Cometh the Halloumi Wrap
A constant bugbear raised at the Villa Fan Consultation Group meetings since they began over three years ago, is the lack of drink and food choices beyond the basic lager and chips & pie combo at Villa Park.
While those in Villa’s various hospitality suites get served up with decent culinary options, surely it’s not too much of an ask to lift the levels of choice for the normal match-going fan? Of course, it’s not an issue exclusive to Villa Park, football stadiums across the country on the whole seem to be lesser served than their rugby or cricket counterparts.
The good news is there seems to have been some progress by Villa on the eve of the first home game of the 2019/20 season.
Cometh the Premier League, cometh the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding Cobs, the Sweet Potato Balti and the Halloumi Wraps.
I was going to joke, when it came to offering up alternatives to the bog standard chips, pies and sausages, it’s not as if we’re asking for halloumi wraps, but, yes, you can now actually buy them at Villa Park in the Lower Doug Ellis stand at the Chicken Shack stand.
The Chick Shack will be one of three new kiosks on concourses, joining both Guru Spice and Roast. If the trial is successful, the club states on their website, there is the potential of expanding them into more areas of the ground in the future.
For a more detailed map of what’s available near your seat and in which stand, click here.
It’s a welcome move by the club to offer more choice and there is an obvious potential commercial benefit to be had too.
To be honest, MOMS doesn’t normally come to Villa Park for a culinary experience, but beer is of interest. Obviously, football and beer are synonymous with each other, despite the fact in the UK you are faced with the crazy situation where you’re not allowed to drink a beer within view of the pitch.
Football stadiums have increasingly been homogenised with big brands such as Carling and Heineken, while the outside world offers up a lot more variety and quality in terms of getting a pint in.
Thankfully, Villa have teamed up with Purity offering up the club with potentially one of its best signings of the summer. The three-year deal will see Purity replace Greene King as the ale supplier at the stadium.
Those with good memories will remember Purity’s Mad Goose won the My Old Man Said Great Villa Beer Off back in 2016, when MOMS held a supporter vote to choose the local brew on offer on the away concourse at Villa’s trip to Brighton’s Amex Stadium.
Now Villans can sample the Midland’s brewer’s delights on home soil at Villa Park.
Purity have commissioned a 4.2% Pale Ale ‘Purity Pale’ that will be available across the concourses, while Pure Gold & Pure UBU will be available on cask in the Holte Suite.
It’s a welcome move by the club, as it ultimately provides visitors to Villa Park with more of a unique local experience.
You only have to look to the likes of Spurs and Arsenal, to see the welcome trend of introducing local brewers into football stadiums.
MOMS checked out the Beavertown microbrewery and taproom setup at Tottenham’s new stadium last weekend in the home end, although the North London brewer was bought out by Heineken a few months ago.
Meanwhile, across North London, Camden Hells and Camden Pale Ale are now served at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, as they are at Wembley Stadium (for MOMS, Villa’s Play-off Final win was powered by Camden Pale Ale).
With Purity’s experience of providing Wasps Rugby and Ricoh Arena, you should now be able to get a decent pint at Villa Park.