Date: 29th November 2010 at 3:42pm
Written by:

Those Were The Day’s

Not the Mary Hopkins song. I was just reminiscing and was thinking about the games I went to from the days gone by. I was brought up in Albert Road then Bevington Road after my dad died. I used to deliver the Evening Mail to old Herbert and Charlie Tabberner. I’d deliver to the Villa CafĂ© (corner of Nelson Road). There I’d get ribbed by Rioch, Ian Ross, Pat McMahon, Willie Anderson, Andy Lochhead.

I remember for the first time walking towards the Trinity and looked at that magnificent stand and that mosaic. It was awesome I stood there mouth agape looking in awe – so much so that even opposition fans would admire it and comment on it’s magnificence. I remember the massive Holte End and the Bank on the Witton with the opposition fans getting drenched.

Standing near the back of the Holte looking at the blokes upside down with the legs in the V shape. The Left Side and Right Side Chants. The Songs sung so loud and proud – ‘Francis Francis – I’d walk a mile and a bit to rub your face in the sh**’ The words to the tune of Batchelor Boy!. Holte Enders in the Sky.

The floodlights with the unique AV shining on a match day and the noise from the biggest goal side stand in Europe. Standing with mates I grew up with from the age of 4 till they knocked down the Holte. The games I saw – Santos, Man U in the Semi, Liverpool 5-1, the local derbies with both sets of fans in the same ends. The loses the euphoria and the dejection – but still I came back.

As an Asian and one of the first coloured fans I felt so safe. Never got any racism and if anyone did say something – they got shouted down by fellow fans. True supporters. A real family. The games in Div 3. Travelling away with 1000’s of Villa Fans and just the togetherness. Those were the days of ‘real football’ when you could play the game without some pansy rolling around as though they were shot. The atmosphere was unrivalled.

Who could forget the sit in on the pitch after the Preston game. The meeting at Digbeth Hall and turning up to Villa Park to paint and clean up the ground cos we were skint. The Doc – the fans booing Villa when we came on the pitch in our away kit – the Yellow and Blue. Once they approached the Holte we realised who they were and cheered!.

I miss that – I’m just sad that the new age fans missed out on so much. Just thought I’d write this. Sorry for the ramble but I’m feeling nostalgic in my old age.

The Villa cost me a marriage but I could never divorce my love for Aston Villa.

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