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Official Review by Stephan Hoogerwaard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Villa Park is the home of English football club Aston Villa, one of the twelve founders of the English Premier League. Their stadium, Villa Park, was established in 1897 and was given the official name Aston Lower Grounds. The current capacity of this all-seater stadium is 42,682.
The highest attendance ever at Villa Park was recorded on the 2nd of March 1946 in an FA Cup 6th round match against Derby County. That day, 76,588 spectators passed through the turnstiles. At that time, like most of the British grounds, Villa Park had large terraces and few seats.
Since the late 1970's the stadium was completely rebuilt and finalized more 20 years later. Each stand has their own design, the old brick facade of the former Holte End remained untouched during the rebuilding, and the impressive staircase and its old façade are unique features of the ground. Villa Park is definitely one of the more interesting grounds in the Premier League.
The Holte End is by far the most impressive stand of the ground. This huge two tiered stand was opened in the 1994-1995 season and has a capacity of 13,472 seated supporters. The other stands of the ground are the North Stand, the Doug Ellis Stand and the Trinity Road Stand. The Trinity Road Stand was opened in 2001 and is the only three-tiered stand of the ground. The away supporters are located in a corner of the Doug Ellis Stand close to the North Stand. Just under 3,000 fans can be accommodated in this section.
Some historical events have occurred at Villa Park. It hosted three matches during the World Cup in 1966. Villa Park also hosted four matches during the EURO 1996 Championships. The stadium hosted the last ever final of the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1999, and all told has hosted 55 FA Cup semi-finals.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are plenty of stalls (outside) and counters (inside) the ground where you can obtain your food or drinks. Inside the grounds you pay for a really good cheeseburger £3.50, and all kinds of pies costs £3.30, while hot dogs are priced at £2.60.
When you are really hungry you can buy a traditional fish & chips (£6.50) which is served with vinegar or mashed peas. There are wide screen televisions on the concourse broadcasting the match. So you won't miss any of the action if you get up for a bite to eat.
For a groundhopper like me, Villa Park was on my bucket list for a long time. Villa Park is a true British traditional football ground where every stand is different, stands alone and has is its own character. The Holte End still has its original brick facade. No other British stadium can top the authenticity of the Aston Villa stadium, though the stadiums of Tottenham Hotspur and Everton come close.
Villa Park is located approximately 2.5 miles from the city centre towards the north part of the city of Birmingham. Villa Park is located close to Aston Park. In this part of the city you will find many cultural influences. You will find many multicultural shops. You will find loads of Pakistani and Indian restaurants, Jamaican hairdressers and all kinds of other small businesses.
On the road towards the stadium (Witton Lane) is the Aston Hotel. This hotel dates back from the time the stadium was built, and the hotel has the same facade as the stadium making it one with its surrounding.
The Aston Villa fans are very colourful people in many ways. When they go to match days most of them are dressed up in their claret and blue shirts. During the match they support their team for the full 100 percent. The noise which rolls down from the Holte End will give you goose bumps.
Overall the stadium is easily accessible for fans of most clubs in the country. It is situated close to the motorway (M6), Birmingham is situated in the Midlands in the heart of the country. On the M6 take exit 6 and follow the signs for the A38 and follow the signs to Villa Park. Parking can be a problem as the area around the stadium is designated as street parking for residents only. The Witton train station is within walking distance of the ground so fans would be advised to take public transport if possible to Villa Park.
A category scheme for ticket prices is in operation (A B & C), with the most popular games costing more to watch. The ticket prices for an A category match vary from £31 to £45 and for a C category match from £25 to £37. Very reasonable prices if you compare them with other Premier League clubs in the country and especially in London. So not only the ticket prices, but also the food prices are very affordable at Villa Park. Along with a great atmosphere inside the ground you will get good value for money.
Aston Villa offers guided tours on Wednesdays, Fridays and some Sundays (not on matchdays). The cost for the tour is £12.95 for adults and £7.95 for under 16's. The Villa Park tour is great, it's a must for all football fans. Our tour lasted 2 hours and was really interesting. On the perimeter of the ground you will find the Villa Store where you can buy almost everything in claret and blue.
When you spend a weekend in Birmingham there is always something to do. If you stay just for the football, then try to combine your stay with some other matches. Besides Aston Villa there are two more League clubs playing in Birmingham, there are City and Wallsall. In the neighbouring cities of Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Leicester you will find some League football teams as well.
Member Review by Anluanhennigan
Villa Park is home to one of English football's great institutions. Aston Villa were present at the genesis of the modern game in England as a founder of the Football League which has now evolved into the Premier League you see today.
Villa Park is intoxicated by history. Seven league championships and the 1982 European Cup have entered its doors. As far back as 1966, it was hosting World Cup matches in the midst of England's lone triumph. A statue of William McGregor (pictured above), creator of the Football League, graces the gates. Even the musical talents of Bruce Springsteen, Barry White and Duran Duran have played here. Well, two out of three isn't bad.
Nor are Aston Villa resting on their history. Plans were mooted last year for a redevelopment of the North Stand within the next four years. This would bring the stadium's capacity to 50,000, placing it in the top bracket of Premier League stadia.
The club may hold particular interest for fans of the NFL Cleveland Browns as they are owned by the same man - Randy Lerner. He has proved to be an antithesis to the stereotypical foreign owner. Much emphasis has been placed on community values and his commitment to drive his own money into the club has provided a stark contrast with the Glazers' mistreatment of Manchester United.
Member Review by FuriousShepherd on Jan 24, 2012
My trip to Villa Park was very special. We had VIP tickets that got us access to the locker rooms, dinner before the game, drinks at the intermission and at the end of the game. This was a Monday night game and we also got to see player interviews with some of the team's past stars. I even won a football signed by all of Aston Villa's players. Amazing visit but I grant that it may not be typical.
Member Review by pryce11 on Mar 24, 2014
Great looking stadium and good atmosphere. not the best area as quite far from the centre although can quite easily get a train from the centre.
Birmingham, England B6 6HE
0800 612 0940
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