Last week there was an Away Fan Consultation Group meeting at Villa Park. While it was a little odd that it was arranged when the majority of normal attendees couldn’t attend (including MOMS), it covered off several issues that were worth discussing before the Christmas period, that can be taken up again in the new year.
Please find the notes from the meeting below…
Away Consultation Group Meeting Notes – Wednesday 12thDecember 2018
Attendees:Lynne O’Reardon (AVFC), Nathan Thurman (AVFC), Anne Edwards, Joanne McKibbens, Jonathan Knibb
Apologies:Anthony Willis, Anton Cuscito, David Michael (MOMS), John Holder, John Perks, Steve Gough, Thomas Cole, Lee Preece (AVFC), PC Stuart Bladen (Police)
Upcoming away game information
- Swansea sold out 2057 – No further allocation unfortunately
- Preston North End – Sold 1,868 of 3,822 – Can have up to 5.5k if required
- Wigan Athletic – On sale from Monday 17thDecember – Initial 3k sent to us we but can have up to 4.6k if required.
- Prices – £25 Adults, £15 O65, £10 U18, £5 U11, £2 U5
- Reading – 2,219 – Maximum allocation – Reduced from previous seasons due extending home seating area
- Prices – £20 Adults, £13 O65, £10 18-24, £5 U18, £4 U13 (£5 increase for non-members adults and £3 for concessions)
- The club will look at tightening up the sales criteria to ensure fairness for sales
- Brentford – 1,650 – Subject to confirmation and we are awaiting prices
- Swansea City – Potential FA Cup replay – Schedules for Tuesday 15thJanuary 2018 – On sale information ready to go.
Paul Tyrell – Chief Corporate Affairs Officer
Paul came to say hi and introduce himself to the group. He talked about how valuable groups like this are and that if there are any ideas on how we can look at rewarding away fans (ticket subsidy) during the remaining part of this season.
AST Membership Scheme – Will it operate in the same way next season?
At this stage in the season the club is not sure, however we will of course visit this subject at the end of the season and gather feedback from supporters which we will look at. Supporters will have the right to renew their membership. We may also look to adopt some additional criteria and tighten up terms and conditions to ensure only fans who intend to use the scheme join up.
We have received good feedback on how the membership has worked operationally with the flexibility of purchasing tickets, choosing seats and the new collection and dispatch notifications (an idea that came from Thomas Cole)
We will look to communicate renewal information in June 2019 ahead of the new season.
The club was asked about numbers in the AST Membership and while we are not able to confirm numbers, the club have ensured that we have enough tickets to extend beyond AST’s for those limited allocation away matches.
Crowd Surging at away games
It has been noted that there appears to be a lot of ‘crowd surging’ at away games which when it happens has the potential to see someone getting injured.
We have had an incident Vs Birmingham City at home where this has happened in the Lower North Stand (MOMS has seen the footage of this), which has led us to increasing stewarding in the area to help combat this.
PC Bladen is aware of this happening and we will seek a response from him to confirm future plans to help with this. The club are communicating a message to fans via the website to advise supporters to celebrate safely.
All supporters have to be mindful that this behaviour could potentially affect future ticket allocations.
Away Tickets – General
There are some concerns that supporters purchasing tickets are passing/selling them onto to other supporters and also buying the wrong concessionary priced tickets to pass on to other fans.
The club actively looks at who buys each ticket for every away game to ensure supporters can only purchase the price the applies to the supporter.
However, what we cannot control completely are these tickets then being passed on after being purchased correctly in the first instance.
For any instances that we notice and for those that are brought to our attention, we will of course take necessary action against supporters.
We will remind supporter through the on-sale information and social media that away tickets are strictly for personal use, non-transferable and not to be sold to any other supporter.
Are we likely to ask for bigger away allocations between now and the end of the season?
Where there is demand, the club will always actively seek to request as many tickets as possible for every away match to ensure more fans can attend. This is a standard process.
WBA Away – Train issues
Why were the villa fans not allowed back on the trains from the Hawthorns till nearly 11pm making a lot of fans miss connections?
While PC Bladen was not at the meeting, he did mention to Nathan that he was aware of a few issues at the station that was being managed by the British Transport Police and Network Rail.
There were a few staffing issues which did not help the situation, and this is something that will be looked at ahead of any further matches.
Jon Knibb mentioned about possible idea for future matches where one set of fans uses the metro and others the train. Feedback to be provided to PC Bladen.
Norwich Away Feedback
We have a had a Norwich supporter write to the club to express their gratitude to our supporters for observing the minutes applause at the away match in October.
This was to remember his step son, Bradley Raper, who tragically lost his life in a road accident at the age of 24.
He went on to say ‘Please could you pass on our heatfelt thanks to all your wonderful supporters to attended the recent match’. ‘I am sorry you didn’t get the result on the evening, but I wish you all well for the rest of the season. Aston Villa is a great club and I am sure you will be back in the Premier League sooner rather than later.’
Brentford – Seating / Standing
Jon Knibb talked about supporters who purchase in the seated area at Brentford only to stand for the whole game.
Last season, he said there was an instance where a couple of supporters refused to sit down, and they had purchased in the seated area on the front row. The club said that we will remind supporters at point of purchase.
Prize where it lies – Half-time Game
It was asked whether for the half time game ‘prize where it lies’ supporters can have 2 shots instead of one, as it is increasingly frustrating to watch people fail. Agreed that we would pass this feedback onto the organisers within the club.
We will look to arrange another meeting early in February 2019.