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Villa's plan to rebuild North Stand

Sport | Published:

Villa owner Randy Lerner has confirmed work on the North Stand will begin this year after describing it as the "centre-piece of our next big plan."

Villa owner Randy Lerner has confirmed work on the North Stand will begin this year after describing it as the "centre-piece of our next big plan."

Lerner plans to increase Villa Park's capacity from 42,000 to 50,000 and aims to achieve it by redeveloping the North Stand, which was built in the 1970's.

The club already have planning permission to carry out work on the stand and, while Lerner is yet to put a definitive timescale on plans, it's high on his list of priorities.

He said: "The capacity issue, the focus on Villa Park, is very real. Taking the north end of the ground and improving it, modernising it, should be part of our short-term strategy.

"I am conscious of the fact this is an attendance-driven business. If you don't have attendance at some point your success will decline and so there are a variety of balancing acts that go into figuring out how to generate additional capacity and what price you're going to do it.

"We will start this year but not on a grand design project. We have internally grappled with the visitors' entrance. For example, there's been a lot of debate internally on what would be the first thing you see coming down Witton Lane.

"You'll see small signs but again, sticking to the issue of what's appropriate to spend given our ambitions for the summer, there's a balancing act.

"The time frame will be either 2 to 4 years or 1 to 3 years, it depends. There are a couple of things that need to click to put us in a position to really do something special.

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"It is the centrepiece of our next big plan."

On the subject of extending Villa's capacity, Lerner does not know how many extra season tickets the club sell and is wary of being left with the possibility of empty seats each week.

He added: "I don't have that degree of knowledge or confidence. I would like to know before we decide to do anything. It's a hard thing to know.

"There are clubs in this country that thought they knew, got it wrong and got into a lot of trouble. Does it mean 60,000 seats is the right number?

"I would predict no, probably not."

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