Below are the club’s minutes/notes from the recent Away Fan Consultation Group meeting. I’ve added additional notes to help add some additional context for supporters, which are clearly marked as ‘additional note from MOMS’.
It was a well attended and productive meeting in the Villa Park board room, obviously a hot topic for Villa supporters to be addressed was the new away season ticket scheme, which the group hadn’t been consulted about before its inception. Judging by supporter’s input that had been fed to the supporter reps present, there were a few things to clear up, which this meeting did make positive steps in doing.
Away Consultation group – Meeting Minutes (Thursday 16thAugust, 6:45pm)
Attendees: Lynne O’Reardon (Head of Villa Ticket Sales), Nathan Thurman (AVFC), Bromley Davenport (AVFC), Stuart Bladen (WM Police), Steve Gough, Anne Edwards, Tom Cole, John Holder, Paul Harris, David Michael (MOMS), Jon Knibb, Lee Preece, Anton Cuscito, Joanne McKibbens, Pauline Bibb
Upcoming Away Game Information
We will be getting 5,000 tickets for the Blackburn Rovers game (6,800 was listed at the meeting), which went on sale on Monday 20thAugust at 5pm. To date all away games with the exception of Sheffield United have gone on general sale, with Sheffield United selling out once it became available to all season ticket holders.
We are likely to receive 2,000 tickets for Millwall.
Birmingham City will most likely remain at 2,100 with a similar number expected for the WBA game. The club will offer the same number of tickets for the Villa Park game as we receive for the away fixtures.
Our away allocations are being affected by fans persistently standing at away games which fans should give consideration to.
Disabled Away Ticketing
The club restrict a number of front row seats for disabled supporters who cannot stand during games. A consistent theme at away games is that some fans are charging towards the front when goals are scored, and there have been instances where disabled supporters have been knocked over during celebrations. This is a big safety issue and fans need to be aware of this at away games.
Disabled supporters have been able to purchase online since the back end of last season and feedback has been extremely positive.
18/19 Away Ticket Subsidy Request
There is nothing in the budget at the moment in terms of a £50k subsidy on away tickets that the club has been able to provide each of the last two seasons, this will be discussed with the incoming CEO once an appointment has been made.
If funds were to be made available, then we would use this would be used as a ticket subsidy as opposed to being used to subsidise travel, as previously agreed by the group.
[Additional note from MOMS: This worked well in the last two seasons and is a more democratic way of distributing the subsidy, plus the group has often chosen which games were best for such reductions – for example Sheffield Wednesday last season]
18/19 Away Season Tickets
A full consultation with this group would have taken place prior to the launch of the scheme but our last meeting of the season was postponed due to a number of fans in the consultation group supporting the under 23’s in the final at the Liberty stadium.
[Additional note from MOMS: It was brought up why since the meeting was postponed, it couldn’t have at least been detailed/sounded out in an email?]
Concerns were raised about supporters picking and choosing their away games, most notably the trips to Blues and Albion. Members of the scheme will not be able to do this unless they have met booking criteria ahead of purchase relating to attendance of a percentage of previous away games as per point seven in the terms and conditions. This is currently thought to be 75% attendance at away league games.
[Additional note from MOMS: Some club reps didn’t seem to realise the confusion there had been amongst supporters regarding the scheme, so MOMS recommended the club write to existing Away Season Ticket members to clear up any misunderstandings – to nip them in the bud. The club agreed to do this.]
Great feedback from supporters about the scheme in terms of ticket delivery and ease of use. Supporters now know when money is going out of their accounts and can choose their own seats, which seems to have proven to be very popular.
There will be no further away season ticket sales this season, as a question was raised (by a MOMS reader) as to whether we would offer a half-year away season ticket.
The main reason for the change from the away scheme to the current away season ticket was that it benefits the club operationally and saves on administration work and cost whilst allowing greater flexibility for supporters in the scheme.
A small number of fans had issues with their seats not matching the tickets they had at Yeovil. This was due to an error on the plans that the club received from Yeovil.
Transaction fees were queried and explained. Currently there is a 50p per ticket charge and a £1 for postage which is per transaction.
Away Game Criteria
There were concerns over the gaps in terms of games attended in relation to booking criteria. Dropping from STH’s with 15+ away games to all season ticket holders was cited as an example.
[MOMS Additional note: Many supporters had complained to us about this]
The club agreed to put in a 10+ or 8+ away game window to recognise those in between. 15 and 0 away games attended.
Additional Fan Questions
[Additional MOMS note: several MOMS supporter questions were asked and some are answered above like the Blues/WBA allocations, possibility of half season away season ticket and extra away criteria category needed.]
There were some supporter questions that were raised that had not been covered in some of the other topics of conversation.
U-16’s on Away Coaches
Would the club look at changing the travel policy on official coaches so that under 16’s can travel without an adult? The club are not going to change this policy at the behest of West Midlands Police
U-3’s at Games
The policy for under 3’s at games was queried. There has been a change in policy at the club which means that under 3’s cannot attend games at Villa Park due to safeguarding issues. Similar policies exist at other clubs and fans need to be aware when purchasing tickets.
Away Wheelchairs at Villa Park
Currently Wheelchair users who support the away team at Villa Park sit in a home section, can they be moved? Not possible for us to do and if was it would have been done already. Always on club agenda and will be looked at going forward. Promotion to Premier League would mean we would have one season to comply with regulation of 210 wheelchair places, so plan would have to be put in place.
Villa Stewards at Away Games
Can we send AV stewards to away games? This will be looked into moving forward.
Check out all the notes/minutes from previous Villa Fan Consultation Group meetings