Aston Villa Football Club - Call of the Wild

Aston Villa Football Club

Key Data

FocusDevelopment of relationships and team building Aston Villa First team squad
Objectivesto identify and develop key team development behaviours and to transfer these to the pitch
Delegate Number: 35
VenueOur Development Centre Brecon Beacons

The Client

The squad from Premier League Football Club Aston Villa

Aston Villa Football Club

The Objective/Brief

The management team asked for a challenging programme to build team relationships

The Solution

Aston Villa Team Building

The Programme

A two day programme with an overnight stay


The group were split into teams sent to rescue a downed reconnaissance pilot (RP) and recover the camera and film from the plane.

The search for RP took place during the afternoon and early evening set in the demanding and beautiful natural environment of the Brecon Beacons and was combined with a series of challenges to test the team’s:

• Communication skills
• Problem solving
• Leadership
• Team work
• Individual behaviours
• Navigation skills

The exercise concluded when, having successfully completed the challenges, having followed the clues, the teams tracked down the RP’s hiding place to secure their extraction.

Overnight Camping

The event continued with an overnight camp. Giving the opportunity to the team to experience the beauty of night time in the hills and to take part in the challenges which flow naturally from setting up camp – pitching tents, building a fire and  cooking their own evening meal – all superb tests of people’s behaviour and attitude at the end of a demanding day.


Range of  experienced staff including our Head of Programme Delivery Dr.Phil Knowles and former Royal Marines.

Outcome and Impact

Aston Villa Top of the League

Top placed English Manager in the Premier League and team on course for highest league finish in top flight since 2010 when then under the management of  Martin O’Neil.


‘I was just one of the boys that day rather than the actual leader.’

‘A lot you could see thinking ‘What are we doing? but as it went you could see they were thinking ‘This is all right. Actually, better than running round a field in pre-season’… They certainly got a lot out of it – you saw new relationships form.’

Dean Smith, Manager

“Out of all this he has emerged with a stronger club and a markedly improved team.”

Jonathan Northcroft, Football Correspondent, The Sunday Times. Article in Sunday Times 7th March 2021 where this event was referenced by Dean Smith.