Last week, the evening before the official kit launch, MOMS went to Bodymoor Heath for a ‘train like a pro’ event put on by Aston Villa and the new kit sponsor Under Armour (more of that in another post).
As well as listening to Under Armour’s marketing presentation, being put through our paces on the astro pitch with the prowler and finishing up with a seven-a-side match (which the side MOMS was on, won 5-0 – it’s the winning that counts, not the taking part!), it was a chance to have a chat with some of Villa’s marketing staff. With the recent overhaul of staff at the club in the past year, some of the guys have only been in place a matter of months.
As well as discussing the necessity of the club having a more organic and empathetic approach to engagement with supporters, one interesting bit of info one of the marketing staff mentioned was Roberto Di Matteo’s instruction to give some of the facilities of the club an image revamp to give a better impression to players – especially potential transfer targets who are having a look around Villa’s facilities for the first time.
Bodymoor Heath Facelift
The Villa boss had especially pinpointed the reception area at Bodymoor Heath, which at the moment can best be described as very functional.
You may have noticed the club running a supporter vote on social media to select classic Villa-related images to be displayed in the foyer of Bodymoor Heath. That’s very much triggered by Di Matteo’s wishes. He’s very much identified the importance of first impressions, especially when it comes to overseas players coming to look around, when they may not be up to speed on Villa’s heritage.
You only have to consider the entrances at club’s like Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City to see a massive difference. In comparison, Villa haven’t even entered the 21st Century yet, with the face of the North Stand the first sight most visitors see. Have you been to the North Stand reception? It’s a little like the entrance of a 1970’s working man’s club.
Of course, the North Stand and its facilities need knocking down and rebuilding, but in the meantime, a bit of aesthetic surgery would help to lift the mood a bit.
Under Randy Lerner there was initially a focus on revamping the hospitality and catering of Villa Park, which certainly now looks the part. But of course, it counts for nothing, if it can’t attract the cliental due to spiraling fortunes on the pitch.
The recent sprucing up of the players tunnel though was an identification that Lerner’s administration had switched on to the need to look the part in going about its business. I’m sure that tunnel with the European Cup on display helped persuade the likes of Jordan Amavi and Jordan Veretout to come to Villa over other clubs. It’s just a shame it hasn’t inspired better home form…yet.
Di Matteo has identified an issue to help a Championship club attract better players and of course, part of Villa’s promotion push should be to look the part when we DO return to the Premier League.
To become a free MOMS E-member to receive our occasional email letter with extra information, insights & competitions, fill in the box at the bottom of the website.