Tag Archives: Aston Villa

Thoughts on the weekend

One article described the Birmingham City players lap of appreciation after the game on Saturday as looking ‘like a scene from Casualty’ as the walking wounded paraded with the other players. “Michael Morrison spent the afternoon in a protective boot, Harlee Dean hobbled past taking slow, tiny steps after his groin surgery and then Maikel Kieftenbeld came through on crutches.”  Those injuries had led to a rearrangement of the team and that, together with windy weather, resulted in a scrappy game.  But it didn’t matter because my team was already safe and, over the course of the season, had done better than I’d expected.

An account of the game at Leeds brought back memories of Blues’ League cup game at Yeovil in 2013. On Sunday, Leeds scored instead of returning the ball to Aston Villa and then allowed Villa to score.  At Yeovil, our goalie Doyle kicked the ball out when a player was injured and expected it to be returned to him when play started again. Instead, a Yeovil player received the ball that was thrown in and kicked it into the net to score an equaliser for Yeovil. This outraged our players and sent the game into extra time. Yeovil scored again in the first half of that but then their manager allowed Blues to score.  As I wrote in an earlier post,  “I had absolutely no idea what was happening when Novak wandered down and put the ball in their net after the kick off for the second period of extra time. It wasn’t until the Blues fans behind the goal started cheering that I realised it would count as a real goal.” The game ended with some dramatic penalties, a Blues win and me feeling glad I’d made the long trip down to Yeovil. (Click here if you’d like to see the highlights.)

And I’m glad that I’ve gone to games this season.  There has been the usual mix of joys and sorrows, but it’s been one of the better seasons. Our players have shown commitment and effort; our fans have responded by backing the team and creating a good atmosphere. That has felt good.

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Sad

I was sad that Blues lost but I can cope with that; I’ve had enough practice over the many years that I’ve supported them. What saddened me most was the assault on Jack Grealish by one of our fans and the amount of media attention that it received.

The stadium was packed with passionate Blues fans who supported the team with their voices and banners, but the headlines will be about one idiot. I have no idea what prompted his actions but talk about hating other clubs can’t help.  So, I’d like to repeat what I said before the game. Hating other football clubs is not a good way to show commitment to your own club.

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Commitment

I don’t think that hating other football clubs is a good way to show commitment to your own club. I’ll be at the game on Sunday, hoping desperately that Birmingham beat the Villa but once the game is over, I’ll calm down. I’ll remember that if my dad had been born three miles further north, I’d probably be a Villa fan myself.  

Most Blues and Villa fans have some connection with Birmingham and the two groups have much in common. Fans from both sides agree on many issues such as the Justice for the 21 campaign. The view that Villa are more middle class and Blues more working class is an opinion not a fact.  A thesis on the rivalry between the fans of Aston Villa and Birmingham City Football Clubs stated that: “the fan groups were actually relatively homogenous in terms of their demographics and their location”.   

This week, Blackpool fans have shown their commitment in a positive way, by cleaning up their stadium following the neglect of the Oyston ownership. Birmingham fans have helped in a similar way in the past. I can remember a game against WBA on December 28, 1993, when it had snowed before the game and the club asked fans to come early and help clear the snow so that the game could go ahead. 

Not every fan can get to games; some are prevented by distance, infirmity or other reasons. I hope that those of us who can be there will limit our aggression to non-contact competitions such as who can shout and sing the loudest. I would like both the Blues fans and the police to go home with smiles on their faces.

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Thoughts on Sunday and today’s game

It is a pity that Sunday’s game is probably going to be remembered for the clappers that were used as missiles rather than for anything that happened on the pitch.  Clappers, inflatables, big flags and flames are not necessary to create an atmosphere at a Birmingham City versus Aston Villa game; you only need the fans. Continue reading

View from the Family Zone

I was a bit more nervous than usual before the game on Saturday.  I’d invited my nephew and his two daughters to the Bristol City game. I really wanted the children to enjoy it as it was the first game they had ever watched. You can’t guarantee enjoyment at a Birmingham City match so there was some fear mixed in with the expectation as we found our seats in the Family Zone.  Continue reading

Sad

I’m a bag of nerves when Birmingham City is playing but usually manage to cope ok the rest of the time. However, I’ve got the blues about the Blues at the moment.  It’s not the run of dreadful results or the possibility of relegation that’s depressing me; my team has given me lots of practice in dealing with that sort of thing. Continue reading

A few thoughts on the game

One report described yesterday’s game as not pretty but absorbing and I think that sums it up. The players were committed; the crowd was loud and large enough to pass the big flag around. Steve Bruce was not the only former Blues manager at the game.  Barry Fry was in the V.I.P. seating area and received a warm welcome from nearby fans. Continue reading

Not watching on TV

Pompey ad by Donald Vass

Pompey ad by Donald Vass

Stories of the game between Birmingham City and Aston Villa are flooding the local media but I’m not sure how much the rest of the country knows or cares about the derby game on Sunday. An article in WSC, written before our game in September 2002, said that “Blues v Villa is best known as a public order problem.”  I hope that won’t be true this weekend and that the news on Monday will be about what happened in the game not trouble with fans. Continue reading

Not a big journey
from saying horrible things to doing horrible things

I’ve just watched the moving tributes that MPs paid to Jo Cox and feel so sad about her death.  And earlier, a quote about the effect of social media on politics struck home: “It is not a big journey from saying horrible things to doing horrible things.” This could apply equally well to football and so I just want to reiterate what I’ve said before on this blog. I don’t hate Villa fans or the fans of any other clubs or countries.

Trouble?

Villa ticketI bought my ticket for the Villa cup game yesterday. Along with the ticket I received a letter from the club reminding me of my responsibility to behave myself. In particular they reminded me about zero tolerance of pyrotechnics, the laws relating to alcohol consumption and stadium regulations about obscene chanting. Continue reading