Dean Smith hints at stadium expansion given Villa Park ticket demand

Dean Smith admits how Aston Villa will need to expand Villa Park sooner rather than later, given the sheer demand to watch his side perform in the Premier League.

Villa will be backed by yet another raucous sell-out crowd in B6 on Saturday for the visit of Everton – that’s despite the match being shown live on Sky Sports.

Villa have recorded sell-outs for all three of their home games so far this season, with a record 30,000 season-ticket holders in place at Villa Park.

There are another 18,000 fans on the club’s waiting list for season tickets, while, earlier this summer, it was CEO Christian Purslow who hinted at expanding Villa Park by 2031 at the very latest.

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“The first step of development is to understand our limitations and see what we can do to develop and improve,” Purslow said. “The waiting list is a key tool in assessing the need to increase capacity. The time scale for improvements would likely be between two and 10 years with several stages to this process.”

He added: “Once the aftermath of Covid has settled down, it is likely we will need a bigger stadium and, as stated, this would require a long-term strategic development involving three or four key stages along the way. Our fans have clearly brought into our on-going improvement.”

Villa’s owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens signalled their intention to increase stadium capacity back in May.

The pair confirmed their “long-term plan to improve our iconic Villa Park home”, while adding how “preliminary designs and schemes are now being formulated, both to increase our capacity and modernise our commercial facilities”.

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Villa, meanwhile, are yet to lodge fresh plans to Birmingham City Council after being given the green light to demolish and redevelop the North Stand car park back in August 2019.

The club are yet to act on the approval, while, in June 2019, prior to the pandemic, it was Sawiris and Edens who drafted initial proposals to build a giant new club store, museum and possible hotel at the rear of the North Stand.

Ahead of another 42,000-strong backing at Villa Park tomorrow, boss Smith told BirminghamLive that he’d welcome plans to improve capacity with large sections of supporters wanting to see it improved to as much as 60,000.

“It’s something I’d certainly welcome,” Smith outlined. “Unfortunately, I’m showing my age, and I can remember the North Stand being built (in 1977). There’s other stadiums with the corners so there’s certainly space to fill that.

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“It’s quite a unique stadium, and a stadium that I fell in love with many, many years ago and a lot of opposition players and fans really like as well and enjoy coming too.

“But we’ve made great progress over the last three years, and I think we’ve got a big waiting list for season tickets now as well (18,000+), so the demand is certainly there.

“Where there’s a demand, you have to go and supply it, and we’ll certainly try to do that.”

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