Tony Xia Hints at Plans for Two Safe Standing Sections in the Holte End

Holte End Safe Standing

Three years ago a survey on safe standing conducted by the Aston Villa Supporter Trust found that of the 1000+ match-going Aston Villa supporters that were polled, 97% supported safe standing.

Similarly, a total of 97% of Villa supporters polled in a My Old Man Said survey stated there needed to be improvements in the atmosphere at Villa Park. Only 3% said the Villa Park atmosphere was fine as it is.

After MOMS had witnessed the safe standing trial at Celtic Park in action earlier this season, after taking in Celtic’s Champions League game against the Lincoln Red Imps, it was clear to see that such a section at Villa Park could seriously help with improving atmosphere.

The club under the Lerner administration had plans originally drawn up for a small Safe Standing trial in L9 section of the Holte End, a small cheese wedge like area in the corner under the scoreboard.

Progress slowed on a national level on the issue in recent years, mainly due to campaigners being sensitive to the Hillsborough inquests (although Safe Standing doesn’t have fences or any of the risks that the Leppings Lane terrace did).

With justice finally won for the fallen 96 Liverpool fans, with both the trial in Celtic and also last month’s declaration by the Premier League clubs requesting for the Premier League to investigate Safe Standing in earnest, feeling on the issue has galvanised once again.

Xia’s Plan

The good news from an Aston Villa standpoint is new owner Tony Xia seems very supportive of Safe standing after he declared in an interview with The Times, he has expanded Safe Standing plans at Villa Park to two possible sections in the Holte End.

Xia’s recent meetings with Birmingham City Council members may have included discussion on the subject.

“I pretty much agree we can insert some safe standing,” Xia told The Times. “We might add two standing areas in-between a seating area. That would be interesting.”

Right-side, Left-side

Such a location would more than likely be the wings of the Lower Holte, that have variable occupancy rates, which would first of all lead to a fuller Holte End. That would be the business reason to have it, ticked.

It terms of improving the atmosphere, it could potentially resurrect an old Holte End tradition, and lead to the return of the ‘right side’ and the ‘left side’ of the Holte End. Over the years of the standing Holte, both sides would sing songs back and forth and occasionally challenge each other in the loudness stakes.

The original plan of just having a small wedge of standing in the L9 was more like decoration, but to have two banks of safe standing either side of the Lower Holte would actually make it a more purposeful and useful trial in terms of seeing the potential positive effects on the atmosphere of the Holte and Villa Park, that Safe Standing could bring.


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  1. Safe standing would be brilliant but the other thing that would help with the atmosphere if if they turned off the tannoy music once all the handshakes had taken place between the two teams. It was fun when we sang songs to individual players until kick-off, but now the power belting out from those speakers seems designed to drown that out before it even starts. MOMS, could you ‘ave a word?

    • The pre match build up is geared towards corporate entertainment. The whole boring ritual of players shaking hands is all very business like. The music is generated atmosphere just like at every other ground.

  2. ….Current standing at villa park is an indication of how much capacity would be required for a safe standing section, but there will be people who usually sit who may wish to try out safe standing, then there are people who again sit but may wish to re-live their youth and go back to standing . This article talks about safe standing in the Holte End, but since home supporters have moved into the lower north, we now have vocal Villa support from both ends of the ground. It would be great if the lower north had a safe standing section as well as the holte end, and if you remember the days of the witton end (old north stand) which was a home standing terrace you will know what was like.

  3. Look at the facts thousands stand every week with no intervention or objections from clubs or stewards. So why don’t clubs just manage an official safe standing section. In terms of standing at villa park, the current persistent standing which already exists is a good indication of how much capacity is required for a safe standing area.

  4. It would be great to have a save standing area at each end I went to Dortmund a few weeks ago and the atmosphere given offfrom there standing section was the best I have ever witnessed

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