Both members and other supporters will be aware of the impasse between the Club and Brigada 1874. We have attempted to see whether a compromise could be achieved. That has not been possible. However, Aston Villa FC have issued the following statement setting out their position and the attempts that they have made to reach a solution acceptable to ALL parties including those supporters who sit in the adjacent areas.
The club has been approached by the Supporters Trust to clarify the actions taken at the weekend in relation to the group known as Brigada.
Throughout this season, the club has been contacted by numerous season ticket holders and match day fans complaining about the conduct of the group and the negative impact they were having on matchday experience.
We have been in contact with the group at various points this season, and have shared that contact with those who have made complaints and also with the Aston Villa Supporters Trust.
On numerous occasions, we have requested them to modify their conduct, based around two very simple principles:
- Join in with the Holte End – when everyone stands at moments of excitement then by all means join in. When everyone sits down, then sit down.
- Be mindful and respectful of those around you.
At our recent home match versus Swansea, the group carried out a set of deliberate and coordinated actions that showed the club that they have little or no respect for the fans around them, and that they have no intentions of modifying their conduct as requested.
As a result of their actions versus Swansea, we contacted the group (prior to Manchester City) to let them know there was no workable solution that would allow them to continue their presence in L7, asking them to relocate to an area at the rear of the Holte Upper we had identified where their conduct would offer the least amount of disruption to those around them. The area has sufficient capacity to accommodate their numbers (there are at most 15 to 20 fans participating and identifying with the group on match days). They chose to stay in L7.
Therefore, at the match versus Manchester City, we identified and ejected 11 fans in total who were intent on ignoring our previous warnings and subsequently will miss the next three matches at Villa Park. They will then be allowed to return, but only in the area identified and offered to the group at the rear of the Holte Upper. Anyone wishing to relocate with the group should contact our consumer sales team who will be happy to facilitate seat moves on 0333 323 1874.
Our primary motivation throughout this season has been the feedback received from fans. These are as passionate about supporting the Villa as the next fan and have also contributed to the noise and atmosphere that has helped the Holte End gain a reputation as being one of the loudest and most passionate “ends” in football.
Whilst many of those who have contacted us to complain do not have children with them at matches, there have been suggestions on social media that the Holte End is not for families and that anyone bringing children to the game should use the family enclosure. There are 1,600 junior season ticket holders on the Holte End, whose families are looking to ensure that the tradition of the Holte End is continued for years to come. To suggest that the actions of a small group of 15 to 20 fans should take away this choice or force people to move away from friends they have sat next to for years is frankly wrong, and the clubs actions have been fair, consistent and representative of fans’ interests.
In closing, the club have always recognised that Brigada’s ultimate aim is to drive atmosphere. It is clear from monitoring the Holte End on matchday that they are not inspiring fans to join in with them. Up until Sunday, there has been no occasion this season where they have started a song with which the rest of the Holte End has then joined in. Ironically, a brief chorus of “Stand up – if you love Villa” on Sunday was the first time, and we noted with interest that within a minute of the song being sung everyone in the lower tier had sat back down again.
Once the group have relocated and settled in to the new area, we will happily see if we can support the reintroduction of their flags and banners, to help them drive atmosphere and support for the team. The club is 100% behind fans creating an enjoyable and vibrant atmosphere. All we ask is that supporters are mindful of other fans and help us to adhere to our ground regulations.