Does Aston Villa's future belong at Villa Park?

Aston Villa's President of Business Operations Chris Heck has this week been heard discussing the future of Aston Villa football club and whether the club are to remain at Villa Park.
Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24
Aston Villa v Olympiacos FC: Semi-final First Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

During an interview with former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor, Heck was asked to let the fans know of his plans going forward and addressed the ongoing concerns around Villa's stadium. With the team going in the right direction on the pitch, fans have certainly been questioning the quality of the club off the pitch and many have been worried about what the future holds regarding where Villa will play their home games. When asked about the future of Villa Park, Aston Villa's home since 1897, Heck said:

Christopher Heck
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"I don't expect in my lifetime for Aston Villa to leave Villa Park. I love this place and I don't think that we should ever leave."

Heck also commented on the famous Holte End. Heck and the club have been faced with criticism over the last year following the introduction of the Lower Grounds into the Holte End. Most were upset by the lack of communcation with the fans from Heck and the club regarding the plans and introduction of the premium ticket matchday experience. Following this backlash from a large portion of the Holte End fanbase, he said:

"I have spent time watching the Holte End every game and it is extraordinary. What they bring to Villa Park makes this place so unique and special. What I've learned is to leave it alone."

Chris Heck
Aston Villa v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship
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To many fans delight, Heck has learned that to play with parts of the club that are of major importance to the fans such as the Holte End is not the best idea. Heck has said that he will replace the seats, introduce rail seating and give the area a general clean up which is great news for the Holte End faithful.

"We are working around the clock to change the stadium and improve our merchandising."

Chris Heck

What really remains now for Villa and the community is thinking about what the future can hold for Villa Park as plans are evident of an expansion. With Villa continuing to improve on the pitch, the plans to develop and increase the size of the North Stand will take the stadium's capacity up to around 50,000.

With the season ticket waiting list currently standing at over 10,000 this expansion would prove vital in generating great revenue for the club. However, a lot of this also depends on the ongoing issue regarding local travel and Heck claims that talks with the local council are ongoing to improve the rail and road travel around the ground.

Heck has a lot of work on his hands to transform Villa into the super club that he and the owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris are setting their sights on. For the time being though, Villa fans will be encouraged by Heck's words and will look forward to seeing the improvements to the clubs infrastructure over the next couple of years. The recent developments of advertising of Villa's new kit deal with Adidas is certainly a good start!