When I was a whippersnapper, on a Saturday afternoon myself and a couple of mates would play football at the garages over the road from us using an abandoned and (mercifully permanently open) garage as our goalposts. We would always have Radio WM tuned in on the radio just inside the garage turned up as loud as it could go (not very loud) listening out for the Villa score.
Whenever there was a goal involving one of the teams from the West Midlands you’d hear a tune (the same as Grandpa’s truck horn in the Lost Boys) followed by ‘It’s a Goal!’.
We’d all then run over to the radio in a state of excitement praying that the Villa had just scored.
My dad used to take me to ten or so home games every season and just so you know my age, I as four when we won the league and five when we won the European Cup. Villa were my life; my bedroom was painted claret and blue and I remember being over the moon at getting a Villa table lamp for my birthday one year.
Football was magic then – I didn’t care who we were signing or how much money we had. I knew that we weren’t as good as Liverpool with Dalglish and Rush (we had Simon Stainrod and Steve Hodge) but it didn't matter to me then and I didn’t care, as I was absolutely certain (I still am) that Aston Villa are the greatest.
I can remember, even at Junior School, having a certain contempt and bewilderment for any kid who wasn't a Villa fan but especially those who ‘supported’ Liverpool as ‘they were the first team they saw win on the TV’. These were kids were from Harborne and Quinton for Gods sake and we all knew one. They just didn’t get it and never will.
The proper fans amongst us got into this obsession not because we were winning everything but because it was Aston Villa, our local team. Let all these morons demanding instant success spout off their crap and let it pass you by. To me, Sky TV, The Premier League, The Champions League, Chelsea, Man City and everyone else that can be bracketed into that group are doing their best to wreck this game, but it won’t last forever and I’m happy with our setup and happy that we don’t have some anonymous middle eastern oil barren in charge.
I live in Ireland now and get to five or so home games a season (strangely enough my visits to family always coincide with a home game) and I still get the same feeling when I walk up the steps into the Holte End as I did the first time I went.
I love this bloody football club and I want to get back to Wembley and win the FA cup and I want to see great European nights at Villa Park again. If we stick with it now I reckon we have the right man in charge to get us there.
It’s just not going to happen over night and would you really want O'Leary, Taylor, Gregory or Little back? Now Big Ron in 1992 I may have to think about, but for now, up the Villa!