With a largely disappointing 2021/22 Premier League campaign edging towards a close for Aston Villa and new head coach Steven Gerrard, it’s that time of the year when new season tickets become a topic of conversation and whilst few can argue with historic price freezes and our ticket prices in general when compared across the league – expectations of a rise for 2022/23 on the back of our waiting list – has unsurprisingly not gone down well.
Our new owners haven’t really put a step wrong since replacing the endless Tweeter, and no one can argue with the investment made so far. Not just in the playing staff or our youth setup, but we were also one of those clubs who didn’t totally embarrass themselves during Covid and even entertain furloughing members of staff. But on the back of issues still associated with Brexit, Covid and lockdown, now added to prices on basically everything rocketing from fuel, to utilities, Council Tax, food and everything else that comes under the banner of cost of living – even an inflation matching price rise here will heavily hit long standing season ticket holders – as with everything else going up, some long suffering fans would still have a difficult choice to make even if prices were frozen for our next campaign.
Vital Villa’s FCG – Season Tickets 2022/23 Forum Thread
It’s not the only question some fans will be asking themselves moving forward either. Despite the disappointment associated with the sale of Jack Grealish last summer, there was still a magic and belief given our rise under one of our own Dean Smith, but that magic has now gone and fans haven’t really had much to shout about this season when it comes to on pitch performances, and with four poor straight defeats again (added to the Gerrard using Villa as a stepping stone to Liverpool media angle), the club cannot forget we are only 12 points off the drop zone and for some, given the added outside pressures, that will make the decision for them.
Even for those who could cope with an inflation adjacent price rise, there is still a question to answer based on principle given how easily fans are dismissed in the modern game, and the frankly obscene wages now paid to players.
Growing the waiting list in previous years is one thing, but how many of those on the waiting list now have completely different circumstances to contend with as well, and not only wouldn’t take up the opportunity of a ticket if one was available, but moreover, won’t even bother applying for the waiting list moving forward?
Whatever the club decide to do here, overly relying on the waiting list to take up the slack and not paying attention to the true life blood of the club, and potentially pricing out those with a storied history, could be the first true fatal mistake of NSWE.
Forum member VillaTomB38 gives his thoughts.
I’ve been away from the forum for a while, but this season ticket stuff concerns me somewhat and I’d like to raise my voice somewhere it may get heard/seen and even relayed to the right people along with many other people’s views.
From my own calculation, based on what I’ve read so far is that my ‘seat’ (which I never sit on) in L8 will move from Zone 6 to Zone 4 as Zones 5/6 won’t exist anymore. So from £370 to £530 with the 10% on top included, that’s on top of the extra £50 last year (conveniently never mentioned) as I paid £320 in 2019 during the Early Bird window (remember those?!) and you’re not far off double in a short space of time.
I have the seat I have because it’s cheap and the view is alright, ask anyone around me and they’d probably say the same thing. If it was suddenly much more I’d have to think about it, as I’d be paying a lot more for a poorer view than others more central. It’s not about whether I can afford it as I could, it’s the principle of such a big price rise for a lesser product – and by lesser product I mean what’s on the pitch and the seat/view I’d be paying for. I don’t buy into the supposed 20,000 waiting list, as I can imagine many of those got on board during the promotion hype bandwagon in 2019 and probably wouldn’t be as interested now, even less so if the tickets cost a lot more in a cost of living crisis. A cost of living crisis that’s only going to get worse when energy prices go up again in October, which also happens to be when the weather gets colder and days get shorter and people start to use it more again.
All this, and I haven’t even mentioned the incredibly poor transport to the ground. It’s shocking and it affects your overall match day experience. After Manchester United at home in January, I didn’t get home until after 9pm using the train, yet I only live 8/9 miles away. I honestly lost my temper with the staff on the platform because they were letting six carriage trains leave half empty which is an incredible waste. The one I eventually got on was also half empty when it left. I went to Everton away in January and I noticed when I left they had bus after bus after bus lined up waiting to take people away from the ground, this is just one example of a club that does it better, as I could honestly list them off around Europe. Why can’t that happen outside Aston station for example in the ever empty bus lane? Since that Man U game I’ve been using my car and parking over a mile away to avoid the traffic so I can get away quickly. A lot less stress than the train that’s for sure. For a ground that appears to be in such a good location with two stations on hand I’m not sure how it’s so bad, it’s been there long enough.
Sorry for the rant, but I can’t stand the greed. So what if our prices are in the lower end of the table? Why do they need to be higher? People don’t choose football teams based on price they pay, so it’s not like I’m suddenly gonna go elsewhere to save a few quid, the price comparison is irrelevant. Even more irrelevant when comparing to clubs like Chelsea.
Can’t knock the owners since they’ve come in but this was inevitable – especially given one of them is involved with a recently successful NBA franchise – they’ve invested because they want a successful business, not because they’re true Villa fans like us. I do look forward to seeing the North Stand plans, it’s long overdue, but I hope when they eventually release the season ticket prices they aren’t as bad as I’m thinking right now.