When it comes to visiting Villa Park, one bugbear of many Aston Villa supporters has been the terrible quality of the tannoy/PA system at the stadium. Tinny, screechy, loud, it’s dated technology from another age and should have been upgraded an age ago.
When your ears aren’t bleeding, you can’t understand a word that’s been said, which ultimately makes it something of a heath and safety risk too.
Since the evolution of the Villa Fans Consultation Group almost three years ago, we’ve put upgrading the stadium’s tannoy on the agenda a couple of times before. The need to upgrade to be fair, is something that all Villa staff agree on.
As mentioned at the FCG meeting in June Wyness agreed that the stadium was in desperate need of a PA & sound system overhaul, although due to costs, it was very much on the long-term agenda (i.e. wait until we’re promoted and have access to TV rights money).
It was the tribute to Doug Ellis at Villa Park before the Swansea City match that seemed to refocus the matter for everyone.
MOMS was in the Upper Holte for the visit of the Swans and couldn’t make out one word of what was being said during the Ellis tribute. I remarked to someone sitting next to me that the tannoy would be useless if Villa Park needed to be evacuated in an emergency.
The issue was put back on the latest FCG agenda for the first meeting with the new Villa CEO.
What soon became apparent at the latest FCG meeting was that Christian Purslow was having pretty much the same thoughts. After telling supporters at the meeting that the club had gone to lengths to honour Ellis properly, he was disappointed not to be able to hear a word of it, even though he was sitting in close proximity of the announcer and his microphone.
The safety aspect also crossed his mind and the potential danger it could cause for supporters at a game, if there was an emergency and directions needed to be relayed to fans in the ground.
Positive action is afoot though.
As today’s FCG meeting notes stated:
Mr Purslow confirmed he had authorised a very significant capital spend in order to upgrade the sound system in the stadium. As he as well as everyone else at Villa Park accepts the current infrastructure is not fit for purpose.
Purslow had told the members of the FCG group to judge him on his actions as opposed to his words, so it was a good sign to see the first of several needed ground improvements actually happening.
The full notes for the latest Fans Consultation Group can be found here.