Everyone loves an away day, right?
There’s something about travelling away from home, with a couple of thousand like-minded fans who also love being packed into an away end and pride themselves on out-singing the home supporters.
At the home of Aston Villa, Villa Park, away fans are tucked into a corner of the stadium adjacent to where the 18-yard-box starts in the Doug Ellis Stand, plenty close enough to the ardent home support in the North Stand for a bit of good-natured (or not) back-and-forth.
We have had a look at Football Ground Guide to see what visiting fans really think.
These views are written by away fans and cover everything from parking to the quality of the pies.
Here are their verdicts…
Simon M (Newcastle United)
Newcastle fans in fine voice as per usual. Villa fans quiet as mice until they scored, then suddenly the quiet friendly fans from outside wanted to give it some, obviously with barriers and stewards to hold the back.
Newcastle should have been 2.0 up before Villa scored, and it was a bicycle kick from Danny Ings not an overhead kick as spouted by the media sycophants, a poorly defended one at that, but that seems to be Newcastle this season. Went onto lose 2.0 but the football didn’t ruin a good day out
John Hague (Leicester City)
I hadn’t been to Villa Park since 1986 when I saw Sheffield Wednesday lose 2-1 to Everton in the FA Cup Semi final, so this was a long-overdue revisit. Villa Park is just one of those iconic grounds and I just wished the magnificent Trinity Road Stand could have been saved in some way.
Bournemouth fan Paul Sheppard:
Although I had been to Villa Park three times previously it’s always a good ground to visit with a decent atmosphere. It was also my first game of the season as well as our first away game.
I knew what to expect and our seats in the lower tier were excellent. The game was a complete sell-out so the ground was nice and full. Villa Park always has the look and feel of a proper old school ground.
A great day out. Great journeys to and from the ground, free parking, a lovely summer’s day and a 2-1 victory away from home at a traditional footy ground with a top atmosphere. What’s not to like? Just hope we are both in the Prem again next season…..
Andrew Walker, Brighton fan:
It is a big traditional ground. The away fans are located on the side near one end. This area has a good view and you are fairly close to the pitch.
The first time I have been there and Villa are still one of the biggest names in football. I was expecting a big crowd and a good atmosphere.
We bossed the game until we went down to ten men after half an hour. At 1 – 0 up though we still looked like getting at least a point and kept on creating chances. They scored and won the game 2 – 1 with the last action of the game. I’m surprised Grealish made it off the pitch……he needed to walk past a few of our players without falling over!!! Facilities were reasonable but not necessarily recommendable.
Tim Scales, Norwich City fan:
Villa Park is one of the best grounds in the country, which feels steeped in tradition and history. We were in the lower tier of the away end, fairly close to the halfway line and, despite only being six rows from the front, we had a very good view of the game.
The lower tier concourse is relatively spacious but, despite going down to the bar to get a beer before the half time whistle, I did not manage to get served in the 15 minute interval even with only moderately busy queues.
Mark Wardell, Millwall, 22/4/19
My 5th visit to Villa Park and the place never disappoints. We sat in the lower tier this season and with the sun beaming down, it was very warm. Maybe upper tier next season.
Matt, Nottingham Forest 28/11/18
I found the”Villa Chippy” around three minutes walk away from Villa Park.
Very friendly staff willing to have a chat about the game, and had possibly the best battered sausage known to man.
Definitely worth a try if want a quick bit of food before the game. The home fans were home fans! Obviously, there is a rivalry between these two big teams and it showed between the banterous chants, but nothing violent.
Adam Humphries is a Reading fan, he writes:
“A decent day out, normally better it seems with a better away following and access to The Witton Arms pub.
“The day overall was decent, but made great by the late equaliser we scored!”
James Busby, a Reading fan who visited on 15/4/17, wrote:
“In one word Villa Park is beautiful and oozes character unlike the modern bowl like stadiums that are popping up over the country now days. The Holte End is very unique in design and if you have enough time take a walk around the ground, you will not regret it.
“Inside the ground is huge with the Holte End to our left and the North stand to our right. The Main Stand is opposite with the tunnel and team dugouts on this side. Between the Main Stand and the Holte End is where the executive boxes are and looks like a mini apartment block.
“I would recommend a visit to Villa Park for any football fan who get the chance to go to and I will definitely go again. Just hope that the atmosphere is better next time.”
Tom Bellamy, a Barnsley fan who visited on 14/2/17, wrote:
“On my approach to the ground the first thing that came into view was the Holte End Stand at Villa Park which looked huge and somehow reminded me of a Shopping Mall that you see in many cities. Before I entered the Doug Ellis Stand, which is adjacent to the Holte End Stand, I was searched and frisked very thoroughly I thought by the Stewards.
“I thought the seating inside the ground was very adequate with plenty of leg room and a good view of the pitch. Looking around the ground and taking it all in it was really impressive.
“The attendance tonight of almost 26,000 probably didn’t do the ground any justice as it was only half full, and apparently the lowest gate of the season here at Villa Park.”
Kieran B, an Ipswich Town fan who visited on 11/2/17, wrote:
“A huge ground with four tall stands each side, very impressive and with it mingling with the old Victorian streets it gives a good feel to the place unlike these modern stadiums you find on retail parks next to TGI Fridays or KFC.
“Stewards were fine but were extremely overkill. You would have thought we were Birmingham City with the amount that were there. I had a Chicken Balti pie, which was very nice. However with a near sold out lower tier the facilities were cramped.”
Bob Davis, a Preston North End fan who visited on 21/1/17, wrote:
“After getting the local train to Witton Station we made the short walk to the ground passing the Witton Arms that again seemed to have noisy Preston fans in residence. Inside the Villa Park the away fans were located in the Doug Ellis Stand with Preston fans located in both the top and bottom tiers. We were in the bottom tier but even from row three we had a good view of the pitch.
“The ground itself is impressive and has the feeling of a proper football ground that has seen a lot of history in its day. The stands are large on all four sides have been modernised over the years becoming all seater and with a decent crowd in it was quite an impressive sight.
“Villa Park is probably one of my favourite grounds and the way thing are going I may well be visiting again next season.”
Cameron, a Leeds United fan who visited on 29/12/16, wrote:
“I thought Villa Park looked bigger than I had imagined and also quite dated, with some of the stand looking not like a football ground, and but more like a office block. The away end was small and compact in the corner of one side stand.
“I thought the facilities were poor and outdated for a recently relegated Premier League team, the concourse was extremely cramped in the upper tier and there was no alcohol on offer.
“Hopefully we both can get promoted as neither club deserves to be in the Championship but I can’t wait to visit Villa Park again in the future.”
Alex Honcoop, a neutral fan who also attended the match against Leeds on 29/12/16, wrote:
“The home fans were very friendly outside the stadium.
“As I prefer ‘Old school’ stadiums, I’ve always been a massive fan of Villa Park and it didn’t disappoint. The traditional outside design of the Holte End really was brilliant. The other sides were quite nice in particular the Trinity Road Stand.”
“We made our way to our seats in the lower section of the Doug Ellis Stand. The inside of the ground certainly didn’t disappoint, it’s huge! The Holte End was particularly impressive.
“I’ve found that some grounds look a lot smaller in person than on television, but Villa Park didn’t have this effect. The ground had a real sense of character to it opposed to the generic bowl designs which is becoming more popular these days.”