Whilst the personnel changes are a positive, there are a few downsides other changes made in regards to the Under 23’s.
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Mark Delaney’s Young Lions kick their Premier League 2 campaign off away at Middlesbrough on Friday evening as the fixtures for the season were released earlier in the week.
Aston Villa will play their first home game of the new season against Norwich City on Saturday 24th August at 3pm at Villa Park, the day after the senior side’s televised fixture against Everton. There are two more home fixtures within September and November, one being against Manchester United at the Banks’ Stadium and the other against Fulham at Villa Park.
Following this, the home fixtures are all to be played at Bodymoor Heath, Aston Villa’s training ground, and are set to be played at 7pm on Monday evenings. This has been a rumour that has been circling around the Under 23 scene for a while – that Aston Villa were planning on moving their Under 23 games to the training ground.
We believe that as part of the ongoing HS2 work that has been undertaken at Bodymoor Heath, Aston Villa are building a stand to house supporters who wish to watch the Under 23 games. This is following a model used by several Premier League clubs nowadays and whilst there are merits to it, there are downsides too.
First of all, the Under 23 scene is already not quite enough for developing young players. The amount of matches aren’t enough, and secondly the level of player that they often face up against are often not enough of a test. This is why Aston Villa, and other clubs, utilise the loan market to send their young players to gain much needed experience.
One good aspect of Under 23 football has always been the opportunity for young players to play in big stadiums such as Villa Park or St. James Park, in front of supporters to gain a feeling for what it takes to be a professional footballer at a top club.
Admittedly, the attendances are not spectacular, but the interest in Under 23 football has noticeably risen in the last few seasons. It is a shame that these young players now will not get the opportunity to play in a real stadium with a number of supporters present to cheer them on.
It is also a shame that a big proportion of these supporters will struggle to attend. Getting to Bodymoor Heath at 7pm on a Monday evening with not be the easiest of ventures for Aston Villa supporters – as the relative ease of Villa Park or the Banks’ Stadium is no longer available.
Mark Delaney’s youthful side will look to pit their wits against the top academy players in the country in this seasons Premier League 2, and will be hoping for success whilst getting used to a number of fixtures in a new arena.
Their home fixtures are as follows:
24/08/19 – Norwich City (H) Villa Park, 3pm.
23/09/19 – Manchester United (H) Banks’ Stadium, 7pm.
21/10/19 – Fulham (H) Villa Park, 7pm.
04/11/19 – Newcastle (H) Bodymoor Heath, 7pm.
09/12/19 – Middlesbrough (H) Bodymoor Heath, 7pm.
06/01/20 – Sunderland (H) Bodymoor Heath, 7pm.
03/02/20 – West Brom (H) Bodymoor Heath, 7pm.
02/03/20 – Reading (H) Bodymoor Heath, 7pm.
06/04/20 – West Ham (H) Villa Park, 7pm.
20/04/20 – Stoke City (H) Bodymoor Heath, 7pm.