The Under 23 Lions have been playing their home games at Bodymoor Heath of late, in a brand new, state-of-the-art mini-stadium.
Words: Simon Lines | @simonlines
Over the last few weeks, Aston Villa have unveiled their brand new facility at Bodymoor Heath which hosts the clubs Under 23 and Academy matches.
For a number of years their youth games have been played at Villa Park, the Bescot Stadium, and other venues throughout the Midlands, but have been working on building their own complex at Bodymoor Heath over the last few annum.
The facility opened on November 29th, as Aston Villa’s Under 23’s faced Portsmouth in the Premier League Cup.
We’ve been lucky enough to go along and test out the new facilities in the most recent Premier League 2 games against Middlesbrough and Swansea City.
The complex features a 500-seater stand with a small press area, dugouts and a player’s tunnel. It is built solely on the site where all academy action takes place at Bodymoor Heath, and is located a short drive past the main entrance.
Aston Villa have attempted to create a proper fan experience, with a cashless refreshment kiosk selling all your favourites from Villa Park. The stadium announcer, Dave Poulton, is present behind the microphone to announce the teams, substitutions and goal alerts. Music is also played as part of the match build-up and at half time.
Bodymoor Heath is impressive, and you can see the amount of money that owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have pumped into the club to develop the club’s academy to reclaim their place as one of the most impressive academies in the country.
It will never be everyone’s cup of tea. The argument stands that the young players are now not getting the opportunity to play in a real stadium, such as Villa Park or the Bescot Stadium, which would have provided invaluable experience.
However, Aston Villa are moving with the times and many clubs with top academy status in England have moved, or are moving to this model.
The other aspect is the difficulties some supporters may have in attending. Bodymoor Heath is further out than Villa Park or the Bescot, being located just outside of Tamworth – but remains easily accessible just off the M42.
We’ve put together some questions regarding the facility should you want to visit in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I obtain tickets?
All tickets can be obtained from Aston Villa’s official ticketing website, under the ‘Home Matches’ tab. For season ticket holders, it remains free, whilst it is £4 for adult non-season ticket holders.
How many fans does it hold?
The stand can hold around 500 supporters.
Is there parking available?
Yes, there is a gravelled car park opposite the main entrance of the Academy site.
Are there refreshment and toilet facilities?
Yes, there is a refreshment kiosk selling favourites from the Villa Park concourse. Please bare in mind that the facility is a cashless facility.
There are also toilets available next door to the refreshment kiosk.
Wrap up warm. If attending during the winter months, it is very, very cold.
This is due to the location – being in the middle of a field and next door to rivers and canals.