July 12, 2013 by backofthenetjl
We haven’t had too many entries lately, but the series has returned, with Josh Davis giving is a bit of insight into what it’s like being a Villa fan.
This week pretty much summed up what supporting Aston Villa is like. Inevitable if not predicable disappointment.
With the transfer request of Christian Benteke, we were reminded of the fact that really, Villa are a stepping stone now for many players. Ashley Young, Stuart Downing, James Milner, even Dwight Yorke decided they had achieved all they needed at Villa Park, it wasn’t offering them quite enough and that they deserved bigger and better things. Most go onto league titles, some go on to be moked for leaving for such a high fee but either way, they leave Villa because we can’t offer them the success they crave or have been told they deserve. Agents play a part but ultimately, the truth hurts. Players like Milner and Yorke have gone on to win the Premiership, play in the champions league and win F.A cups etc. Nobody can blame them for that.
Villa are still a ‘big’ club now, only in the sense that the Midlands of late has provided pretty shocking teams. With the exception of West Brom last season and credit to them, Villa have been the only team from the region to be taken seriously in the last 10/15 years. That means a great deal. In most office places or schools and colleges round here, you’ll get a real mix of football supporter, the usual Manchester United and Liverpool fan but it’s the collection of fans from local sides that brings the most passion out in football talk. Wolves, Blues, Albion, Villa fans love to have the bragging rights. Most of the times, it’s the Villains who can claim the top spot so that’s a nice feeling. But success is hard to come by, especially as a Villa fan. There’s a large percentage of Villa fans who still cling on to the 1982 European Cup win as if it holds any significance in the modern game. “We’re massive, we’ve won a European cup” Honestly, I can’t stand all that stuff. It means nothing now. The competition has changed, so has the rest of football. For me, they’re as bad as England fans who bring up 1966 before every tournament as if it means we still have to be taken seriously. People need to live in the real world. The one where Villa have no chance of even qualifying for the Champions League they once won…
I’m a Dad of 2 young boys and I really can’t wait to take my lads to Villa Park, carrying on the tradition my Dad started with me. Having a young family means going to games isn’t quite a regular as i’d like. Financially, watching a match now is classed as a treat, but last season amongst all the relegation worry, I did go to some great games. I didn’t actually see us lose. The 3-2 win over QPR was massive but the match that sticks in my mind, without doubt the best atmosphere I’ve experienced was the 6-1 over Sunderland. Not only because of the importance of the win but the noise! I’ve never been to a game where the fans made such a sound. Fro the kick off to the final whistle. A full house that night, just under 41,000. It felt like there were 70,000 in the place. That’s what I love about Villa Park, when it gets noisy, it’s like being at the best gig you’ve ever seen. I don’t remember many games I went to as a kid. Even the 1996 Coca Cola cup final, (Villa’s last silverware win) is a blur to me. Sat at the very back of the old Wembley, behind two women who had a bunch of the biggest claret and blue balloons ever made is all I can picture when I look back to that game.
I guess what it means supporting Villa has changed quite a bit in the last few years. Under Martin O’Neill there was the feeling that maybe, just maybe something special was going to happen. Quite honestly, I was always sceptical about MON. Shrewd he was not, wasteful he absolutely was! Selling Gary Cahill and swapping him with Zat Knight perhaps the most daft decision he made as Villa manager. There’s been such a fall from grace since he left but i’m glad he left. Problem is, add a 1982 European Cup win to a period of fake success in and you have yet another deluded section of the fan base. 3 successive top 6 finishes and a few Wembley appearances is all nice but we achieved nothing under MON. Nothing at all. There’s still a feeling that somehow, that O’Neill period was successful. It wasn’t.
I’m very proud to be a Villa fan. Even in the last few years when it’s gone from almost highs to definite lows. With decisions made like employing Alex McLeish and seeing almost an entire English international midfield sold to the highest bidders and with the last two seasons being defensively a weekly nightmare, I’m still proud. The club is still a massive club, because of the fans. Despite those who can’t accept the glory days died long ago, there’s some brilliant supporters at this club. That’s one reason why that Sunderland result meant so much I think. Fans at that game saw the team they knew existed, the faith we’d paid in Lambert finally pay off and you could see the players felt the same.
I love the new kit, I love our new signings, I love Paul Lambert and most of all, I love Andi Weimann.
Supporting Villa isn’t about being the best in the midlands, I don’t care about the other teams. It’s about having that faith, time after time in the side just doing what you know they can do. Believing. Even when you know really, there’s not much chance of anything special happening. Keep that belief and you never know. Maybe, just maybe it will.
Follow Josh on twitter: @afansopinion
Follow me on twitter: @DisguisedPass