Date: 1st December 2006 at 3:22pm
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Martin O’Neill has sung the praises of the away supporters.

The away fans have attended in great numbers but Villa Park has struggled to fill the ground more than just the once so far this season.

‘You might ask me in two years time and I would love to be able to start complaining about the crowds not being big enough when we have been doing fine. I just believe myself, at this stage, that we have to win people over. I genuinely think that. We have done okay and are getting a wee bit of momentum going, but I think that we have to win people over. Then maybe they will come and maybe they will stay.’

‘There are all sorts of reasons why we could have 42,000 against Tottenham and down to 31,000 or whatever it was then – maybe it was a bad kick-off time on the Saturday, the evening game ?or pouring down with rain. Whatever it was it doesn’t really matter. The people who came to the Tottenham game are the ones we want to try and keep. What you are looking for, there is no doubt there is a certain hard-core Villa fan that is so passionate about the club, and as passionate as anyone in the country.’

‘What you want to do is… Newcastle have 50,000 people coming to the games even if the week before has not been so good. That’s the point. And that’s where we would love to try and get to. That people are so passionate about the football club that they are prepared to put things in front of them.’

Adding: ‘Where I get great heart from at the moment is the fantastic away support that we’ve had. Even the number who made the journey up to Wigan for an early Sunday kick-off, fantastic. They were having to get up early, make their plans the night before, that’s what gives me great heart here. That we do have a number of people who really care about it, and we have to have more- but that is up to us.’

 

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