LATEST: Can the mighty Villa get promoted this season? I predicted their relegation and their mid-table finish last year. This season I predicted the play-offs and all the gut wrenching thrills and spills that will occur with that. Message to Bruce and the boys - I am always available to give a motivational pep-talk!
Just saying the name aloud makes me shiver. Ever since I was able to walk I have supported this great club. It is not just a football team, it is a way of life. My family were united in joy and grief at following the Villa. Our finest hour must surely be winning the European Cup in Rotterdam in 1982.
Here's the squad, below. How times have changed. Note there are no bald or shaven headed players (must have been something in the food back then) and the league and cup were won with a squad of 14 players playing on unheated, frozen crappy pitches. The lads were up against Europes' best such as Paul Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (look them up) yet we prevailed to become the winners of the most coveted trophy in league football.
It's called the Champions League now which is a joke since there are plenty of teams playing in it who are champions of nothing.It is so satisfying to sing to the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and of course Small Heath fans when they visit Villa Park 'Have you ever won the European Cup?'. Sweeeeet.
DID YOU KNOW?
The music that Villa run out to on each match day is the 'Capriccio Italien, Opus 45' by Tchaikovsky. Are you impressed?
MY FAVOURITE GAME
I will settle for beating Birmingham City 5-1 in the demolition derby on Sunday 20th April 2008.
Total humiliation for the blue noses, total exhilaration for the Villans. Anyone who says football is boring never attended this match. It had everything, rivalry, passion and goals. Yes - I was there.
My favourite player - Andy Gray.
I hardly saw him play but I always wanted to be him at school, flying in for headers where angels feared to tread. There was no namby-pamby playing for free-kicks with Gray. He was a winner, fearless and sometimes feckless. Thanks Andy!
Here's what Billy Walker had to say about Villa Park...
"About Villa Park itself hung an aura that seems almost to be visible. Most certainly it is there to be felt and I know of no other ground that has the same effect on one. Almost it seems to be peopled by ghosts - amiable ghosts whose job it is to breathe the great Villa spirit into generation after generation of ambitious youngsters who pass through the great gates to achieve a life's ambition; to wear the famous claret and blue of the great club."
THE (FAMOUS) HOLTE END
Yippee ay oh, yippee ay eh, Holte Enders' in the sky.
The Holte End has always been my second home, my spiritual home. It used to be the biggest single stand in Europe. There used to be some 20,000 on there when it was all standing (aah, the good old days) but now there is a limit of 13,472.