Aston Villa Fan Advisory Board Notes – Unsatisfactory Crest Process and North Stand U-turn

Fan Advisory Board (FAB)  20th December 2023

Location: Villa Park 

Fan representatives                        

Joanne McKibbens               Aston Villa Disabled Supporters Association 

John Gillett                             Lions Clubs 

Nilesh Chauhan                     Villans Together  

Lena Curran                           Fan Representative 

Guri Nandra                          Punjabi Villans

Connor Smith                         Fan Representative

Mo Razzaq                             Aston Villa Supporters Trust

Steve Gough                          Independent Supporters Clubs

Sarah Breslin                         Villa Bellas 

Ian Stokes                              Vital Villa  

Ben Redding                          My Old Man Said 

Dave Woodhall                      Heroes & Villans


Scott Jones                            Villa Talk 

Sam Timms                            Villa & Proud 

Nick Sanders                

Club representatives          

Chris Heck                             President of Business Operations 

Ben Hatton                            Chief Operating Officer 

Paul Tyrrell                            Chief Corporate Affairs & Security Officer 

Tommy Jordan                      Communications Director 

James Lamb                          Head of Estates Development

Lynne O’Reardon                  Head of Ticketing

Lee Preece                            Supporter Liaison Manager 

Aston villa lion design

Villa FAB Meeting Notes

Agenda items and comments provided by Fan Representatives are shown in normal text. 

1. Accessible Seating update

The club continues to work on a road map to compliance, given that we need 220 wheelchair spaces and currently have 105 spaces, with that number increasing in each of the last two seasons.

There is an issue with the lack of dropped kerbs near Holte Pub.  Trinity Road does not have a dropped kerb until the burger vans.

2. Villa Park re-development

3. Club Commercial Strategy

How will the club maximise sponsorship and what targets are in place to “close the gap”?

4. V Sports Partnership

What do the club gain from a sporting and commercial perspective?

Update on Las Vegas Villans?

5. Terrace View & Lower Grounds

Are these areas selling out?

6. Ticket Office Opening Times

When tickets go on sale at 5pm the ticket office is closed.

7. Matchday Music

Fans have provided feedback to Fan Reps on volume levels in the build up to kick-off.

Anyone who feels the volume levels are too high or too low in their area can drop the club a note and we will investigate.  However, achieving the perfect balance for everyone across the stadium is impossible to achieve!  We have received feedback in the past from fans in the same area with differing opinion on sound levels. 

We do aim to build the volume towards kick-off, but as experienced in the last home matches, the noise from the crowd can drown out anything from the speakers!

8. Middlesbrough FA Cup allocation

The club took the full allocation available to us and sold out at the season ticket holder window.

9. Aston Villa Crest

Meeting end

Next informal meeting is 31st January.  The club will invite Andrew Watkin, Transport Officer and Sam Ghataora, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead to meet with the group.


  1. I have heard that this ‘bowl’ idea involves lowering the pitch to enable more seats to be put in. I can’t imagine how this can be possible and also how the pitiful offerings in concourses will be improved.
    Heck thinks that by putting ‘UTV’ at the end of his posts makes him one of us. I hope he is reading this because he never will be one of us nor will his mate Hatton who is a season ticket holder at Old Trafford.

  2. Very concerned with the ideas and excuses of Chris Heck, after all the efforts of the owners and now we have a great manager our team seems to be moving in the direction we all want , it’s unfortunate that off the pitch it’s a shambles.
    The beer is disgusting the queuing for food is a throwback to rationing and now the North Stand and the great vision shared is being abandoned.
    The new badge is s***e and typical work of a “jobs worth”
    Me and my mates don’t spend money at VP despite several complaints being made about catering facilities nothing changes.
    Listen to the fans they’re the ones that care more and have been there for life and will be there forever.
    Like Gerrard Heck will go at some point and we’ll be no further forward and left with the pathetic image of a p*** poor emblem.

  3. Been a season ticket holder for years but this season is special as my little lad has started getting into the Villa. Been waiting for ages but now finally I can share my passion with my son yet It’s next to impossible to get him a ticket. I try nearly every game to get my wife a ticket with him so he can go and it always says this area is sold out or this area is locked. The next generation of fans can’t go to the games. I have only managed to get him to a couple of the Europa games. How can we not be selling out yet I can’t get 2 tickets
    On another note personally I have wanted a return to the round crest style for a long time and I’m very happy with it. I don’t know anyone who wants another change. All of Europe will be paying attention to Villa at the moment with our great form and our round badge is surely getting recognised. Heck is ruining the club.

  4. I find it very difficult to understand why anyone would say “Chris Heck needs to go”. The decisions he is making are for the growth and betterment of Aston Villa. He is a commercial expert with years of experience in growing global brands and revenues. Demanding the departure of probably the most decorated commercial expert we’ve ever had because “Stan from Sutton” likes the new badge seems unbelievably short-sighted. We’re in danger of remaining as small-time as we sound.

    At least give him the opportunity to increase the global brand and commercial revenues before we start calling for his head. Maybe, just maybe, what he is doing is going to help us, rather than hinder. But if we don’t give him the chance, we’ll never know.

    If he fails, then we’re all within our right to call for change, but until then, maybe he knows a bit more about this sort of stuff than us?

  5. Putting the development of a new stand on hold using the excuse that we haven’t sold out the ground, by 200 tickets (which all know are tickets that couldn’t be sold in the Corporate-lite areas) per game, is laughable, embarrassing, disrespectful and worrying. It feels like there is a wider reason why the new stand is being stalled/shelved and someone needed to find an excuse or some holding statement. A year ago, things off the pitch seemed to be going in the right direction, but it’s all changed in the last year, and I’m concerned. Our performance on the field during the last year is clearly more important but I fear it is masking some poor decisions making off the field.

  6. I have been a STH in lower North stand fir many years now, my wife who is disabled had to give up her season ticket this year as the facilities are inadequate for disabled supporters. I feel the response of “not always selling out” is a poor excuse as the only empty seats I’ve seen have been in the away end. Also I was also under the impression that the hefty price increases I’ve faced in the past 2 years were to help with the redevelopment. Has this been put on hold due to the possibility of reaching the champions league perhaps earlier than expected?? Disappointing from Heck. I’ve been a supporter of my club for over 40 years and seen us win everything except the FA Cup. Now money is being prioritised over fan opinion. We have a great fan base even if some are fickle when we have a bad game. it’s time to press on with Stadium upgrades because if we want to be the best then we have to show it in all aspects of the club, not just on the pitch.

  7. Someone pass this on to Villa for what good it will do.
    The badge will be the badge they will do whatever they want anyway.

    Not sure but I think Terrace view has something to do with not selling out in the Holte upper It is disrespectful rubbish and a slap in the face to the Holte as a whole. Around me every week the same 10 seats are empty. The last time I went there were two fans going in the Terrace View could hardly speak english sat next to us (NOT VILLA FANS) just there for the premium experience (PLASTIC FANS) Give us our Holte Back and our Holte suite while you’re at it. You could make both experiences £5.00 all you can eat and drink and you could still shove it, it’s the principle of the thing. Get rid of the useless catering company you have for concourse they are at best pitiful. Get rid of whoever is in charge at Villa tasked with overseeing them while your at it (there must be someone). I have complained so many times flat beer, portion control, hygiene standards, lack of properly trained staff. The agency staff they employ mostly go at the speed of zombies and have little to no interest in quality of service. I am a retired catering and food industry professional with over 40 years experience, and frankly I am disgusted with the lack of interest Villa pay in the bulk of the fans.

    It never changes when I complain I just get fobbed off with a company line.
    I no longer spend money at the Villa I will not pay for poor service, and poor, overpriced deep fried food, and drink.
    Just there to see the boys now!

  8. How can you have a season ticket waiting list of over 20000 and then say the ground is not selling out. It feels like mr heck is making it up as he goes along. I would be particularly disappointed if our fabulous owners allow this short sightedness.

    • Waiting list is supposedly 37,000, but it isn’t very active in terms of the number of fans that have visited Villa Park in the past five years.

  9. The northstand is very old and outdated and needs redevelopment it was built in 1977 43 years old and the comments about how it won’t be done because villa Park doesn’t sell out is wrong I’m a club membership holder and regular visitor to villa Park in the league and European games and we always have 42000 week in week out I honestly think that with potential champions league qualifying this is the reason why it won’t be done Chris heck is just thinking of the money
    Rikki Hill

  10. How on earth is there an average of 200 seats unsold I’ve tried plenty of time last to get two tickets for prem games to find them sold out average 2 weeks before the game only only managed to get season ticket returns so I’d love mr heck to explain this. To not redevelop the north stand is stupid it’s was built in the 70s and gain 2-3000 seats by rearranging seats confused there.

  11. Some of the recent changes are very difficult to protest against.

    We all want to watch Villa. So we are not going to give up our season tickets against the price increases and if you haven’t got a season ticket and you’ve got the cash – you’re going to pay over the top prices for poor mans hospitality to get to watch the game.

    The crest, however, is very easy to protest against. Unless you’re a child, there’s no reason you have to have the new season’s replica shirt. If you want Villa merchandise, there’s a whole raft of stuff on offer without the crest.

    So all we have to do is make it clear that we will boycott purchasing next season’s replica kit , training kit, leisurewear etc etc with the new crest on it.

    NSWE are smart men. They trusted Purslow and his appointment Gerrard until it became clear they had f***ed up and then they were gone. When Heck starts costing them money (and he already has but he’s probably blamed Purslow to date), he won’t stay long.

    I don’t particularly like the current crest – it’s always been wishy washy – but I’m not that passionate about it either way. However, it’s clear that the traditional supporters views are of no consequence and if we don’t stand up soon we will lose the Aston Villa we have all grown up with.

    NSWE are the best owners we have ever had (although Lerner was better off the field until he lost his wealth). They made a mistake with Gerrard and they have made a mistake with Heck.

    As fans, we now need to make them see it in as visible a way as possible.

  12. Heck needs to go….the new stand needs building ASAP….
    Don’t trust the man..
    The crest we have now is perfect and needs to stay….

  13. There is a particular kind of Yank that always knows best, especially where silly little non-Yanks are concerned.

  14. The North Stand, as many of you will be aware, opened in the late 1970s, so, as you can imagine nearly half a century later, it’s no longer fit for purpose! The concourses, especially as kick-off time approaches and at half-time, for example, are overcrowded. The purchasing of food and drink at such times is nigh damn impossible! Queues for the loos is another concern, because there just isn’t enough of them, especially for women, who are forced to queue for many a minute before gaining access! And, of course, the North Stand is definitely not disabled friendly with no wheelchair seating or accessible toilets, for example. I could go on and on and on, but I trust you get the picture! So, with that in mind, either a major refurbishment or rebuild is called for! That is obvious to anyone! It was obvious to Mr. Purslow but, sadly, not to Chris – “what the” – Heck! It’s such a shame that whilst there has been a great coming together between the players and fans, Chris Heck seems intent on creating a chasm between the fans and the boardroom! And, whenever you have disunity in any organisation, we all know where that leads to! And it ain’t success!

  15. If the club had the right pricing structure for the new stand, it would sell out. Also for me, if the club went back to the badge from the 80’s, our retail sales would go through the roof. Heck doesn’t seem to understand the average Villa fan and i have a friend who paid £500 for the lower grounds to get unlimited pic and mix and poor seats in A1 upper trinity. Club going backwards off the pitch and it needs addressing ASAP. As someone else mentioned, the games haven’t sold out recently because the empty seats are the ones reserved for lower grounds. Utter joke. Heck off.

  16. I always try to get behind everyone at the club, through the good times and the bad. But Chris Heck is making so many own-goals. Putting the North Stand redevelopment on hold is a crazy decision. We’ve been promised it for decades and it’s holding the stadium back. Yes, attendances will naturally drop during any redevelopment, given the ambition and success of the club at present and in the future, its an insane decision. Take a temporary hit for an obvious long term gain.

  17. As a season ticket holder in the lower North stand I have endured significant price rises in recent years on the premise it was helping to fund redevelopment. The facilities and concessions are woeful. As a STH i think it would have been courteous to have been advised directly by the club what is happening rather than on social media.

  18. It appears that Chris Heck has put a stop to anything, pre Heck as his name won’t be on it. His higher seat prices has caused the attendance fall off. Get rid of Heck,reduce the seat prices and push forward with the original north stand and you’ll fill the ground

  19. Chris Heck needs to get on the first flight back to America, the bloke is a joke, how can he make decisions about the stadium redevelopment. When would be a good time? It needs to be done, and the owners should not let this clown dictate.

  20. Pushing yet another new badge through when it has not met the approval of the majority of fans is disgusting. I thought the round badge was the result of a supporters survey… and yet the club still don’t want to get behind it.

    Don’t like the way this is heading and a “ new executive” from the states … does not have the right to tell us what he has decided.

  21. The North stand needs rebuilding, anything else is short sighted and cost cutting. CH needs to clearly explain any new strategies and take the fans with him if possible but for the club to promise and not deliver is poor form.

  22. Chris Heck is seriously mis-firing in his role here, in stark contrast with the playing and ownership side of the club. None of the changes that have been made (LG, TV, badge, redevelopment etc) have had any meaningful fan involvement and it’s concerning that FAB are as in the dark about changes as the rest of us paying punters; these failings are all fully or in-part at Chris Heck’s door and refusing to be open and transparent with fans (with a patronising “the professionals know best” attitude) is unacceptable.

    The excuse that VP’s failing to sell out as justification not to upgrade the stadium is laughable; if VP is failing to sell out then increase the number of Season Tickets by the average number of empty seats.

  23. I have tried to buy tickets online for mutilple games (Hibs and Arsenal) this season that the website has said was sold out. I would love to know why I have been unable to buy one of the average 200 tickets unsold. Are they in the corporate-lite Lower Grounds and Terrace View areas? If not, why were these games shown as sold out?

  24. Time for Chris Heck to go back where he came from and anybody else on that board that is aligned with him. Six months of silence to the masses followed by deliberate vague self serving claptrap and more disturbingly thinks he knows better to force his unwanted poorly thought out abject ideas onto everyone. Absolute charlatan of the highest order.

  25. its sad that at no point in 2023 did anyone mention the 150th anniversary next NOvember, a chance to celebrate a unique event in the history of a unique club

    do fans not know? The walsall arboretum will celebrate 150 years next spring, why not villa in the autumn? Surely walsall cannot care more than villa?

    Trevor Fisher

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