Blue chip supporters of Aston Villa have thrown their weight behind the claret-and-blue by snapping up new corporate packages.
And their loyalty, along with that of a record number of season ticket holders, is set to be rewarded after the club assured fans today their spending will directly benefit manager Martin O'Neill and his plans for team-building.
The club is celebrating a doubling in the take up of executive memberships for its new corporate facilities which will be situated in four new executive lounges designed as part of the major refurbishment of the Trinity Road stand.
Many boxholders have already shunned the traditional corporate facilities for a place in one of the new suites which will rival the facilities at New Wembley and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.
Villa also said so many fans had expressed an interest in the 24,000 season tickets available at Villa Park that a waiting list had been formed.
It had been feared a ticket price hike of about six per cent would deter fans in the current economic crisis, but the club - which finished sixth in the top flight last season - is benefiting from a feel-good factor.
Staff say the new Trinity Road stand will be complete for the opening Premier League match of the season against Manchester City at Villa Park on August 15 after work began on the very last day of last season.
Construction workers have been toiling around the clock to ensure the new directors' lounge, McGregors suite, Trinity Suite and 82 Lounge are available on time and prepared for the European football they hope will be a regu-lar fixture again at Villa Park.
An Aston Villa spokesman said companies were flocking to take up the multi-million pound facilities which are set to rival the best in the country and assured supporters the revenue generated would be ploughed straight back into O'Neill's budget for new players this summer.
The new suites give supporters the chance to dine with directors including club chairman Randy Lerner or enjoy fine dining with views overlooking both Villa Park and Aston Park. New VIP seating overlooking the half-way line has been installed while bars offer relaxed and informal meeting areas for corporate customers and their clients.
Among the first companies to take up one of the new packages was McCann Erickson Birmingham - part of the world's largest agency network, McCann Worldgroup. Chief executive Dean Lovett said his company was only too happy to jump on board.
He said: "Villa are a massive brand and clearly moving in the right direction. We have secured a package because we are all excited about the future of this great club.
"The new hospitality facilities will be among the best in the country."
Aston Villa's head of hospitality Alison Plant said: "Executive membership sales for the coming season are already 100 per cent up year-on-year. Seasonal membership for the new Trinity package has all but sold out with only some choice seating available.
"The new facilities combine traditional stained glass windows and solid oak flooring with contemporary fixtures and fittings."
The Trinity Road project is the brainchild of Randy Lerner and follows the introduction of a new club crest, the £4 million refurbishment of the Holte Pub and the Holte End mosaic...SUPL: