Aston Villa Fan Meeting With Chris Heck
Before the Crystal Palace match at Villa Park on Saturday, there was the first Aston Villa Fan Advisory Board face-to-face meeting with Chris Heck, Aston Villa’s President of Business Operations, and his recently appointed Chief Operating Officer, Ben Hatton.
The agenda for the meeting is below, although during the meeting it wasn’t tackled in an orderly fashion, so we are waiting for the club to put together some notes in order to communicate to Villa supporters some answers to the questions and issues detailed below.
In the meantime, while we wait for that, regarding the development of the North Stand, Chris Heck maintains the aim is to get started next summer. In terms of Rail Seating in the Upper Holte, the intention is to have it installed during this season. While the away ticketing issues will be hopefully dealt with in a dedicated meeting in the near future.
At least from the below agenda, you’ll get an initial insight into the tone of the meeting and what was discussed (although to be honest, there wasn’t much time to get into any real detail on several of the matters).
For your information, it was a Premier League initiative this year to rename any Premier League club fan consultation groups with the new moniker of ‘Fan Advisory Board’.
Attendees from the club:
Chris Heck President of Business Operations
Ben Hatton Chief Operating Officer
Paul Tyrrell Chief Corporate Affairs & Security Officer
Tommy Jordan Communications Director
Lee Preece Supporter Liaison Manager
Meeting Agenda Set by Fans
The last year of meetings have largely been presentations by the club. Yet, recent statements from the club on various matters have stated that consultation has taken place with supporters. In terms of the badge and the Holte End developments, both initiatives would have been better served with consultation before the club’s respective surveys, which seemed to preset the club’s thought process on both matters.
With regards to the away ticket group – notably the topics of away prices and the passing on of tickets & punishments – the FAB group have had zero communication about this process or outcomes. Can there be more structured communication to the FAB group.
- Terrace View
Why did the mooted GA+ offering upgrade to velvet ropes, ‘Hospitality’ lanyards and hostesses? This is not really conducive to what the Holte End represents for fans. Also, claret members and the general public have been frozen out of getting tickets for the upper Holte, with it being blocked off for Terrace View sales.
What is the take-up so far on a season and match by match basis? What feedback has the club received from supporters, particularly in the light of the reported abuse members received at the Everton game?
Related to the Upper Holte, what happened to the proposed rail seating? And why has there been such poor communication on it, can the club put out an update statement to supporters?
- Matchday Facilities
There have been numerous complaints about the poor organization with regards to catering, basic service and the dirty/unfinished nature of concourse facilities. We have discussed this situation for the entire duration of the group’s existence, yet there has been very little progress. And with the example of the Terrace View, general concourse capacity has actually been reduced.
- Away ticketing
There has been criticism of the criteria for away matches, with a drop of 19 to 15 for Burnley seen as too large. Then fans with 10 aways are in the same allocation round as season ticket holders with no away record for the season. Could the club make a statement to clarify the situation regarding corporate members receiving away tickets? Can the Terrace View ballot be explained for transparency purposes, where allegedly members can ask for up to four tickets per game.
Also, were the club offered a larger allocation for Hibs and if so, why were they declined?
- Disabled facilities
When will these be upgraded to meet legal requirements? For clarification, what are the deadlines in play and can we actually have a final fulfilment date.
- Ground redevelopment and transport improvements
How are these progressing and what effect will the recent news about Birmingham city councils s.114 have?