The key reason behind my love for Aston Villa stems from the rituals, magic, and camaraderie of matchdays.
Usually as tradition follows suit, a matchday would consist of several routines which help to collate towards a special trip, making it all the more worthwhile when popping down Villa Park every fortnight.
So, to begin with, an early start for a trip to the Holte Suite, where I would swiftly make my way into the bar before the early kick-off; prior to that, I would have been handed a lift from my Dad with me and my brother. For superstitions, well I wouldn’t say there are many I follow, yet there is certainly a fixed routine which gives me that encouraging outlook for the day ahead. First, parking up on the Tesco which is within close proximity to VP, by popping in the store and getting some essential goods, otherwise known as snacks, to last the day.
When in the Holte Suite I can be seen flocking amongst many others to whatever the food choices are that are on offer, fundamental to getting set ahead of the kick-off; food offering a fresh incentive to remain calm and to keep the nerves at bay. The early kick-off passes by, getting a few drinks in and then it’s time to enter the concourse and the stadium at around two o’clock. Apparent to my matchday experience is watching the team train before kick-off, trying to get a feel to how we may play on that day; tending to pick up on any loose ends or on any players who seem primarily sharp and persistently focused on the game ahead.
Then the game commences, with the Villa though you get used to being left disappointed. One thing that I love regardless of the result is this coming together with people you would never see outside of football, as yet you are all there for the prime purpose of watching Villa. Sitting where I am located in the Holte End Lower allows me to feel fulfilled and witness the amazing atmosphere that the Holte End can produce. When it comes to the football I am one of those where I try to keep myself to a minimum because of the overriding emotions. Villa attack and when they do so with a potent agenda it makes me start to move, just like everyone else for that matter. A lot of time to the disappointment on an attack not prevailing and I think a lot of that is to do with that emotion you get when you score a goal. You can’t exactly control your feelings and the next thing you know you’re hugging strangers you have never met before.
Being there alongside family members and friends alike only helps prolong the connection you all have together; my football club enables me to create positive and comforting memories when looking back. Then when full time comes around I leave and can’t wait to do it all over again.
It makes me think why Villa? It’s just part of the heritage and a culture that allows you to escape from the realms of reality for a few hours and entice yourself within a setting that bring up many emotions, all of which portray the beauty of having a purposeful connection to the club you support.
An entire collective effort trying to roar the team onto victory, where when the atmosphere gets really pumped up it just makes me think how I really am proud to be Villa. So there are times of pure elation alongside misery that can create a pretty bleak outcome. It’s part and parcel of football, the bad times just make those good moments, ever more precious and enjoyable.