They say that only three things are guaranteed in life, the first two being death and taxes, and the third is usually left to the writers’ imagination. So here’s mine: the Holte End will always sing for the Villa.
But is this quite enough? Is the bulk of noise coming from just one end of our stadium giving our team the mental boost it needs? Imagine for a second that this noise is replicated around the entire ground – it would be deafening.
The opposition wouldn’t be able to hear their own thoughts, let alone each other. The Villa players would feel like the rulers of their own kingdom. Martin O’Neill has come under some criticism recently, rather unfairly in my opinion, but the fans have an important role to play and I think we can give him a helping hand.
So why doesn’t it happen? I’ve suggested to friends in the past that we should start a campaign of sorts, to try and get the whole stadium rocking. They say it wouldn’t be possible, but why not?
I fully understand that not everybody at a football match wants to make a lot of noise. Some stadiums have stands which are primarily filled by families or business/corporate suits and the like. I also understand that the acoustics around Villa Park aren’t the best; a similar noise in a stadium like the Emirates or City of Manchester Stadium would sound louder, but only because of its design.
Nevertheless, I still get the distinct impression that at Villa Park, we’re missing out on the opportunity to really act as that twelfth man.
Speaking to various fans from around the country, I think there is evidence to back this claim up. My colleague, a Wolves fan, tells me of how they have two stands at opposite ends of the stadium that make the bulk of the noise. A West Ham fan I spoke to also tells a similar story – two stands do most of the singing, though the entire stadium happily joins in for a rendition of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. A Tottenham fan and friend of mine goes one better, and assures me that three-quarters of White Hart Lane generate noise. Can you imagine three Holte Ends?
Tonight, we face a Rapid Vienna needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit. I know not everybody thinks too highly of the Europa League, but I see it as a real opportunity. A competition with a much higher reputation than the likes of our own League Cup. Would any of you honestly say that the prospect of facing a team like Valencia in the final of a major European competition isn’t exciting?
Seeing Villa lift the Peace Cup gave many of us the extra hunger to see the lads prevail in a proper contest, and I see the Europa League as a competition we stand a genuine chance of winning - if we take it seriously. The game probably won’t be easy, but we can see it through and the fans can act as the wild card, but only if we can overcome a history of silence within most of Villa Park.
So this is a message going out to every Villa fan within earshot. If you’re going to the game tonight (or the game on Sunday against Fulham, or any other game at Villa Park in the future, the same applies), or you know someone going to these games, spread the message – when the Holte start their chanting, join in with them.
Let’s hear Villa Park make a noise that will chill its opponents to the bone, a noise that will make our eleven feel like Gods and strike fear into the hearts of theirs. Sing for John Carew and Paul McGrath, sing for Martin O’Neill and show him your support. But above all else, sing for the Villa.For the record, Mike goes by the user name vivavilla on the site.