If you are an NUFC fan hoping to be at the Aston Villa v Newcastle United game on Saturday 24 September, then tough if you haven’t already got one.
Newcastle confirmed today that the 2,800 away allocation had sold out and Aston Villa had refused to supply any more tickets.
This is a bit of deja vu/groundhog day, as last season it was exactly the same.
With Villa’s notoriously fickle fanbase having deserted the club in thousands last season, the West Midlands club preferred to leave ten thousand seats of their 42,785 capacity empty, rather than allow an extension of the Newcastle section to satisfy the demand for tickets from thousands of extra NUFC supporters.
This season the Aston Villa support is once again quickly evaporating, after beating Rotherham 3-0 (33,286) they attracted a 34,924 crowd for the visit of Huddersfield but then in the space of a month they have lost five thousand supporters as fortunes on the pitch fail to inspire. The Villains only attracting 29,752 to their most recent Championship game against Brentford.
Despite the vast sections of empty seats in the home areas, Aston Villa are adamant they won’t allow any more Newcastle supporters into Villa Park in nine days time.
The only conclusion that can be drawn, is that Villa are willing to forego the extra cash in order to avoid the embarrassment of having a bigger full away section in stark contrast to the rows of empty seats where home fans should be. Many Newcastle fans will remember that not so long ago we received around four and a half thousand tickets for Aston Villa, behind the goal and then stretching around the side of the pitch.
It gets better though, looking into it further it turns out that due to a lack of confidence in their supporters, Aston Villa made the decision to shut entire sections of their stadium for this full season.
The whole upper tier of their Trinity Road Stand is closed for at least the duration of this 2016/17 season (unless the missing 10,000+ Villa fans miraculously reappear).
In the minutes of the Aston Villa Fan Consultation Group (equivalent of Newcastle’s fans forum) meeting held on 16 August, the club confirmed the closure of those areas of Villa Park.
However, if you look below there was also an amusing mention by the West Midlands club of the number of Aston Villa fans owner Tony Xia hopes to attract in the future.
Aston Villa Fan Consultation Group Minutes 16th August
Trinity Road Stand
With the closure of the upper tier of the Trinity Road Stand clarification was sought on what the plans were for re-opening this section.
Following relegation it was expected that attendances would reduce significantly and in order to manage costs the upper tier was closed. However, the club are continually reviewing the situation. Re-opening of the upper tier has not been ruled out this season.
What needs to happen first before the North Stand is redeveloped?
Obviously, there must be more success on the field first and an increase in attendances. In terms of development of Villa Park in the future, if the club enjoys success, the scope of redevelopment increases. Mr Xia didn’t want to put a limit on future Villa Park capacities, adding that there was potential for even 60,000 or 80,000.