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Villa Park Plans Aim To Make The Club A Power House Again

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There can be few Aston Villa fans who do not realise what a dire state of almost disrepair we were in when Dr Tony Xia finally decided to scarper and sold up to Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

Having gambled our future on a promotion that never came for him, long serving members of staff departed, loans were taken out against assets, our Category One Academy was being mothballed and that barely touches the surface as I have not even mentioned Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (as they were then) and what they were owed.

NSWE were knights in shining armour for the club, opening their chequebooks almost in the first minute to save our Academy, restore our assets, bolster the playing staff and we ultimately ended up with one of our own, head coach Dean Smith, who enjoyed a fairy tale end to his first season in charge with a run of successive victories that catapulted us into the Play Off Spots and the rest, as we know goes down in history and with the World Cup coming to an end, we can finally get back to the latest Aston Villa matches.

We have had a bit of a choppy time since, managerial changes, poor form, unwanted player departures – but we also have some gems in the playing staff and with new manager Unai Emery now in charge, it might be a slow process but the vast majority of fans feel we are now back on an upward curve.

Our owners presumably think so as they are forging ahead with plans to redevelop our Villa Park ground and turn it into a truly world class sporting venue, whilst also keeping our storied heritage and many of our traditional ‘ground’ values in place. There is a reason most opposition fans talk highly of our ground compared to the many rent a bowls most sides have moved towards, and the plans should see that continue, but with far improved facilities for fans, as well as obvious additional revenue streams to help us compete higher up the Premier League top flight table.

With the initial consultation taking place in August, it was recently reported that the submitted revised plans to improve our facilities and increase our capacity were highly likely to be approved by the relevant agencies, particularly as the Local Democracy Reporting Service have suggested our plans for an improved stadium would significantly boost the UK and Ireland’s bid to host the European Championships in 2028.

Birmingham City Council planners will make their final decision next Thursday, and if successful as expected, work would begin in spring 2023, with an ultimate end date being 2025, wherein our capacity would then be excess of 50,000 (amongst the highest in the Premier League itself) and long standing issues with disabled supporter access would also be significantly improved.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has written to the council supporting the plans for the ‘regionally and nationally important venue’. Stating further.

“It is in all our interests to help ensure this exciting transformation happens in ample time for Euro 2028 to be hosted at Villa Park.”

Street has been joined by Lord Austin of Dudley, Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood, MP for Walsall North Eddie Hughes and Lozells councillor Waseem Zaffar in pledging letters of support for the redevelopment proposals.

Photo by Unsplash

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