3. One of the most important headlines almost no Villa supporter is talking about: the Academy’s future is under real pressure from compulsory purchase.
For the better part of one year, club CEO Keith Wyness alongside Tony Xia have been meeting with U.K. senior legislators about the construction of HS2, a high-speed railway that plans to link London to Birmingham, ultimately up to Leeds and Manchester.
With construction to begin in 2018/2019, Aston Villa will be affected. Why is that? Because the railway will run through Bodymoor Heath, the club’s training ground.
From the Birmingham Mail:
"“The entire academy training pitches at the complex will be wiped out and the first-team training area will be interrupted by the plans due to the excessive noise. Villa have offered a solution to relocate in the surrounding area at their current base and also lodged a multi-million pound compensation claim last year when they first discovered the news.”"
The project, a £24.7 billion venture, casts doubt on the immediate future of the club’s training ability. Moving to different training grounds is far from ideal, while the first-team may or may not have to train under construction noise.
A lot remains up in the air, but HS2 could have a very negative effect on Aston Villa’s ability to develop and compete as a football club.