to take place later this summer. While redevelopment work is taking place in the stand and across other areas of the stadium, club officials were asked in the latest FAB meeting about what improvements were going to be made to facilities in the North Stand for general admission (GA) tickets.

"It is an old building and therefore comes with some insurmountable challenges," Villa said. "However, we are looking to improve the environment for GA ticket holders in all stands to the extent we can.

"Adding additional premium seating has the knock-on effect of relieving over capacity in certain areas. We are also removing all betting kiosks from the stadium and are looking to use these spaces to enhance the concourse experience."

The season ticket renewal window has opened today, with tickets costing five per cent more than last year. However, there will be a greater increase in match-by-match ticket pricing.

"As discussed at the consultation meeting there will need to be a bigger increase in match-by-match pricing in order to support our ability to limit the rise in season ticket prices to five per cent," the club said. "As we committed to in that meeting, we will ensure that the blended average price increase is kept to 12 per cent."

As a result of the small net reduction in GA ticket availability for the 2024/25 season, Villa will not be offering new season tickets to those on the waiting list this summer.

"We will however be offering a dedicated sales window for match by match tickets to ensure that waiting list members are prioritised before tickets go on general sale," the club said. "We have 27,000 season ticket holders (this figure does not include GA+ or hospitality season ticket holders). Two years ago, we had 29,000.

The club added: "We are moving to digital only [cards] so that will be the default. Only by exception will a card be issued, and an online form will need completing to request a card. Any fee for this service is TBC. Clearly elderly or disabled who have a medical requirement will be given a card free of charge, and we will identify how fans can apply."