Fans secure protections for Villa Park

Villa Park Panorama Photo Chris F Page

Aston Villa's Villa Park stadium has been listed as an asset of community value (ACV) thanks to lobbying from supporter groups in Birmingham.

My Old Man Said and Aston Villa Supporters Trust (AVST) applied to Birmingham City Council to have Villa Park listed - an application that the local authority agreed to. The status protects Villa Park, in the event of a sale, for the next five years.

Asset of community value status means that if the stadium is ever put up for sale, Aston Villa fans will be alerted and given the opportunity to lodge their own bid.

Editor of My Old Man Said David Michael said: "The importance of Villa Park to Aston Villa and English football is known throughout the world.

"We're glad it has finally reached a positive conclusion, after delays beyond our control.

"Villa Park holds memories and emotions for generations of supporters and is a major focal point of community in the neighbouring area and for the identity of the city of Birmingham as a whole."

The bid for community asset status was launched back when American Randy Learner was the club's owner. It was granted under provisions included in the 2011 Localism Act.

Mo Razzaq of the AVST said: "At the very least, it will provide Villa fans a heads-up to what the future may hold, if a situation ever arose that saw Villa Park put up for sale."

Villa Park is the latest English football ground to be granted community asset status - previous examples include Old Trafford, Anfield, St James' Park, Ewood Park, St Andrews, Portman Road and the City Ground.

Thanks to Chris F Page for the image used in this article. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.