Aston Villa Away Wheelchair Supporter Report

Return to Projects page

Aston Villa were one of the original signatories to the pledge in 2015 by all Premier League clubs that they would meet the requirements contained in the Accessible Stadia Guidelines.

DAG’s view that now this club has exhausted their two year period in order to be fully compliant, they have collected tens of millions in parachute payments in the past, without even attempting to become compliant, they should now be heavily sanctioned for totally reneging on that pledge.

The following should be demanded of the club.

· All Table 4 numerical requirements for wheelchair, ambulant and accessible
toilets to be met without delay.

· Disabled away fans relocated separately from the home fans

· Protection provided for away disabled areas

· Unobstructed viewing for away disabled fans - wheelchair and ambulant

See the report below on unsafe conditions regarding wheelchair away fans being situated for the last decade in with the home fans.

Action awaited.

Aston Villa Report Dec 2020.docx

Crystal Palace –

Away end disabled wheelchair viewing obstructed by standing fans

Hi all,

Everton have played at Selhurst Park twice this season and I really wish I hadn’t had bothered going on either occasion (and not because of the results!)

As we received a larger allocation for the FA Cup match, I sat further down the Arthur Waite Stand (what would normally be home supporters' seating) to see if that would make any difference. The only improvement was adjacent companion seating, unlike in the away accessible viewing area.

Visiting Selhurst Park has been problematic every season for many of our disabled fans and we have brought this up with the club for several seasons (with LPF being made aware too). In addition to the sightlines, stewarding is often poor with non-disabled supporters being allowed to stand in and around accessible viewing areas making access difficult and access to and from the accessible toilets before and during half time is beyond difficult, with accessible toilets often in unhygienic states and leaking.

I was speaking to a friend who was at the Arsenal game last night and we are both questioned why we put ourselves going to Crystal Palace away when it really is one of the worst grounds to visit for a disabled away fan. To be fair it isn’t great for any away fan to visit.

Best wishes,


Amy Wilson

Fans Liaison, Access and Administration Officer| Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE)

Crystal Palace.

Awful ground to get to. Awful ground to park at. Worse view in the whole football pyramid. Always say I will never go again but still end up going due to the love for my club.


Darren Cash Chair DSA Wolves FC

Level Playing Field have had the following complaints about this issue at Crystal Palace on their

website for the previous EIGHTEEN YEARS.

  • Anne Hyde, who attended Crystal Palace v Arsenal, Monday 10/4/17

4 years ago

My experience again at Crystal Palace was again very poor. The club last year had blocked off the row in front of the wheelchair platform which meant that wheelchair users had a reasonable view.

However, this year, the stewards were quite happy to let fans stand in the row which evidently should not have fans in. When asking one steward, he said they cannot do anything about it. I then asked the chief steward who said he would remove them but never did. I was infuriated to find that evidently the people in front of me were friends of his, and I very much doubt if they were Arsenal supporters. I even had one of them climbing over the barrier by me to get out!

Another issue is that the carer is now sitting behind you which is not acceptable as I believe all carers should be sitting alongside the wheelchair user.

  • Steven Powell, who attended Crystal Palace v Arsenal, Monday 10/4/17

4 years ago

The obstructed views complained of by other reviewers weren’t nearly as much of a problem as the club appears to have removed rows of seats in front of the wheelchair platform in which I and my companion were situated which was parallel with the goal line at the Whitehorse Lane end of the Arthur Wait Stand.

As usual most of the Arsenal support stood throughout the match. The only obstruction this caused was to the view of the nearside touchline, irritating but I’ve experienced worse. We did howeve9r suffer the obstructed views experienced by able-bodied supporters too due to the low roof and roof supports. The Arthur Wait Stand is a classic example of cheap and nasty, every expense spared football architecture.

The arrangement where companions are seated on an uncomfortable bench with no back unadjacent to the wheelchair space of their friend is wholly unsatisfactory. Catering facilities are inaccessible to wheelchair users. A pleasant young woman did come and take refreshment orders for delivery. She got my order wrong. It wasn’t corrected.

I can’t comment on the toilets as I didn’t use them. Reaching Selhurst Park is complicated as neither of the two nearby stations (Norwood Junction and Selhurst) are wheelchair accessible, requiring us to take a bus to complete our journey through very slow rush hour traffic.

  • Paul Mckinley, who attended Crystal Palace v Everton

5 years ago

I recently attended the Palace v Everton game, on arrival I first went to the disabled toilets. These toilets were a disgrace – not only was the floor wet in which I slipped hurting my hand, the seat was also broken and the lock on door wouldn’t work. Not a great start. On arrival to the seating area I noticed they had put nes seats in for the carers to sit on which were situated behind the wheelchairs – when the crowd started to fill up I found fans standing up in front of me. I asked them to move as i knew they couldn’t sit down as everyone stands up in front of us. The problem was that they weren’t even supposed to be there and I asked the stewards to move them. The stewards said they couldn’t do anything about it even though they had seats to sit or stand by in a different part of the stand. The steward then asked if I wanted a blanket, I just laughed replying that I paid a lot of money to watch the match not get a blanket, now whilst I probably saw 40 percent of the game my carer who took a day off work spending and costing her a lot of money for her not to be able to watch the game. I know palace have tried to improve the viewing and it is slighty better but still is in my view the worst ground in the premier league. I was tempted not to go but as i go every game i just couldn’t miss it. i just hope when I go back next season they will have finally sorted this out and let us wheelchair users a view of game without obstacles.

  • Anonymous, who attended Everton

5 years ago

Crystal Palace have at least tried to make changes to improve the view from the away end for disabled supporters, but for me it’s still one of the poorest matchday experiences I have encountered. The changes made involve the removal of two rows of seats to extend the area were the wheelchairs are placed. This does help slightly to improve the view of pitch. I could see the far side of the pitch this time without having to press myself up into a standing position. However, seeing anything of the nearside of the pitch is still extremely difficult, so again I had to try to stand up to see any action that was down this side of the pitch. I still had to press myself up to be able to see clearly either goal, but at least I could see the goals by doing this, on a previous visit even doing this gave me little view of the goals. If this area was elevated, it would go a long way to improving the view from here.

Carer seats have been put in now, but they aren’t really adjacent to were the wheelchairs are, they are set back, so talking to your PA during the game still involves have to turn around to be able to speak to them or your PA having to come over to you. Also the view for the carers from these seats is poor and they encounter the same difficulties of viewing the pitch as the disabled supporters do. The carers were told by the stewards that they had to sit down as they were blocking the view for those fans sitting behind, but nothing was said to any other fans who were standing during the game (I am not blaming fans for standing up as this always happens at away game).

The locks on the accessible toilets didn’t lock and the toilet seat in one of the cubicles was broke.Whilst it is good the club have tried to make things better, there is still much to be done to make Crystal Palace an away game that I look forward to attending.

  • Bleddyn Hopkins, who attended Crystal Palace v Swansea

6 years ago

The disabled supporters complained of a poor view due to spectators standing in front of them. From a carer’s perspective i didn’t have any problems and would rate it as overall the best away match day experience in the Premier League.

  • Anthony Joy, who attended Crystal Palace v Arsenal, 21/02/15

7 years ago

This seasons trip to Selhurst Park wasnt one I’d been looking forward to, given the awful view we had last year. However, I’d heard of the improvements made to make the view better, so we headed down to South London with some level of hope that we’d see at least some of the game.

I think credit is due to Palace for taking steps to address the chronic lack of view experienced last season. At least 2 rows have been removed in the Arthur Wait stand with the platform not necessarily raised, but moved further out to improve lines of sight. As the picture shows, the view was pretty good, I could see each goal and only the far corner was obscured. So on these grounds, well done to Palace.

However, the issues persist with companions having to stand (there were only 3 folding chairs available), in addition to not being able to access the food & drink bars, and as for the toilet….

As an aside parking is always difficult at and around Selhurst Park so I tried taking the train from London Bridge to Thornton Heath – this is fully wheelchair accessible and only a 10minute walk to the ground.

  • Brian Wilson, who attended Everton 30/01/2015

7 years ago

I attended the game as the carer for my sister. Once again my seat was not next to my sister in the wheelchair bays, but on the front row of the back row, nowhere near to where my sister was sat. So I stood next to my sister all game. I was told by stewards that I needed to sit in my own seat as I was encouraging other fans to stand up in the disabled area, I refused to move so I could stay by sister in case she needed anything during the game. I was told fold down seats are usually provided for the carers but they hadn’t enough on the day. I have been to Selhurst Park 3 times with my sister and there has never been any fold down seats given to carers.

The passageway leading to the ramp and the ramp area itself was very crowded and it was really difficult to push my sister through to the toilet and back again.

Improvements have been made to the viewing area but they haven’t really had the desired effect as my sister still struggled to see the whole pitch clearly. I had to tell my sister where the ball was, who had possession etc every time the ball was down the near touchline as she couldn’t see anything that was happening.

For a Premier League ground, I am still of the opinion that Selhurst Park is very poor in terms of its disabled facilities for away supporters, with hardly any improvements made in over 10 years of going there.

  • Chris Smith, who attended Crystal Palace v Everton, 31st January 2015

7 years ago

The offer of a free ticket by Crystal Palace to all disabled Everton fans was made following thebad experience of last season’s corresponding fixture. I understand that 3 rows of seats have been removed in front of the disabledplatform toprovide a better view of the playing area. I am not convinced this will improve things for the disabled spectator. I decided not to travel for the game given the expense I would incur for this fixture and the likelyhood that i am left disappointed once again. I hope for the sake of my fellow EDSA members making the trip that I am to be proved w

View for disabled away supporters when fans stand

  • Amy Wilson, who attended Crystal Palace v Everton 9th Nov 2013

8 years ago

Details of the letter sent to Crystal Palace:

I follow Everton home and away and over the years, have experienced good facilities and bad, but I feel that Selhurst Park is one of the worst, if not the worst I have experienced and in my opinion, things have not improved since my last visit to this ground in 2004.

Firstly on my arrival at the ground, I used my RADAR key to access the disabled toilets, after getting through the main door I found that the two cubicles inside would not lock, but as there was nobody else in the toilets I was able to use the facilities in private, with the knowledge that only another RADAR key holder could access the area. However on trying to leave the toilets I found that I was unable to open the main door. I unlocked it with no problem, but the door just would not open. I had to call my brother who was my carer on the day to come down from the concourse to open it from the outside with RADAR key. He too struggled to do this, it took him a over 5 minutes or so to get me out, so no wonder I couldn’t manage it.

When returning to the same toilets before kick off I found that the main door was now wedged open and that I didn’t to use need my RADAR key, but this meant that there was a constant stream of non disabled supporters using these toilets so I had to queue, eventually when getting access to a cubicle I then had to get my brother to stand guard over the door and pull it shut from the outside as it would not lock so I at least had some privacy from the other supporters who were continuing to use the next cubicle.

At half time the ramp area and concourse was so crowded, I and other wheelchair users could not access the toilets at all, and even if we could have fought our way through the crowds in our wheelchairs, we again would have had to queue as the toilets were being used by non disabled fans.

These are simple things to fix and I would hope that you would remedy these issues before your next home game by fixing the main door, attaching locks to the cubicle doors and ensuring that there are stewards on hand to assist in keeping non disabled supporters from using the toilets and keeping access to them much clearer than it was on Saturday.

Secondly and the ultimately the most disappointing part of the Selhurst Park experience for me was the disabled ‘viewing’ area. Astonishingly, my brother did not have a seat next to me as there appear to be no carer seats in this area, but was allocated one in the tier behind me, granted this was in the front row, but too far away for a conversation let alone be help me if I actually had required assistance. He was told by a steward that if he wanted to be near to me he would have to stand next to me, he was not allowed to even sit in the seats in front of the disabled view area, which would have made conversation and assistance much easier. Surely carers should be able to have a seat next to or at least as near as possible to those who they are attending the match with?

As I sat on my own waiting for the game to start, the away end began to fill up and it became more and more apparent that I was not going to be able to see the pitch, and as the game started this fear became a reality as I literally could only see the backs of other Everton supporters. Due to my disability, I am unable to stand and am only little (approx 4ft 4in) but despite this, I did all I could to improve my view, I tried to position my wheelchair in different places and I even took my coat off and sat on it to try and elevate my position, on a chilly November day, in a ground that unbelievably had no hot drinks on sale. This drastic action did not help in any real way. So I had no option other than to try and push myself up on my hands to a half standing position just to try and see some action on the pitch. This was not something that I could sustain for any real length of time as is caused me real pain and discomfort in my wrists, back and legs so could only do it when there was any set pieces at either end of the ground. My brother had to advise me when I needed to stand as I couldn’t see when the ball had gone out of play for a corner or a free kick had been awarded etc.

One sympathetic steward did suggest that I could move nearer the entrance but this did not improve my view at all, other stewards said that it was not their problem that we as disabled supporters could not see and there was no other areas that I could be moved to. I do understand that fans are supposed to be seated during the game, but in reality that never happens, a lot of the fans were standing up because they also had poor sight lines of the pitch. I have been to other grounds where fans are in front of the disabled supporters and have been standing throughout the game. I have seen far more of those games than I did on Saturday. Stamford Bridge, the Etihad stadium and St Andrews being just a small example of these grounds. I have attached pictures of my view at the match and I ask you, would you pay £53, which is what I paid for my match ticket and coach travel to the game and endure over a 12 hour journey, to sit here and have these views?

On your club’s website it states that “Spaces for wheelchair users can be found on a raised platform in the away section for away supporters.” In my opinion, the location of where the away disabled supporters were placed on Saturday was not on a raised platform at all. If it had been raised, it would have made seeing the pitch easier. It was nothing more than extra space on the gangway. Your website also states that “A dedicated steward will meet you upon entry through the turnstile and answer any questions about your matchday experience at Selhurst Park”. No steward was there when went entered the stadium or throughout the game, as I would have spoken to them to ask what could be done about the problems the Everton disabled supporters were experiencing. The only helpful steward I spoke to all game was the one I mentioned earlier who could only suggest I moved further along the gangway/platform. He was just a general matchday steward, not a specific one

for disabled supporter enquiries.

Thirdly access from the stand to the concourse where the exit and toilets where located was hard to negotiate as the stewards did little to clear the area or keep it flowing, this resulted in a blockages on the ramp that could have caused injuries, especially at end of the match when all the fans were exiting the stand, at no point did I see a steward there. I don’t think fans were aware that the exit could also be reached through the concourse as no stewards seemed to be telling them and a vast number exited via the only point of exit that the disabled fans had to available to use, hence the blockages.

I am genuinely very disappointed at the way I and other disabled supporters were treated and the level of service that was received. I am sure that you are aware of the Equality Act which states that it is unlawful for service providers to discriminate against disabled supporters by providing them with a lower standard of service, so I am asking you, what are you going to do to rectify this issues but particularly the abysmal view from the disabled area?

As I said previously, I do not feel any improvements have been made in the 9 years since my last visit to Selhurst Park. Surely in that time, some reasonable adjustments could have been made to help improve the experience of the away disabled supporters. If any adjustments have been made, I failed to see on Saturday how they have improved things.

I feel that it is only a matter of time before a disabled supporter is hurt or sustains damage from struggling to get a glimpse a game that they have paid good money to see or gaining access to and from the toilets and to the exit. I count myself lucky that I have no real long term affects from the stretching and twisting and putting all my weight on to my arms that I felt I had to do just to see some part of to game other than some more aches and pains than those I usually suffer from after a long day out in my wheelchair. I really did not enjoy any part of yesterday’s game and felt like I wasted my time and my money on attending a game which I hardly saw.

  • Ant Joy, who attended Palace v Arsenal 26/10/13

8 years ago

View for away disabled supporters during the game when supporters stood in front.

  • Ant Joy, who attended Palace v Arsenal 26/10/13

8 years ago

View before the game for disabled supporters in the away end.

  • Ant Joy, who attended Palace v Arsenal, 26/10/13

8 years ago

With Palace promoted, this was a chance to visit the ground for the first time in 9 years in the hope that they (the club!) may have improved the facilities in the antiquated Arthur Wait stand. On our arrival, I quickly forgot that idea; Selhurst Park has (by far) the worst viewing spot for away wheelchairs in the Premier League and dare I say it, many other leagues as well.

Palace have switched where the Away fans are located in the Arthur Wait, which means that the away wheelchairs are now located with their own fans. Obviously this is a good thing, particularly for atmosphere. However, we all know that away fans will stand for the duration of the game…well, it seems we all know apart from CPFC! As the picture shows, you could barely see one half of the pitch between the heads of 6’2″ blokes in front of you. The goal at the Holmesdale Rd end of the ground was completely blocked (I caught a couple of glimpses of the post). Two of the Arsenal fans in wheelchairs had to stand for the duration of the game.

Palace charged us £24 to see, well nothing. My companion stood for most of it. I really cant see why Palace cant put the wheelchairs at pitchside in front of the away fans, accessing the ground from the Sainsburys End. Ok, you may get wet but you’d see the game which surely is the point of going?

Im echoing previous comments on this sight as to how poor Palace is for away wheelchairs. They could so easily improve things by relocating wheelchairs to the front, or simply netting off the 2 rows in front of the wheelchairs (ala Charlton, Stoke, Man City etc). Money cannot be the obstacle for Palace; particularly given they paid out to install a new TV gantry.

If you dont improve it, at least dont have the cheek to charge for the privilege of seeing nothing.

  • debra lidgley, who attended Crystal Palace v Tottenham

8 years ago

Arrived at stadium, it is quite a long walk from the station, I saw one of our stewards I know from Spurs who took us through the disabled entrance. You go up the ramp to the viewing area located in the back of staduim. The seats are old wooden ones, very uncomfortable, this is where the disabled ambulant supporters sit. Unfortunalty you actually don’t get to sit down because with all the fans standing up you can’t see anything.

It is no better for wheelchair users either as they are put behind the fans and the same problem occurs, note for carers/PA’s with wheelchair users you have no seating, you have to stand.

I thought the stewarding was very poor, there were people smoking in the stand, they didn’t really seem to know what was going on or what to do, there were people doubling up on seats, standing on them which made it even more difficut to see.

They have 2 disabled toilets, now these are located in the main bit where all the away fans are. CRYSTAL PALACE YOU REALLY NEED TO HAVE A RADAR LOCK FITTED!

Unfortunatly because of their location all and everybody uses these toilets, I even saw one man urinating in the rubbish bin, ashamed to say he was a Spurs supporter, the toilets are in an awful state.

The view from our seats was poor. I could not see anything going on at the other end of the pitch.

Crystal Palace really need to improve their facilities for disabled visiting away fans they are non existent.

  • Colin Draper, who attended Hull City visting Supporter

8 years ago

Crystal Palace don’t have any parking and the view is also very bad when fans stand. I have called the club and they said you can park in the Tesco car park near the ground but after calling Tesco’s they said this is not the case. I will probably have to miss this game this season as I can’t get a helper for that game and can’t risk been parked miles away.

  • Andrew Paterson, who attended Crystal Palace V Leeds 15/06/2012

9 years ago

Appalling place to get to, appalling parking, no disabled facilities at all. It needs a complete overhal

  • Gary Deards, who attended 2006/07 season

15 years ago

Car parking was on residential side streets or the nearby Sainsbury car park. We arrived before 1pm and struggled to find a space (also watch height restriction for high sided vehicles).

Signage was poor and only 1 steward knew where to go (Entrance E6 Gate C).

Wheelchair places were near the top of an old stand (Athur Waite). Helper seats were positioned behind. The position was under cover although a cold wind blew through. There was a restricted view if supporters in seating in front stood up and also stand pillars partially obstructed view of pitch.

No provision was provided for away supporters to sit with/near their own fans. Given the stand was the same all the way along, it would not have been difficult to provide a similar wheelchair viewing areas by the away fans.

Refreshment areas were not accessible.

2 Disabled toilets in rear of stand were of reasonable size

  • Chas Banks, who attended v. Man Utd 2004

17 years ago

Getting There It’s a nightmare wherever you’re coming from. 5.5 hours from Manchester and a long, long 6.5 going home. Especially after losing!

Parking You have to take your chances on the car park next to the ground which is also a supermarket car park so it’s a real bun fight getting in. Once in it’s free though.

Entrance Of course the entrance is as far from the car park as it’s possible to get. PLUS you have to get up a very steep hill. Nightmare.

The Viewing Position You go up a ramp which delivers you to the mid section of the stand. As an away fan, it isn’t too bad, as the fans in front of you tend to stand up at different times than yur own fans, so you can see some of the game. In general though the view is appalling and is totally dependent on people not standing up. Of course they do stand all the time as we all know.

Price,Toilets & Catering Palace have the worst disabled toilets I have ever encountered since going in to the wheelchair in 1996. On top of that they don’t supervise them and there is no Radar lock. This means of course the able bodied fans use them and you have to fight your way in and out.

The tickets were a 2 for 1 deal and were subsidised too. Personally, I’d rather have paid a bit more and had decent facilities.

Catering is impossible to access in a chair, so your helper will have to help you if you need a drink.

Marks 3/10 Worse than Charlton! I’ll never go again!