It’s less than two weeks to the do-or-die second leg of the League Cup semi-final vs Bradford City, when Villa will attempt to turn around a 3-1 deficit against the League Two team. Today it was announced that Bradford had sold out its 6,500 allocation. Tickets for the home fans are now on general sale (following season ticket and booking history allocation), but there seems to be a way to go to get Villa Park over the 40,000 mark (see diagram above)- the kind of attendance fitting for a semi-final.
Aston Villa’s post-1970 League Cup Villa Park Semi-Finals
1970/71 Manchester United – 62,500
1975 Chester – 47,632
1977 QPR – 48,429
1984 Everton – 42,426
1986 Oxford United – 23,098
1994 Tranmere Rovers – 40,593
1996 Arsenal – 39,334
2000 Leicester – 28,037
2004 Bolton Wanderers – 36,883
2010 Blackburn – 40,406
While the lower league nature of Bradford City might have put a few punters off buying a ticket so far, the Bantams fully justified their semi-final place with a convincing win at Valley Parade in the first leg. As the list above shows, this isn’t the first time Villa have faced lower league opposition at the semi-final stage. If you were at the Tranmere Rovers match like myself, you’ll know you witnessed one of the truly great games for drama in Villa history. The Chester game in 1975 too was a tight epic – Villa won 5-4 over the two legs.
The dark side (Lower North Stand) is sold out though and those Villa fans will be very much on the front line, sandwiched between Bradford City fans to their left in the Doug Ellis and also above them in the Upper North. They’ll have a key role to play in responding to the away supporter’s noise.
The Holte End will no doubt come good in terms of selling seats; the Lower Holte has mainly single seats left, although there’s still a bit to go to fill the wings of the Upper Holte. What is more worrying from a home atmosphere point of view is that both the Trinity Road stand and Doug Ellis stand have blocks of seats still available.
Villa ticket sales will certainly receive a boost if the team ups their game in the league before the semi, with the Saints at Villa Park and the derby at the Hawthorns to come.
There’s a big difference between Villa Park having an attendance of 35,000 compared to it being over the 40,000 mark. Remember, Bradford will be bringing 6,500 loud fans. In a games like this and trailing 3-1, we’ll need a full house to roar the team on and hopefully turn it into a vintage Villa Park night.
UPDATE – The Holte End is pretty much sold out! UTV
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