What Aston Villa Means To Me

The famous Aston Villa. A club bound by tradition, oozing class from every fibre of its being. The club who’s former chairman, honoured by a statue outside the ground, founded the football league system itself. A club with 7 League titles, 7 FA Cups, 5 League cups and to top it all off, a European Cup. A club with a huge fanbase, and a beautiful, historic stadium. The rampant lion that we wear with pride. But what does Aston Villa mean to me?

As a lad from the coal mining towns of south Staffordshire, with a lifelong Wolves fan for a grandfather, and a dad who had very little interest in football, I always had Villa in my heart. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to explain. All I know is that in the photos of my early childhood, as far back as 4 or 5 years old, I was wearing Villa shirts, singing Villa songs, and telling everyone I was “Villa Till I Die”. My friends and family insist they have no idea how this happened; perhaps it was the neighbour across the road with his villa flags, or some kid at school? All I know is my earliest memory of Aston Villa is from the train into Birmingham, looking out the window and seeing Villa Park in all its glory and knowing. I just knew, somewhere in me, that Aston Villa was my club.

Having moved down South and spending most of my time surrounded by Southerners, my accent may have faded, along with some of my memories. But one thing that has never faded, and will never fade, is my love for my football club. While travel costs and work shifts have hampered my efforts to watch the mighty Villa, in the past few years, social media has allowed me to feel closer than ever before. Thanks to The Villa View, as well as Instagram and then eventually Twitter, I have spoken to what has now become hundreds of Villa fans, day in, day out. It’s an obsession. Sad as it may be, I now consider many of these people, from various social media platforms, to be my friends. We do talk more than I probably talk to relatives back home after all!

In Aston Villa Football Club, we find a diverse community of people whose paths may never have crossed otherwise. We find a team full of passion, captained by one of our own, and best of all, managed by one of our own. We are finally developing a philosophy, and turning round years of mismanagement. Sometimes being a villa fan seems like torture, but I don’t regret it for one minute. Even after the playoff final, when I, as I am sure did thousands of others, had a genuine feeling as close to grief as I have ever been without actually grieving. The relegation season was hard, but we had accepted it long before, which softened the blow. This however was a sucker punch. But as often happens, out of the bad, came the good. Sawiris and Edens came in, joined by Purslow, Pitarch and eventually Dean Smith, a Villa man and the choice of many fans before his arrival.

Now, as we watch a team managed by a Villa fan, and captained by a Villa fan, who reacted to a punch from a Bluenose by scoring the winner to totally ruin their season, our sense of unity is stronger than ever. Thousands of people are brought together by a shared love of Aston Villa.

But we are more than that. That badge that we all wear with pride, that unites us all, young and old, rich and poor, from all corners of the globe. But the badge represents more than Aston Villa Football Club. It represents all of us, Fans, Players and Staff. We are a community; a family. We go through ups and downs, together. We stand shoulder to shoulder, and never give up.


13 thoughts on “What Aston Villa Means To Me

  1. Excellent work Tom, written from the Heart and expresses the feelings, Love for Villa and the way we the ‘Chosen’ wear our Hearts for Our Great Club, on our Sleeves..
    I believe this will have the desired effect of Living yourself and many others, from the Dark places we find ourselves through the various trials & tribulations of Life..

  2. A nice article here Tom, I was also brought up in the South Staffs coalfields. The only Staffordshire member of my Brummie family. First saw Villa in 1970 and fell in love with the club when I was given a copy of Aston Villa the first 100 years.
    It’s nice to see my feelings mirrored in your young views. Keep it up.

  3. From my first time going down to Villa Park in 1967 to the present day my faith and love (yes love) in the club has never wavered. At times it’s been hard to take and others an absolute joy. A beautifully written piece. UTV.

  4. Great article Tom. I’m 69 now and have had a love affair with the Villa since I was 4. My dad carried me in on his shoulders to see them play Arsenal and I’ve loved them ever since. My grandad, who had one of the first season tickets, lived in Witton. We lived on a farm in Shropshire when I was young and made the journey to Witton several times a season. I was so excited every time we went. I moved to Wolverhampton for work in 1971 and myself and my husband had season tickets along with my mum and dad. We gave up our season tickets when our children were young but had them again with our son and daughter in 1991 and have had them ever since. As you can imagine, I have seen many highs and lows but my love for the Villa has never wavered.

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