“Dave at work; he’s only seen 3 games in the last 12 years but now suddenly he’s the World’s biggest Villa fan and a close personal friend of Steve Bruce’s wife’s hair stylist”

When I was a kid growing up in Hall Green, there were 3 types of football fans. There were those with parents that understood the game, loved the game and had a firm sense of local identity; those kids were generally Blues fans. Then there were the kids whose parents had a passing interest in football. They often weren’t born in the city and their families tended to live in neighbouring towns like Lichfield and Rugeley. Those kids were generally Villa fans. Finally there were the kids whose parents had no interest in sport whatsoever. Those kids usually couldn’t handle banter well and needed a team that had enough press coverage to make following them easy and won enough games that they could just take the high ground in every argument. Those kids were generally Man United fans.

Football matches would break out at lunchtime and the Man U fans would team up with the Villans to take on the mighty Blues. We were often outnumbered, but we played our hearts out. Games were only 20 minutes long and usually ended in a brawl, but they meant everything to us. The Villa kids never really seemed to care about winning or losing, but to us, it would make or break our day. Whatever the result, we carried it with us until we got home and gave our dads the full match report. There was a passion in us young bluenoses that was passed down by our parents. It’s the same passion that we grew up with and took to St Andrews and the same passion we passed down to our own kids. The Villa fans wanted to win, sure, but they never wanted it the way we did, and they still don’t.

It’d be an understatement to say that Sunday didn’t quite go as planned. I know that like me, you are all carrying that defeat with you throughout the week. Whether it’s the weak attempt at Villa banter on social media, the laughable comparisons of Grealish to Aguero or just Dave at work giving it the big’un. He’s only seen 3 games in the last 12 years but now suddenly he’s the World’s biggest Villa fan and a close personal friend of Steve Bruce’s wife’s hair stylist. Wherever you work or however you spend your social time, I’m sure there’s been at least one reminder of the derby each day.

In the same way that Wolves’ fan base has doubled over the course of this season, Villa’s increased throughout the weekend. We lost, and it hurts. But at least we’re not them.

At least we’re proud to be Blue. At least our numbers don’t rise and fall with successes and defeats. At least we’re consistent in our passion and don’t resort to buying a rival team’s shirt just to spit on and subsequently force our fellow supporters to walk through.

The Villa are now making the preposterous claim that the city is theirs. They have to catch two buses and a train to get there, but it’s theirs. They make this claim whilst singing an Oasis classic written by die hard Man City fan; Noel Gallagher – which they’re also trying to pass off as ‘their song’. I think someone’s having an identity crisis…

Blues weren’t at the races on Sunday. We gave them way too much respect and gave Grealish way too much time and space. It was evident in the first 15 minutes that any tackles made on precious little Jack would cause him to roll around on the floor like a petulant child. We should have made better use of that fact and instructed someone to essentially play as his shadow. That someone, shouldn’t have been Cheikh N’Doye.

Though I appreciated the cheeky stomp on that arrogant little sod, N’Doye just wasn’t up to the task of keeping him quiet. I also particularly enjoyed his tussle with Terry. I enjoyed his red card and I’ll enjoy the fact that he’s now banned even more.

N’Doye can be alright on his day but it’s like watching a newborn puppy go through toilet training. He’s trying his best bless him, but he’s leaving a trail of p*** everywhere he goes! N’Doye puts the effort in and seems to have a genuine love for the club. I wish someone would calm him down a bit though and teach him to lift his head before picking a pass. He’s great in the air and wins almost every header, unfortunately that’s about all he wins these days.

It would have been great to see Gardner get the call up over N’Doye. He has significantly upped his game recently and was great against Huddersfield. Perhaps his experience and calm head could have turned the tide and mellowed things out in the middle of the park. At the very least, Craigy should have made an appearance early on in the second half.

I’m making an earnest effort not to dwell on the negatives so much these days, but Cotterill has got to start making substitutions earlier. My wife’s favourite saying at the moment is “We’re only a 60 minute team”. She’s becoming increasingly right and each time she says it, I become more convinced that she should be writing these things, not me! We are visibly lethargic around the hour mark and Steve needs to recognise that. All in all, it shows that the lads are putting the miles in and running themselves ragged, but we need to introduce fresh legs much sooner than the 80th minute.

It’s easy to get disheartened about losing to such a bitter rival. I myself, have gone down many Twitter rabbit holes, arguing over silly little things and biting to every wind up. But in reality, we are fighting relegation, they are second in the league. They’ve spent £100m, we’ve spent about £10m. We have bigger issues to focus on than beating them. I don’t think that loss is a sign of us slipping back down the table again like some have claimed, rather it’s a small blip in the big plan. I still believe in Stevie C and stand by the retraction in my last feature.

The only thing that should concern us now is beating Milwall and moving on from this. Our season is far from over and we WILL still be here next year, I have full faith in that. We just need to keep our heads high, keep our voices loud, keep showing the world why the city will always be Blue and most of all Keep Right On!

By Mark Watson

@MarkWatson1875

21 COMMENTS

  1. What a prick, I have lived and followed villa from chelmsley wood all my life a supposedly blues area. Birmingham have and always will be the second team and a poor second in our city.

  2. At least we’re proud to be Blue. At least our numbers don’t rise and fall with successes and defeats. Are you sure? anyway its difficult to go much further down
    Swansea City n/a
    8/8/2017 Crawley Town 7,814
    12/8/2017 Bristol City 21,269
    15/8/2017 Bolton Wanderers 20,215
    22/8/2017 AFC Bournemouth 8,245
    26/8/2017 Reading 19,993
    16/9/2017 Preston North End 21,168
    27/9/2017 Sheffield Wednesday 20,365
    13/10/2017 Cardiff City 19,059
    29/10/2017 Aston Villa 24,408
    1/11/2017 Brentford 19,045
    18/11/2017 Nottingham Forest 21,071
    4/12/2017 Wolverhampton Wanderers 19,641
    16/12/2017 Queens Park Rangers 20,107
    26/12/2017 Norwich City 19,967
    30/12/2017 Leeds United 21,673
    6/1/2018 Burton Albion 7,623
    13/1/2018 Derby County 22,121
    30/1/2018 Sunderland 19,601
    6/2/2018 Huddersfield Town 13,175
    Publish this page on your site

  3. I grew up in St Andrews Road…can’t get any closer to the Blues than that! Myself and most of my school friends also grew up Villans! We followed them everywhere back in the old 3rd division days. There were always over 5 thousand Villa fans at EVERY away game whilst Blues were struggling to get 6 or 7 thousand inside St Andrews! You really need to swot up on your history mate before writing ridiculous articles! BTW, most of my family are bluenoses and EVERYONE agree (and always have done) that Villa, Villa Park and Villa fans are vastly superior in EVERY way!

  4. You are right about the bloody oasis song….I’m embarrassed and mightly pissed off that this is being sung after our games when we have the might of Black Sabbath and Paranoid to call on……
    But the rest of your piece is utter codswallop.
    BFCF IS AND ALWAY HAS BEEN 1/ a Smaller club 2/ carrying a massive chip on its shoulder about their mighty neighbours 3/ followed by a troglodyte minority who have over 30 years been a disgrace to themselves and the city 4/ going down …..again

  5. Even as a villa fan (15+ years season ticket holder with my two sons) this is one of the better articles I’ve read about football fans and supporting nature.

    I suppose if I was a nose I’d focus on everything other than my teams ability on the pitch!

    Either way support your local team is how it should be (I started life in Aston and my old man was a nose!)

  6. you’re crying in your beer because fans that don’t live in the city choose the better club the city has to offer?, does this mean the great small heath alliance fc would turn down pennies from ‘foreign’ supporters?. I guess the bloke from quarry bank must really love you for not supporting g him in his love of everything b-lose…

    ffs mate, grow up. you lose to us AGAIN. you had a poor turn out AGAIN. time to move on and admit you lot are decades away from being anywhere near as big, or successful as us.

    as for the game. we just wanted 3 points, couldn’t give a flying hoot who we play, or where they come from. this was a bigger game for you than it was for us. it was you cup final, and you lost. move on. second city’s third team. UTV. SOTC.

  7. Growing up in Bartley Green in the 50’s and 60’s I hardly remember a Blues fan at school, most of the kids were Villa, one or two were Blues or Albion, any team can change their name and then claim that they own a City but you have to prove it with results and Blues have never done that throughout their history.

  8. The City has always been 50/50 in terms of support, where Villa have the edge is that they have a huge following throughout the country because of their history and also because their name which does not identify them with a particular City.
    Unfortunately Birmingham does not have a very good reputation outside of the Midlands for historical reasons not least the behaviour of their supporters and Birmingham City sounds more like a Council team than an attractive football team to follow, like Tom Hanks said “Aston Villa is the most beautiful name in football”.

  9. Even their nickname is stolen from other clubs……
    Birmingham City Colour of home football kit
    Chelsea Colour of home football kit
    Everton Colour of home football kit
    Grays Athletic Colour of home football kit
    Ipswich Town Colour of home football kit
    Shrewsbury Town Colour of home football kit
    Southend United Colour of home football kit
    Worcester City
    Wycombe Wanderers Colour of home football kit

  10. “Don’t look back in anger” is not Villa’s anthem you fool it’s just a pop song that Villa fans only join in with when they win at home, Villa’s anthem is “ghost riders in the sky” sung at home and away whether they’re winning or losing.

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