“Needless to say, Sunday will be explosive, just not in the traditional sense of the word since hooliganism seems to be more of a Russian past-time these days and Witton fans now favour voluntary lock-ins over potential confrontation”
I’m a Birmingham City fan. I love the club with all my heart and it’s a passion that’s only matched by the love I have for my wife and daughter. As a consequence of this; I hate Aston Villa.
More specifically, I despise them with the fire of a thousand suns and their public meltdown over the last few years has brought me untold joys and laughter. After the Blues, their result is the first thing I check at 5pm on a Saturday and no matter how we’ve played, there’s an extra little spring in my step if they’ve been served up a loss – especially by the likes of Peterborough.
Does this make me obsessed? Well I’m not sure I’d use that word exactly, but you could say I’m “concerned with” or “interested in” Witton.
There seems to be a strange phenomenon on social media whereby the mere mention of a rival is evidence of your obsession with them and I’m just as guilty of calling out Villa fans for discussing us as anyone else is. But why? Isn’t that a huge part of why we love sport? Where’s the fun in everyone getting along and playing for participation badges? Football without rivalries is just… well MLS!
(Pause whilst MLS fans take a moment to list all the great rivalries across the pond… Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers anyone?)
I hate the Villa because I was brought up to hate them. Almost like a Pavlov’s dog scenario or a dose of aversion therapy administered from birth. Obviously I know deep down that their fans are just the same as us – a mix of crazy, intelligent, down to earth, thick, dirty, upstanding members of society. They have their good and bad, just like we do.
But I hate them. I REALLY hate them.
They were born supporting the wrong club and they must be punished for it.
On Sunday we get to witness the climax of our rivalry, albeit from a pub rather than the stands. We will both accuse each other of turning up for “their cup final” but let’s be honest – it IS our cup final these days. Neither club has a great deal to celebrate over the last few years (I’m talking trophies) and the two Second City Derby games probably will be our biggest games of the season.
Sunday will arguably be bigger for Witton since it’s at their place. Losing a derby is one thing but being embarrassed on your own turf is a whole different kettle of fish. As a Blues fan I’d be happy with a draw. Witton have picked up a tiny bit of steam since bringing in Dean Smith (he’s a Villa fan therefore he’s the most qualified successor to Bruce, apparently…) and we’re feeling the strain of having a squad lacking in depth.
We’ll be missing a key derby day player in the shape of David Davis and Jota and J-Mags are still injury concerns. Also, since I’m currently experiencing a flash of truthfulness (let’s be honest I’ll be back to throwing the ‘obsession’ insult around tomorrow) we’re going to miss Lil-Gards.
Them over the road might not want him but Gary Gardner’s been a bit of a revelation for us and his ineligibility for Sunday’s game will certainly have a bigger impact on us than the hostile environment ever could. I can only assume that Gary’s older brother will step into this playmaking role, which I’m actually alright with.
‘Gards the elder’ came under a bit of stick last year and parts of it were probably deserved. Craig settled into his role in the latter stages of the season though at times was our best performer. These games are easily forgotten though because certain fans have very short memories and as soon as he blazes the ball over the bar from a direct free kick, he sends all of that good will hurtling into row Z along with it.
He loves a derby though so you know he’s going to be as up for it as the likes of Harlee, Morro, Jukey and Dutch Mike. Side note: stick a tenner of Kieftenbeld to get sent off… None of that sissy two yellows nonsense either.
You heard it here first.
Regardless of our incredible run of form this season, my head still tells me that a draw would be a decent result for us. My heart is praying for an absolute decimation of the vile, arrogant, history-toting, self-entitled scumbags but I’m trying to be realistic and form doesn’t count for too much-come derby day. My brain is definitely the more rational organ.
Needless to say, Sunday will be explosive. Perhaps not in the traditional sense of the word since hooliganism seems to be more of a Russian past-time these days and Witton fans now favour voluntary lock-ins over potential confrontation; but whichever pub you’re in, whatever seat you occupy and whoever you’re watching the game with – the atmosphere will be electric.
If the boys play with just an ounce of the passion that us fans posses for the fixture then who knows what will happen on the day. Maybe Craig’s spent his whole time on the sidelines practising direct free kicks? Maybe Isaac Vassell will make a shock return like the Undertaker at Wrestlemania in an effort to seek revenge on Alan Hutton? And maybe, just MAYBE Dutch Mike will kick Jack Grealish 10 feet in the air and (aided by the slickness afforded by too much hair grease) Jack will slide all the way back to the pit of overrated arrogance from whence he emerged.
Seriously, Dutch Mike to get a straight red – absolute banker.
So there you have it, a few thoughts on Witton and the upcoming derby. Am I obsessed with them? Sure, if that’s the word you want to use to label it. Aren’t we all a little obsessed in some way though? Other than Liverpool (that’s an article for another day) they’re the only team I really care about the demise of and the only team whose results consistently matter to me. After all, if it weren’t for them lot over in Aston, I’d have to force a rivalry with the likes of Brentford and that really WOULD be a strange obsession…
By Mark Watson