Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aston Villa Stadium Tour

Emdad Rahman: Located within the heart of England, Villa Park is one of the world’s oldest and most renowned stadiums.

Opened in 1897, it has hosted World Cup, European Championship and European Cup games over the years. Villa Park also holds the record for hosting the most F.A Cup semi finals in England, and was the venue for Ryan Giggs epic solo winner against Arsenal in the F.A Cup semi in 1999.

The club initially moved into an amusement park which was situated within the grounds of Aston Hall, a Jacobean stately home.

The first match took place in 1899, and Villa Park hosted three games during the 1966 World Cup.

The ground is easy to get to by car via the M6, is accessible by train and is close to Birmingham city centre. Despite being close to the motorway the stadium is in the middle of a housing estate, giving it that traditional football feel of walking through the housing and all of a sudden bumping into the stadium.

At the entrance you are greeted by William McGregor, former Chairman and founder of the Football League.

The Holte End is the Villains twelfth man and the world renowned stand at Villa Park. We were able to enjoy the backdrop of the two tiered Holte End from our perch high up in the Trinity Road Stand. Built in 2000, the main Trinity Road Stand is home to the club dressing rooms, Director’s boxes and dugouts.

VIP’s and the Press area are also hosted within the Trinity Stand. Built in 1977, the North Stand is the grounds oldest stand and the Doug Ellis Stand boasts two tiers.

Although we didn’t make it onto the pitch we visited the changing rooms, and the 1982 suite. The players tunnel is by far the most impressive I’ve seen so far, including Anfield, the Emirates, White Hart Lane, Goodison and Old Trafford.

Villa Park has played host to remarkable memories and some amazing players – Peter McParland, Shaw, Mortimer, McGrath, and Angel.

The club has planning permission to redevelop the North Stand, which will increase the capacity of Villa Park from 42,789 to approximately 50,000.

During a very informative club tour the superb Pete Haden was on hand to answer just about any query we had. Randy Lerner has a 5 star Galactico tour guide there, well informed, polite, on the level – a dedicated Ambassador and a credit to the club.

No comments: