Sunday, 18 October 2009


View from the Press Box is i-ontheball's exclusive review of media facilities at the UK's Premier League grounds.

It doesn't claim to be comprehensive because it all depends on where I am despatched as a freelance reporter. But it does give an insight into the varying standards of work environment on offer.

Each stadium is rated on a five-star basis, with zero being the worst and five being the best.

Last season we finished with the rankings looking like this:

5: Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City
4: West Bromwich Albion
3: Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool
2: Everton

Now i-ontheball adds Aston Villa to the list. Two years ago, Villa Park would have been up alongside the Reebok and the City of Manchester Stadium on five stars, thanks to an excellent press box, centrally located with ample room for hacks and radio types to set up their kit. Surprisingly, at a time when press facilities generally are improving, Villa have gone the other way. The press box has been replaced by VIP seats (we are definitely not VIPs, in case anyone harbours any illusions!) and the reporters have been shifted sideways towards the Witton Lane End. This means many of them have a desperately poor view of action around the Holte End goal. Worktops and seats have shrunk like a budget airline. And the once-palatial press lounge is a shadow of its former self.

Star rating out five: 2

Coming soon: Molineux, KC Stadium and Turf Moor

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