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Top facts about Villa Park, Home to The Villans

Sat 19 March 2022 | 11:30

In today’s article, we’ll be going over the facts and information we have on this stadium since it began hosting football games and various other events in 1897.

Villa Park is a football stadium with a maximum capacity of 42,749. It is located in Aston, Birmingham, England. Since 1897, it has been the home of Premier League club Aston Villa. The pitch, which is less than a mile from both Witton and Aston railway stations, has held sixteen England senior internationals, the first of which was in 1899 and the most recent in 2005.

Villa Park has hosted the most FA Cup semi-finals of any stadium, with 55 games. Aston Villa relocated into the Aston Lower Grounds in 1897, a sports area in a Victorian amusement park in the former grounds of Jacobean stately residence Aston Hall.

The Holte End, Trinity Road Stand, North Stand, and Doug Ellis Stand are the current stand layout at the stadium, which has undergone numerous stages of repair and development. The club has received preliminary planning clearance to reconstruct the North Stand, bringing the total capacity of Villa Park to almost 50,000.

Aside from football, the stadium has hosted a number of concerts as well as other sports events such as boxing contests and international rugby league and rugby union matches. The final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was held at Villa Park in 1999.

The biggest attendance at Villa Park was 76,588, in an FA Cup 6th round tie against Derby County on March 2, 1946. The biggest attendance in the all-seater period was 42,788 for a Premier League game versus Liverpool on December 29, 2009. The greatest average post-World War attendance at Villa Park was 47,168 in the 1948–1949 season, while the lowest was 15,237 in the 1985–1986 season.

Listing the Top facts about Villa Park 

We start by telling you about all kinds of events hosted by the venue and then move on to its history and background.

Villa Park Sporting Applications

Villa Park has held matches in various international tournaments and was the first English venue to host international football in three centuries. The stadium hosted three World Cup matches in 1966 and four Euro '96 matches. The first

England

international was played here in 1899, while the most recent was in 2005. The stadium has held a total of sixteen international matches.

Several Cup tournaments have been held at Villa Park. One of the Top facts about Villa Park is that it has hosted the most FA Cup semi-finals of any stadium, with 55. After 1980–1981 the club hosted the League Cup Final, which

Liverpool

won 2–1 in a replay.

The stadium hosted the last European Cup Winners' Cup final in 1999 when Lazio defeated Real Mallorca 2–1. The FA Trophy Final was hosted at Villa Park between 2001 and 2005 while the new Wembley Stadium was being built. Due to the Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium, the 2012 Community Shield was held at Villa Park rather than Wembley.

Two first-class cricket matches have also been held at the venue. In June 1879, the United North of England Eleven played their final first-class match against a London United Eleven. The second was a tour match in May 1884 between Australia and an England XI.

The pitch also featured a Minor Counties Championship match between Staffordshire and Northamptonshire in 1897, and from 1889 to 1954, it was the home ground of Aston Unity in the Birmingham and District Premier League.

Before the First World War, the stadium held a number of athletics and cycling events, as well as boxing on multiple occasions, another one of the Top facts about Villa Park.

After the British Boxing Board of Control lifted their ban on non-whites challenging for titles, 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 on June 28, 1948.

Danny McAlinden defeated Jack Bodell in a British and Empire Heavyweight title fight on June 21, 1972.

On 14 February 1909, Great Britain won the first-ever rugby league test series at the ground, defeating the touring Australian Kangaroos 6–5 in front of a crowd of 9,000.

Three years later, on New Year's Day 1912, 4,000 spectators watched Australia defeat Great Britain 33–8 in a second rugby league match.

Several international rugby union tour matches have taken place at the stadium.

A North Midlands XV lost 40–3 to a New Zealand team touring Europe and Canada at the time on October 8, 1924. 

On their 1953–1954 tour of the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and North America, Midlands Counties played another New Zealand side on December 30, 1953.

The Midlands team was defeated 18–3. It hosted the first-ever American football "Summerbowl" on August 26, 1985, which was supposed to be the English equivalent of the Super Bowl.

The Summerbowl was held between the London Ravens and the Streatham Olympians, and due to the low attendance of 8,000, it was not held again in succeeding years.

Villa Park was initially scheduled to host one of the six Olympic football matches during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

In 2009, the organizing committee for the games and the football club said that the club was "unable to commit fully to hosting matches" due to uncertainty about expansion plans, one of the

Top facts about Villa Park.

Villa Park was designated as the site for two pool matches of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The first was a Pool B match between South Africa and Samoa, in which South Africa won 46–6 in front of 39,526 fans on September 26, 2015.

The second was a Pool A match the next day between Australia and Uruguay, in which Australia won 65–3 in front of 39,605 spectators.

The Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham city in 2022. The Rugby Sevens competition was initially scheduled to take place at Villa Park, however, it has been moved to the Ricoh Arena.

This is because the Premier League season begins in July to allow for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to be held in November and December rather than June and July.

Villa Park Accessibility & Non-Sporting Applications

So about the fact that how to get to the stadium, two mainline railway stations are within walking distance of Villa Park.

Villa Park is around 500 meters (0.3 miles) from Witton railway station, while Aston railway station is roughly 1.5 kilometers away (0.9 miles).

Under former owner Randy Lerner, there were thoughts about renaming Witton Station Villa Park, similar to West Bromwich Albion's local train station, The Hawthorns.

The West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (Centro), according to Aston Villa's previous CEO Bruce Langham, is open to the proposal as long as it is done at the club's expense. So far, no action has been taken.

Concerning the events it has hosted, musicians of various genres, as well as preachers, have performed at Villa Park, one of the Top facts about Villa Park.

Bruce Springsteen performed two concerts at the stadium in June 1988 as part of his Tunnel of Love Tour, and most recently, Bon Jovi performed at the stadium in 2013 as part of their Because We Can: The Tour. 

In 1983, Duran Duran staged a charity event to benefit MENCAP. Belinda Carlisle, Rod Stewart, and Robert Palmer are among the other singers that have performed at the venue.

In mid-1984, 257,181 people attended a series of prayer meetings hosted at the stadium by American preacher Billy Graham. In 1989, Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a religious service at the stadium.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, it was stated that midwives from the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust would hold maternity clinics at the stadium for expectant parents who were afraid of visiting hospitals.

The NHS stated on February 2, 2021, that Villa Park would be used as a regional COVID-19 vaccination center. On February 4, 2021, the first patients were vaccinated at Villa Park, another one of the Top facts about Villa Park.

The vaccination center has been established at the Holte End stand, and it is believed that it will play an important role in vaccinating people in the Birmingham area.

Villa Park Future Plans

Aston Villa has received initial planning permission to replace the North Stand in the Trinity Road Stand's style. Randy Lerner, a prior owner, indicated his support for expanding the capacity when average attendance grew.

Villa Park's capacity would expand to roughly 50,000 if intended expansions were completed. The ideas were still at the conceptual stage at the start of the 2010 season, and there was no set timeframe for construction to begin due to a "multi-year effort to consider business and supporter needs."

Meanwhile, the "R Block" entrance to the North Stand was redecorated both inside and out. The curved fascia above the turnstiles has been replaced with cladding and canopies similar to those in front of the Holte Suite as part of the renovation.

The "R Block" concourse has been enlarged to provide a wider, more open area. Aston Villa chief executive officer Keith Wyness confirmed plans to extend Villa Park in September 2017, stating that the club was looking into many options to raise capacity to 60,000, one of the

Top facts about Villa Park.

As of January 2022, the stadium's capacity is still under 43,000, with expansion plans taking "two to ten years" to complete.

Villa Park History – Everything Going on in the Late 1800s

The Aston Lower Grounds, later called Villa Park, was not Aston Villa F.C.'s first home. Wellington Road, their previous stadium, had a number of issues, including an uneven pitch, insufficient spectator amenities, a lack of access, and exorbitant rents.

As a result, Villa's committee, chaired by Frederick Rinder, initiated talks with the owners of the Aston Lower Grounds, "the finest sports ground in the district," in 1894.

The Lower Grounds, which were once part of Aston Hall, a Jacobean stately mansion, has seen a multitude of purposes over the years.

It was originally the kitchen garden of Aston Hall's owner Sir Thomas Holte, after whom the Holte End stand was named, but it was later transformed into a Victorian amusement park featuring an aquarium and a grand hall, one of the Top facts about Villa Park.

The current pitch was built on the location of the Dovehouse Pool, which was drained in 1889.

The Lower Grounds' proprietors built a cycle track and sports area in place of the pool, which opened on June 10, 1889, in front of a crowd of 15,000 for a combined cycling and athletics event. 

The Villa committee negotiated with the site's owner, Edgar Flower, for two years before agreeing to rent the Lower Grounds for £300 per year on a 21-year lease with the option to buy the site at any time during the term.

Villa Chairman Frederick Rinder, a professional surveyor, is reported to have set down every 'level and line' of the ground himself before construction began and deserves a lot of credit for the design of Villa Park.

The committee promptly hired an architect to draw up plans for the property, which included replacing the existing cinder cycle track with a new 440-yard (400-meter) cement cycle track.

The main stand was to be built to the east on the Witton Lane side, completely enclosing the track and pitch. The final phase of the stadium's construction began in late 1896, following price discussions with contractors.

The nearly-complete stadium premiered in a friendly against

Blackburn Rovers

on 17 April 1897, a week after Aston Villa completed the League and FA Cup 'Double'.

The process of addressing concerns with the construction work lasted several months.

Another one of the Top facts about Villa Park is that the stadium could hold 40,000 people in its current configuration, with the majority of them standing in the open on the bank.

Villa Park History – WW2 & Further Developments

Villa Park remained mostly unchanged for another 30 years, with no substantial changes occurring until the late 1950s. During the 1930s, concrete terracing and metal crash barriers totally replaced earth and timber terraces with wooden crash barriers, a process initiated by Rinder.

After the team was relegated to the Second Division, he was voted back onto the board at the age of 78 in 1936. Rinder reintroduced his 1914 vision nearly 25 years later and looked to complete the third phase of his plans.

He died in December 1938, leaving his construction firm to his son, Archibald Junior (Leitch had died in April). Archibald Junior oversaw the Holte End's comprehensive redevelopment and extension, which began in early 1939.

When World War II broke out in September 1939, all construction in the country came to a halt. One of the

Top facts about Villa Park

is that the venue obtained a special permit to continue construction of the Holte End, which was unusual considering the austerity measures in force at the time;

Simon Inglis adds, "How they achieved this is not recorded." By April 1940, the groundwork had been completed, and the stand had been decommissioned as Villa Park transitioned to its wartime use.

The home dressing room became the temporary home of a rifle company from the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, while the Trinity Road Stand became an air-raid shelter and munitions store. The Witton Lane Stand was damaged by German bombs for £20,000, but it was repaired by 1954.

Villa Park History – Back to the Premier League

FIFA chose Villa Park to host three World Cup matches in 1966 on the condition that the Witton Lane Stand be made all-seater.

A cage had to be built around the players' tunnel, and the pitch had to be widened by three yards (2.7 meters).

Under the management of the new chairman, Doug Ellis, who began redeveloping Villa Park for the modern era in 1969, regular ground developments and improvements began.

Villa's attendance and financial situation had also dropped as a result of losing their First Division status in 1967 and being relegated to the Third Division for the first time in 1970.

Ellis modernized the infrastructure, installed a new public address system, completed plumbing work, including the installation of new bathrooms, resurfaced the terraces, and constructed a new ticket office.

During his tenure, the Trinity Road Stand's original offices were replaced with executive lounges.

The Witton End stand was redeveloped in the summer of 1976, a year after Villa returned to the

Premier League

after an eight-year absence, one of the Top facts about Villa Park.

Villa Park History – 1990 to the Present Time

In the aftermath of the Hillsborough catastrophe, which took 96 lives, the Taylor Report of January 1990 suggested that all large stadiums be converted to all-seater venues by August 1994 as a safety measure.

After all the changes made to Villa Park due to the disaster, in the year 2000, the Trinity Road Stand was built at Villa Park. It had been standing since 1922 and had undergone numerous renovations and additions.

After the final game of the 1999–2000 season, the old stand was demolished, an event that brought regret to observers such as Simon Inglis, who claimed that "the landscape of English football will never be the same."

The new stand was larger than the old one, increasing the capacity of Villa from 39,399 to 42,785.

It was officially opened by Prince Charles in November 2001; his grandfather, George VI, had opened the old stand 77 years ago when he was still Duke of York.

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source: SportMob

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