European football may not yet be a cast-iron certainty at Villa Park next season but supporters will soon be able to sample a continental atmosphere on the terraces.
Chairman Randy Lerner agreed to pay for a 50ft-wide flag to be unfurled in the Holte End stand five minutes before kick-off on matchdays and passed over the heads of supporters. The club came up with four possible designs and supporters have been voting in their thousands for the most popular design.
The claret-and-blue chequered flag they chose, unveiled for the first time today, is aimed at boosting the atmosphere on match days. Such flags are common on the terraces of all the big venues in Europe, from AC Milan's San Siro stadium to Barcelona's Camp Nou.
Fans had already raised funds for a series of banners which now hang around the ground and which mark moments in the club's proud history, including one quoting the commentary that accompanied Villa's winning goal in the 1982 European Cup final.
Lerner, who took over the ownership of the club in the autumn of 2006 from former chairman Doug Ellis, has already made several improvements to the ground, including introducing home fans behind both goals to boost the atmosphere.