Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel cricket team in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham. It is said that they "met in 1874 under a gas-light in Heathfield Road" to set about forming a new club. They were looking for something to keep them occupied during the winter. The club's official history states that they chose football after witnessing an "impromptu game on a meadow off Heathfield Road". The four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood.
Their first match was played against the local Aston Brook St Mary's Rugby team on Wilson Road, Aston. As a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under rugby rules, and the second half under football rules. The game was a scoreless draw at half time but Jack Hughes scored a goal in the second half to ensure that Villa won their first ever game. Villa moved to their first official home, Wellington Road in Perry Barr, in 1876 after their captain, George Ramsay, noted that in order to progress, Villa would need to move into an enclosed ground to be able to collect gate money. The site was taken on a three-year lease at a rent of £7, 10 shillings for the first year, rising to £15 and £20 in subsequent years. By the late 1870s, Villa were improving greatly and by 1880, Villa won their first senior honour when they won the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1880, under the captaincy of Scotsman George Ramsay.
The club won its first FA Cup in 1887, under the captaincy of another Scotsman, Archie Hunter. They beat West Bromwich Albion 2–0 in the final held at The Oval. Up until 1885, football had remained an amateur sport. It turned professional in 1885, when the FA legalized professional football, but with a national wage limit. However, the Scottish draper and director of Aston Villa, William McGregor had become frustrated with watching his team in one-sided friendly matches and low attendances for all games but FA Cup ties.
He saw that in order to keep interest in the game alive, the top teams needed to play each other in a league much like American baseball teams did. McGregor wrote to the twelve leading clubs in England proposing the formation of a league, what would later be known as the English Football League. Aston Villa were one of the dozen teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888. Villa's first League game came on 8 September 1888, when they drew 1–1 Wolverhampton Wanderers as Tom Green scored the club's first League goal. Villa finished runners-up to Preston North End in that inaugural season.
It did not take long for Villa to lift their first League Championship trophy in 1893–94. Villa were soon attracting large crowds; the club could regularly expect 25,000 people to attend home games. This was at a time when the FA Cup Final would attract only about 20,000.
With poor spectator facilities and an uneven pitch, the Wellington Road ground was increasingly unsuitable, and in 1897 Villa's financial secretary Frederick Rinder negotiated the purchase of their current home ground, the Aston Lower Grounds. In the 1899–1900 season Billy Garraty became the top goalscorer in world football scoring 27 goals in just 33 league games and a total 30 goals in 39 league and cup games. The name of Villa Park was not used until about 1900. It came about through fan usage and no official declaration was made that listed the name as Villa Park. The ground was not purchased outright until 1911.
Villa began the 20th century as champions but the gap that distinguished them from their competitors was diminishing. Football in England was becoming more competitive as more teams formed. Villa did remain a significant force in the game though. Despite a run of four victories at the start of the 1900–01 season, Villa finished fourth from bottom. In the 1902–03 season Villa won 12 of their last 15 games to finish only one point behind champions Sheffield Wednesday. In 1905, Villa won the FA Cup with a then record crowd of 101,117 watching the match at Crystal Palace, where Villa beat Newcastle United 2–0. In the same season, Villa finished fourth and this helped to boost the coffers at the club.
After the success of 1905, Villa went through a barren patch and it was not until the 1909–10 season that Villa threatened to regain the title. In that season, they beat the reigning champions Manchester United 7–1. Villa won the championship for the first time in 10 years to take a then record, sixth title. The 1910–11 season was very close and the title was decided on the last day of the season when Villa lost to Liverpool and Manchester United beat Sunderland to take the title. The following season, Villa finished sixth. Yet in 1913, Villa won the FA Cup for a then record-equalling fifth time. By the end of what was to be called Villa's golden era, when the First World War began, the club had won the League Championship six times and the FA Cup five times. This included the League and Cup Double in 1896–97, a feat which would not be repeated for more than 60 years.
Aston Villa won their sixth FA Cup in 1920, soon after though the club began a slow decline that led to Villa, at the time one of the most famous and successful clubs in world football, being relegated in 1936 for the first time to the Second Division. This was largely the result of a dismal defensive record: they conceded 110 goals in 42 games, 7 of them coming from Arsenal's Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park.
Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, and that conflict brought several careers to a premature end. The team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. Aston Villa's first trophy for 37 years came in the 1956–57 season when another former Villa player, Eric Houghton led the club to a then record seventh FA Cup Final win, defeating the 'Busby Babes' of Manchester United in the final. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in large part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions. The following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup.
Mercer's forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil. The most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967. The following season the fans called for the board to resign as Villa finished 16th in the Second Division. With mounting debts and Villa lying at the bottom of Division Two, the board sacked Tommy Cummings (the manager brought in to replace Taylor), and within weeks the entire board resigned under overwhelming pressure from fans.
After much speculation, control of the club was bought by London financier Pat Matthews, who also brought in Doug Ellis as chairman. However, new ownership could not prevent Villa being relegated to the Third Division for the first time at the end of the 1969–70 season. However, Villa gradually began to recover under the management of former club captain Vic Crowe. In the 1971–72 season they returned to the Second Division as Champions with a record 70 points. In 1974, Ron Saunders was appointed manager. His brand of no-nonsense man-management proved effective, with the club winning the League Cup the following season and, at the end of season 1974–75, he had taken them back into the First Division and into Europe.
Villa were back among the elite as Saunders continued to mould a winning team. This culminated in a seventh top-flight league title in 1980–81. To the surprise of commentators and fans, Saunders quit halfway through the 1981–82 season, after falling out with the chairman, with Villa in the quarter final of the European Cup. He was replaced by his softly-spoken assistant manager Tony Barton who guided the club to a 1–0 victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in Rotterdam courtesy of a Peter Withe goal.
The following season Villa were crowned European Super Cup winners, beating Barcelona in the final. This marked a pinnacle though and Villa's fortunes declined sharply for most of the 1980s, culminating in relegation in 1987. This was followed by promotion the following year under Graham Taylor and a runners-up position in the First Division in the 1989–90 season.
Villa were one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992, and finished runners-up to Manchester United in the inaugural season. For the rest of the Nineties however Villa went through three different managers and their league positions were inconsistent, although they did win two League Cups and regularly achieved UEFA Cup qualification. Villa reached the FA Cup final in 2000 but lost 1–0 to Chelsea in the last game to be played at the old Wembley Stadium. Again Villa's league position continued to fluctuate under several different managers and things came to a head in the summer of 2006 when David O'Leary left in acrimony. After 23 years as chairman and single biggest shareholder (approximately 38%), Doug Ellis finally decided to sell his stake in Aston Villa due to ill-health. After much speculation it was announced the club was to be bought by American businessman Randy Lerner, owner of NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns.
The arrival of a new owner in Lerner and of manager Martin O'Neill marked the start of a new period of optimism at Villa Park and sweeping changes occurred throughout the club including a new badge, a new kit sponsor and team changes in the summer of 2007. The first Cup final of the Lerner era came in 2010 when Villa were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup Final. Villa made a second trip to Wembley in that season losing 3–0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinal. Just five days before the opening day of the 2010–11 season, O'Neill resigned as manager, and after one year with Gérard Houllier in charge, Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish was appointed, despite numerous protests from fans; this was the first time that a manager had moved directly between the two rivals. McLeish's contract was terminated at the end of the 2011–12 season after Villa finished in 16th place, and he was replaced by Paul Lambert.
In February 2012, the club announced a financial loss of £53.9 million, and Lerner put the club up for sale three months later, with an estimated value of £200 million. With Lerner still on board, in the 2014–15 season Aston Villa scored just 12 goals in 25 league games, the lowest in Premier League history, and Lambert was sacked in February 2015. Tim Sherwood succeeded him, and steered the club away from relegation while also leading them to the 2015 FA Cup Final, but he was sacked in the 2015–16 season, as was his successor Rémi Garde, in a campaign ending with Villa relegated for the first time since 1987.
In June 2016, Chinese businessman Tony Xia bought the club for £76 million. Roberto Di Matteo was appointed as the club's new manager before the new season, and was sacked after 12 games, to be replaced by former Birmingham manager Steve Bruce. In October 2018, Bruce was sacked after winning only one of the past nine matches. He was replaced by Brentford manager Dean Smith. John Terry became assistant manager.
The club colours are a claret shirt with sky blue sleeves, white shorts with claret and blue trim, and sky blue socks with claret and white trim. They were the original wearers of the claret and blue. Villa's colours at the outset generally comprised plain shirts (white, grey or a shade of blue), with either white or black shorts. For a few years after that (1877–79) the team wore several different kits from all white, blue and black, red and blue to plain green. By 1880, black jerseys with a red lion embroidered on the chest were introduced by William McGregor. This remained the first choice strip for six years. On Monday, 8 November 1886, an entry in the club's official minute book states:
A new badge was revealed in May 2007, for the 2007–08 season and beyond. The new badge includes a star to represent the European Cup win in 1982, and has a light blue background behind Villa's 'lion rampant'. The traditional motto "Prepared" remains in the badge, and the name Aston Villa has been shortened to AVFC, FC having been omitted from the previous badge. The lion is now unified as opposed to fragmented lions of the past. Randy Lerner petitioned fans to help with the design of the new badge.
On 6 April 2016, the club confirmed that it would be using a new badge from the 2016–17 season after consulting fan groups for suggestions. The lion in the new badge has claws added to it, and the word "Prepared" was removed to increase the size of the lion and club initials in the badge.
The Aston Lower Grounds, later renamed Villa Park, was not the first home of Aston Villa F.C. Their previous venue, Wellington Road, faced increasing problems including an uneven pitch, poor spectator facilities, a lack of access and exorbitant rents. As a result, in 1894 Villa's committee began negotiations with the owners of the Aston Lower Grounds, "the finest sports ground in the district."
Situated in the former grounds of Aston Hall, a Jacobean stately home, the Lower Grounds had seen varied uses over the years. Originally the kitchen garden of Aston Hall's owner Sir Thomas Holte, after whom the Holte End stand was named, it later became a Victorian amusement park with an aquarium and a great hall. The current pitch stands on the site of the Dovehouse Pool, an ornamental pond that was drained in 1889. In place of the pool, the owners of the Lower Grounds built a cycle track and sports ground that opened on 10 June 1889 for a combined cycling and athletics event before a crowd of 15,000.
Negotiations continued for two years before the Villa committee reached agreement with the site's owner, Edgar Flower, to rent the Lower Grounds for £300 per annum on a 21-year lease with an option to buy the site at any point during the term. The committee immediately engaged an architect who began preparing plans for the site, which included construction of a new 440 yards (400 metres) cement cycle track to replace the existing cinder one. The main stand was to be built to the east on the Witton Lane side, with the track and pitch fully enclosed by banking.
Construction of the final phase of the stadium began in late 1896 after negotiations with contractors over the price. Several months behind schedule, the almost-complete stadium opened with a friendly against Blackburn Rovers on 17 April 1897, one week after Aston Villa had completed the League and FA Cup 'Double'. The process of fixing issues with the building work continued for several months. As built, the stadium could house 40,000 spectators, most of whom stood in the open on the banking.
After winning the league championship in 1899, Villa's record-breaking average crowd of 21,000 allowed the club to invest in a two-stage ground improvement programme. The first stage extended the terrace covering on the Trinity Road side at the cost of £887; the second cost £1,300 and involved re-laying all terracing around the track to remedy a design flaw that caused poor sightlines for the majority of the crowd. In 1911, Villa bought the freehold of the ground for £8,250, the office buildings in the old aquarium and car park area for £1,500 and the carriage drive and bowling green for £2,000. This was the first stage in plans drawn up by Villa director Frederick Rinder that saw the capacity of Villa Park increased to 104,000.
In June 1914, another phase of enhancements began at Villa Park to compete with improvements at other grounds around the country, including Everton's Goodison Park, where a new two-tiered stand had just been completed. The first stage of improvements saw the cycling track removed, new banking at the Holte Hotel End (Holte End), and a re-profiling of all the terracing to bring it closer to the newly squared-off pitch. Rinder turned to the renowned architect Archibald Leitch to design a new Villa Park. Their joint plans included large banked end stands at the Holte and Witton ends and the incorporation of the original Victorian Lower Grounds buildings, including the aquarium and the newly acquired bowling greens. The outbreak of the First World War severely hampered design and construction efforts.
Construction began in April 1922 with the stand partially opened in August. Construction continued throughout the 1922–1923 season, with the stand officially opened on 26 January 1924 by the then Duke of York, later King George VI. He commented to Rinder that he had "no idea that a ground so finely equipped in every way — and devoted to football — existed." On completion the Trinity Road Stand was considered one of the grandest in Britain, complete with stained glass windows, Italian mosaics, Dutch gables in the style of Aston Hall and a sweeping staircase. Several commentators including Simon Inglis consider it to be Leitch's masterpiece; a Sunday Times reporter described it in 1960 as the "St Pancras of football." The final cost of the stand and associated 1922–1924 ground developments was calculated at £89,000, a sum that enraged the club's directors who ordered an investigation into cost and in 1925 forced Rinder's resignation.
The complete redevelopment and extension of the Holte End began in early 1939, supervised by Archibald Junior. When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, all construction across the country stopped. Unusually, given the austerity measures in place at the time, Villa acquired a special permit to continue construction of the Holte End; Simon Inglis notes "How they achieved this is not recorded." Work on the ground was completed by April 1940, and the stand was immediately mothballed as Villa Park switched to its wartime role. The Trinity Road Stand became an air-raid shelter and ammunition store while the home dressing room became the temporary home of a rifle company from the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. German bombs caused £20,000 worth of damage to the Witton Lane Stand.
In the late 1950s, four projects were announced. The old Bowling Green pavilion on the Trinity Road became a medical centre, the basement of the aquarium building was converted into a gym, four large floodlight pylons were installed, and a training ground was purchased 500 yards from Villa Park. In mid-1962, £40,000 was spent on a roof for the Holte End, the first to provide cover for the ordinary terrace fans at Villa Park since 1922.
The old barrel-shaped roof on the Witton Lane Stand, the only remaining feature of the 1897 Villa Park, was removed in the summer of 1963 and replaced with a plain sloping roof in the same style as the Holte End. Villa Park was chosen by FIFA to host three matches for the 1966 World Cup on the condition that the Witton Lane Stand became all-seater. The players' tunnel had to be covered with a cage while the pitch was widened by 3 yards (2.7 metres).
Regular ground developments and innovations began from 1969 under the direction of the new chairman, Doug Ellis, who set about redeveloping Villa Park for the modern era. Much of the stadium had fallen into disrepair and was in need of modernisation. Ellis updated the infrastructure, installed a new public address system, carried out plumbing work which included installing new toilets, resurfaced the terraces, and built a new ticket office. His tenure saw executive lounges replace the old offices in the Trinity Road Stand.
Redevelopment of the Witton End stand began in the summer of 1976, after Villa returned to the First Division. The stand had not seen any major work since 1924, and its rear remained a mound of earth. Initial renovations saw the levelling of the earth and new concrete terraces constructed on the lower tier in preparation for the construction of an upper tier. Stage two began in February 1977 and was officially opened in late October. The stand's design and fittings were impressive for the time, including novelties such as an 'AV' logo spelled out in coloured seats and a double row of executive boxes.
As well as the new Witton End stand, renamed the North Stand, Villa Park went through further renovations throughout the ground. The cost of the work was £1.3 million. As a result, and as with the construction of the Trinity Road Stand fifty years earlier, Villa were again burdened with debt. An internal investigation found that £700,000 of the £1.3 million worth of bills were unaccounted for. A later report found that the bills were inflated by only 10% but that there were "serious breaches of recommended codes of practice and poor site supervision."
In response to the Hillsborough disaster which resulted in 96 fatalities, the Taylor Report of January 1990 recommended that all major grounds be converted to become all-seater as a safety measure by August 1994. Within a few months of the Taylor Report being published, the first changes were made in line with the report. The North Stand saw the addition of 2,900 seats to the lower tier of the stand in place of terracing, the Holte End's roof was extended in preparation for more seats, the Trinity Road Stand had its roof replaced, and the Witton Lane Stand had more corporate boxes added. By that time, all four floodlight pylons had been removed to make way for boxes or in preparation for seating, and new floodlights were installed on new gantries on the Trinity and Witton stands.
After several months of negotiations, Villa gained permission for a new stand to replace the Witton Lane Stand. The stand was fully operational by January 1994 at the cost of £5 million with 4,686 seats, which brought Villa Park up to a capacity of 46,005. It was announced at the 70th birthday gala of Doug Ellis that the stand was to be renamed the "Doug Ellis Stand", a move that caused some controversy among Villa fans with some still referring to it as the Witton Lane Stand.
The Holte End was the only remaining stand that did not meet the Taylor Report requirements, and a structural survey revealed that putting seats onto the existing terracing would be uneconomical. Instead, the decision was taken to build a new stand consisting of two tiers, just four years after construction of the new roof. The demolition of the stand began on the last day of the 1993–94 season. Its replacement began to open in August 1994 with 3,000 seats in the lower tier occupied for the first seating-only game at Villa Park. By December it was fully operational and had a capacity of 13,501 seats, bringing the Villa Park capacity to 40,310. Upon completion, the Holte was the largest single end stand in Britain.
The next development at Villa Park was the Trinity Road Stand in 2000. It had stood since 1922 and seen several renovations and additions. The demolition of the old stand began after the last game of the 1999–2000 season, an event met with an element of sadness from observers such as Simon Inglis who stated that "the landscape of English football will never be the same." The new stand was larger than the old one, taking Villa's capacity from 39,399 to its present 42,682. It was officially opened in November 2001 by Prince Charles; his grandfather George VI had opened the old stand, 77 years earlier, when he was still the Duke of York.
Villa Park has 42,682 seats split between four stands. These four stands are the Holte End to the south, the Trinity Road Stand to the west, the Doug Ellis Stand opposite the Trinity Road Stand, and the North Stand behind the northern goal. All of the stands have two tiers except the Trinity Road Stand, which has three.
The Holte End is a large two-tiered stand at the south end of the stadium. Originally a large terraced banking with accommodation for more than 20,000 spectators, the current stand consists of two tiers with no executive boxes. The two tiers are slightly curved in a parabola to provide good sightlines from all seats.
Inside there are three levels of concourse and the Holte Suite, a large hospitality room for supporters. The roof is a variant of the "King Truss" system and the front third slopes slightly forward. Two large staircases, pediments, Dutch gables and a mosaic introduced in the 2007 season in the style of the old Trinity Road Stand make up the facade, itself inspired by Aston Hall. The Holte End is the most renowned stand at Villa Park amongst home and away team supporters. Traditionally Villa's most vocal and passionate supporters gather here.
The Trinity Road Stand is the most recently completed at Villa Park and houses the dressing rooms, club offices and director's boxes. The stand is composed of three tiers with a row of executive boxes between the second and third tiers. Although much larger than the other stands, the stand has roughly the same roof level as the other three sides. The players' tunnel and the technical area where the managers and substitutes sit during the match are in the middle of the stand at pitch level. The press and the directors' VIP area are situated in the centre of the middle tier. The upper tiers of the stand extend over Trinity Road, the street that cuts behind the ground. Trinity Road passes through a tunnel formed by the Trinity Road Stand.
The oldest stand at Villa Park is the North Stand, formerly known as the Witton End. It is a two-tiered stand, with a double row of 39 executive boxes running between the two tiers. Upper tier seats are claret with "AV" written in blue; the lower tier consists of sky blue seats. The North Stand was "the first major stand in Britain to use what is now broadly termed the 'goalpost' structure." The facade of the stand is a "textured concrete render" typical of the time. Since the segregation of supporters in the 1970s, away fans had been situated in the lower tier of the North Stand. For the start of the 2007–2008 season the club released cut-price season tickets for the lower tier of the stand. This meant moving the away fans to the northern end of the Doug Ellis Stand across both tiers.
The Doug Ellis Stand, formerly known as the Witton Lane Stand, is a two-tiered stand with a row of executive boxes between the tiers. The roof was originally planned to be a goalpost structure, the same as the Holte End and North Stand, but the plans were changed to a simpler cantilever design. It saw slight refurbishment before the 1996 European Championships to join the corners with the lower tier of the North Stand, improve legroom and increase the curve of the terracing to improve sightlines. The main television camera viewpoint is on the half-way line in the Doug Ellis Stand.
In the south-west corner, between the Holte End and the Trinity Road Stand, there is a three-storey pavilion-like structure, which is used for corporate hospitality. There is a large television screen. On 28 November 2009, a bronze statue of former Villa chairman and Football League founder William McGregor was unveiled outside the stadium. Behind the North Stand is the "Villa Village" made up of club and ticket offices as well as a club shop. The club bought the buildings from British Telecom in the 1990s.
Villa Park was the first English ground to stage international football in three different centuries and has hosted matches in several international tournaments. Three 1966 World Cup matches were played at the ground and four matches during Euro '96. The ground has hosted England internationals, the first in 1899 and the most recent in 2005. Sixteen international matches have been hosted at the stadium in total.
Villa Park has been the venue for several Cup competitions. It has hosted 55 FA Cup semi-finals, more than any other stadium. The club hosted the League Cup Final in 1980–1981 when Liverpool beat West Ham 2–1 in a replay. In 1999, the stadium hosted the last final of the European Cup Winners' Cup in which Lazio beat Real Mallorca 2–1. During the construction of the new Wembley Stadium between 2001 and 2005, the FA Trophy Final was held at Villa Park. The 2012 Community Shield was held at Villa Park instead of Wembley due to Olympic Games at the stadium.
The venue has also hosted two first-class cricket matches. The first was the United North of England Eleven's final first-class match against a London United Eleven in June 1879. The second was tour match played between Australia and an England XI side in May 1884. The ground also hosted a 1897 Minor Counties Championship match between Staffordshire and Northamptonshire and was the home ground for Aston Unity from 1889 to 1954.
Many athletics and cycle events took place at the ground before the First World War, and boxing has been hosted on several occasions. On 28 June 1948, Dick Turpin, brother of Randolph Turpin, became the first non-white boxer to win a British title in a fight against Vince Hawkins in front of 40,000 spectators after the British Boxing Board of Control lifted their ban on non-whites challenging for titles. On 21 June 1972 Danny McAlinden defeated Jack Bodell in a British and Empire Heavyweight title fight.
Great Britain secured the first ever rugby league test series at the ground when they defeated the touring Australian Kangaroos side 6–5 on 14 February 1909 in front of a crowd of 9,000. A second rugby league game followed three years later on New Year's Day 1912 when 4,000 people turned up to see Australia beat Great Britain 33–8. The stadium has seen several international rugby union tour matches. On 8 October 1924, a North Midlands XV lost 40–3 to the New Zealand side touring Europe and Canada at the time. The second game took place on 30 December 1953 when Midlands Counties played another New Zealand side.
On 26 August 1985, it played host to the first ever American football "Summerbowl," intended to be the English equivalent to the Super Bowl. The game was played between the London Ravens and the Streatham Olympians, and the low attendance of 8,000 meant that the Summerbowl was not repeated in subsequent years. Villa Park was chosen as the venue for two pool matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The first was a Pool B match between South Africa and Samoa on 26 September 2015 with South Africa winning 46–6. The second was a Pool A match between Australia and Uruguay the next day with Australia winning 65–3. Birmingham is the host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Villa Park will host the Rugby Sevens competition.
Villa Park has been a venue for musicians from multiple genres as well as preachers. The stadium has hosted several rock concerts, including Bruce Springsteen who played two concerts in June 1988 as part of his Tunnel of Love Tour, and most recently Bon Jovi, who played the stadium in 2013 as part of Because We Can: The Tour. Duran Duran held a charity concert in 1983 to raise money for MENCAP. Other singers who have played at the ground include Belinda Carlisle, Rod Stewart and Robert Palmer. The American evangelist Billy Graham attracted 257,181 people to a series of prayer meetings held at the stadium in mid-1984. Archbishop Desmond Tutu held a religious gathering at the stadium in 1989.
** – Facilities – **
To ensure that they treat everyone fairly and to enable them to take the particular circumstances of disabled supporters into account when allocating seats, the club requires all applicants for seating which has been allocated for the specific use of disabled supporters to meet at least one of the following criteria:
Where the need for personal support has been identified, the Club will admit a disabled supporter’s personal assistant free of charge on the understanding and condition that they are providing a service to the disabled supporter to enable them to access match day facilities. The Club will provide a free ticket to a PA where the need for a PA is justified. Note that safety is of paramount importance at sports stadia and therefore a PA must be capable of supporting the disabled supporter’s needs in the event of an emergency as well as generally.
Buying Your Ticket
Disabled supporters of Aston Villa should contact the Consumer Sales Department on 0800 612 0970 and ask for the Disabled Supporters Liaison Officer or visit the ticket office in person for advice on purchasing tickets for all Aston Villa fixtures. They would ask that, you detail the nature of your disability so that they are able to assist your purchase in an informed manner and to offer you seats most suited to your requirements (subject to availability).
Tickets for wheelchair bays and seats to accommodate disabled supporters are available for purchase either on a seasonal or match-by-match basis, subject to availability. Supporters of away clubs visiting Villa Park are advised to contact their own Club for advice on ticket availability.
Tickets for Disabled Supporters
The Club offers a system of concessionary prices for both Season Tickets and individual match tickets for disabled supporters. Concessions are not based on disability-type but instead are offered to any disabled supporter who:
Should you be over 18 and have a successful gamble at the game, the post-match winnings collection point is located by Disabled access gate R44. The kiosk is not accessible for wheelchair users, so you may require your personal assistant to collect your winnings on your behalf. If you do not have a personal assistant with you, then the kiosk staff will attend to you outside the kiosk.
Facilities for Disabled Supporters Using Wheelchairs
They accommodate both home and away supporters who are wheelchair users and their PA’s within the Trinity Road Stand, providing a number of wheelchair bays with PA seating. There are three accessible entrances available to wheelchair supporters at Villa Park, all of which offer ground level access to wheelchair viewing facilities.
Facilities for Disabled Supporters with a Visual Impairment
They welcome all disabled supporters using an assistance dog (in line with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association guidelines). Please let them know, when purchasing tickets, that you will be accompanied by an assistance dog when attending matches. If you would like to ensure that your assistance dog is familiar with Villa Park and its surroundings before a matchday, they would be happy to facilitate a pre-match visit. Please contact the Disabled Supporters Liaison Officer to make these arrangements.
There is no allocated seating for visually impaired supporters and they may therefore sit (subject to availability) in their preferred area of Villa Park. As with any football stadium, the upper tiers of Villa Park are very steep and we would therefore discourage any supporter who would be unable to exit the Stadium quickly in the event of an emergency, from purchasing tickets in any upper tiers.
Headsets, which feature full audio commentary of matches, will be provided by the Ticket Office to visually impaired supporters upon request. This audio commentary service is provided free of charge.
Facilities for Disabled Supporters with a Hearing Impairment
Should you require any assistance when visiting Villa Park, we have permanent induction loops located at the following information points:
Facilities for Disabled Supporters who are Ambulant
Seating for ambulant disabled supporters is located in a variety of areas around Villa Park. Such spaces may benefit from increased leg room, may be close to an entrance/exit or may otherwise be more easily accessible and are considered, by the Club, best suited to ambulant disabled supporters. Ambulant disabled supporters are advised to contact the Consumer Sales Department at Aston Villa prior to purchasing tickets for fixtures at Villa Park so that they can discuss your particular circumstances and attempt to find the most suitable seating for you.
The Club’s flagship store “Villa Village”, is located on the North Stand car park next to the ticket office. The store is located on ground level, and has accessible parking bays located adjacent to the entrance. The doors at the entrance are push button operated. Their staff would be happy to assist you with any enquiries or to access goods placed at higher levels. Induction loops are fitted and signposted at both payment tills and the shirt lettering counter. Opening hours:
Toilets which have been adapted specifically for disabled persons are located in the lower tier concourse of the Trinity Road Stand and are in close proximity to the wheelchair bays located in the same stand. The facilities are designed to give visitors independent use and can only be accessed with a Radar Key which can be obtained from any steward patrolling the area. They also have Accessible Toilet facilities at the following locations:
A number of snack/beverage kiosks with low level counters are located in concourses throughout the lower tier of the Trinity Road Stand and are within easy access of the wheelchair bays which are situated on the same level.
Disabled Car Parking.
The Club endeavours to fulfil the needs of disabled drivers and passengers and will sell stadium car parking to Blue Badge holders subject to availability. Passes are available to purchase on a match-by-match or seasonal basis. Car parking spaces for disabled supporters are situated in the Holte End and North Stand car parks at Villa Park and the away supporters’ coach park, which is situated directly across the road from Villa Park.
As well as parking on stadium car parks at Villa Park, disabled supporters may also use external car parking facilities which are located in close proximity to Villa Park. Parking permits are available to purchase at car parks at Majestic and Yew Tree School on a seasonal or match-by-match basis, subject to availability. For more information on accessible car parking or to purchase car park passes please contact their Disabled Supporters Liaison Officer.
** – Getting to Villa Park – **
Please note that in the interest of pedestrian safety, a traffic exclusion zone (TEZ) is imposed around Villa Park on match days to exclude vehicles on the following roads: Witton Lane from the junction with Aston Hall Road to the traffic island at Witton Road, and Trinity Road between Nelson Road and Witton Lane. The zone is in operation from 75 minutes prior to kick off to approximately 30-60 minutes after the final whistle. The precise timing is dependent upon traffic and pedestrian movement on the affected roads.
Villa Park is supported by two Train stations, Aston Station and Witton Station. Both stations run regular services to and from Birmingham New Street.
Numbers 68C and 843 stop at the stadium. Operated by ARRIVA buses, the AV1 bus service offers one of the best alternatives to your car on matchdays for supporters in Tamworth. Return journeys are priced at £6 adults, £4 Under 16/65+. You can pay cash on the day to the driver, or book your tickets in advance on 0333 323 1874. The service runs home matches played on Saturday & Sunday and are accessible for disabled supporters. Please note that the service is NOT available for mid-week matches and / or cup matches (the service will NOT run if a cup match is played on a Saturday or Sunday). The bus service will drop off prior to the match next to Villa Park. Services depart 20 to 30 minutes after the final whistle.
This exciting and informative tour allows access to areas that are only available to players and officials. They promise you a tour you will never forget, so have your cameras ready for those personal mementos of your visit. You also get 10% off any purchase at the Villa Store by showing your pass on the day. They now run tours on a number of Sundays at 10:30 and 1pm including selected post matchdays along with their popular Sunday tours with lunch which typically run once per month and come with a three course Sunday lunch. Please note, tours do not take place on matchdays.
Location : Villa Park, Trinity Rd, Birmingham B6 6HE
Transport: Witton Station (National Rail) then 8 minutes. Bus Routes: 68C and 843 stop at the stadium.
Capacity : 42,785
Tel: 0333 323 1982