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Glory Hunters...


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Glory hunters are normally associated with the big clubs, the Man Us, Chelseas, Arsenals and Liverpools of this World. But as we see AVFC moving in the right direction towards and possibly even into the top 4 this year it had me thinking what is the true definition of a Glory Hunter?

I also wanted to put something down on paper so people can consider their reaction in the coming weeks, months and years when they come across potential GHs and to ask people to go gently on them.

I think I should draw a distinction here between kids and adults. Kids will always be drawn towards success and achievement. They want to be associated with the best and I think it should be taken very much as a compliment. Some we will keep as fans, hopefully life-long ones, whilst others will ‘churn’ as the mobile phone companies call it and pass on to other teams.

My experience as a young lad when Chelsea won the FA cup in ’71 was to follow Chelsea at least for a few years and also to harbour an irrational dislike of Leeds Utd, which I’m just getting over now. I hope and believe that we will draw a considerable following of young supporters attracted by the dashing pace of Gabby and silky skills of Ashley Young as well as the positive attacking football which MON has us playing.

So – it’s not possible to be a glory hunter as a child, or maybe it is but they are forgiven.

But is it possible to start to support a team as an adult when the trend is ‘up’ rather than ‘down’?

I probably have to examine my own meagre credentials here. I got back into football when my eldest lad Tim started being interested in footie. Prior to that – England matches and occasional interest in FA Cups etc was about my limit. It’s a matter of great regret to me that back in 1982 when I was balancing my time between watching the Falklands War develop on the TV in front of me and doing far too little revision for my O Levels that I honestly don’t remember the glorious European Cup win in Rotterdam on the 26th May, a day after my 16th Birthday. I’ve since seen the DVD and read the books as well as having the autographs of the team. But I wasn’t there. I don’t recall seeing the game, but I’m still amazingly proud of the achievement of AVFC.

I started in DOL’s reign when the trend was most certainly downwards – maybe spiralling would be a better description. My first game was versus Arsenal and I was at best a neutral and at worst quietly supporting my lad, supporting Arsenal.

I quickly followed up with a series of games where I was most definitely supporting the Claret and Blue. In that first season, encouraged by my Villa Evangelist mate Trev, I think it was something like 8 games before I witnessed anything other than a Villa defeat or draw and when I started going away it was a full year before we beat Everton at Goodison with Sutton’s goal. I can still remember the agony of watching the clock count down so slowly I was convinced someone had taken the battery out.

The trip to Liverpool when we lost 3-1 but were jubilant as we left the ground knowing that the Sty-Dwellers were down made me realise I was hooked – good and proper.

Ticking off 15 of the 19 away grounds the next season meant that my addiction was duly fed and really by this stage there was little chance of redemption. But what if I hadn’t nailed myself to the Villa mast until after the Randy Revolution with MON at the helm? Would that have made me any less of a fan? Would I have been labelled a Glory Hunter?

I’d have to say that yes I believe it is possible to adopt a club when it’s on the up, but it’s rather like being on probation, you have to get your head down and support the team. Now this may be at home or away, or in the living room on SKY or SETANTA but it means taking the rough with the smooth and being on the receiving end in the office on Monday morning when the inevitable blips come.

I must admit I do have doubts about anyone who adopts a club like ‘Man Citeh’ at the present, solely because they see a quick profit in terms of glory and I’m sure numerous celebrity fans will appear out of the woodwork over the coming months and years.

For existing fans I think it comes down to acknowledging that there are different levels of support and trying not to be a football snob. Someone who has recently started supporting the Villa and who has made a genuine attempt to learn about the club, the history and the traditions and keeps up-to-date with the goings-on surely can’t be a glory hunter?

As Adrian Chiles comments in his excellent book about the trials and tribulations of the Baggies, ‘We Don’t Know What We’re Doing’, he finds it hard to take a fan seriously when they don’t know who their team is playing next – or indeed at least two to three games in advance. I’d have to say I have some sympathy for that view.

So what of football snobbery? Although I occasionally hear talk of ‘he’s not a real supporter’, talk of Glory Hunters has been fairly rare up ‘til now, except in an ironic way, as let’s face it in the last few seasons our rise has been steady rather than meteoric. But faced with predictions and indeed aspirations of breaking into the top four, then I anticipate the increase of new supporters which some will inevitably brand as GHs.

So how do we welcome these new supporters?

Bearing in mind I’m not keen on snobbery, inverted or otherwise, and most will profess to say the same, I hope that we all make a special effort to welcome new fans with open arms. We need new fans so they can contribute to the club – by attending matches and buying the merchandise, and by becoming a part of the club as it grows and develops.

We want fans of all ages, male and female, of all nationalities and from all ethnic backgrounds. I hope we welcome one and all.

I hope that the message boards of which VillaTalk is of course the best can play a very positive lead in welcoming the new supporters and not labelling the late-arrivals as Glory Hunters.

Just because you heard the ‘Good News’ a little late doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be welcomed into the Villa Family with open arms!

Ian D - UTV!

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Great article and I fully support it, I've often seen thread on this and other messageboards threads that pour scorn on 'Glory Hunter' and to a lesser those who support but cannot attend.

Me (and I'm pretty sure) I speak for the Limpid and my fellow mods in that we have always and will welcome all Villa fans, whether they've been to Villa Park or not. Indeed a small part of me goes out to those who support us and cannot get to Villa Park ever as although my attendance is way down these days I still do get to games.

I know fans on here who go to almost if not every game, I know others who attend once a year and there are those who spotted us more recently ( a fair few from Cleveland) and have no intention of getting to VP but still choose when asked "who do you support", they answer "Aston Villa".

It fills me with pride to think I'm part of that community, the community that is is not Villatalk but Aston Villa Football Club and long may it continue.

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Very Good Article

My friend started supporting the villa 2 years back as i started taking him to games, now some could see him as a glory hunter as roughly 2-3 years back now was when lerner took over.

Now he is very in touch with his villa side and usually has to fill me in with things i've missed like who were playing next our who scored the goals in matches.

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Very good arcticle. I only started following the Villa about 2 years ago when my dad took me took Blackburn away. I think it was the atmosphere that got me. Since then me and my dad got ST in the Holte and are on the Away Scheme. I am lucky to have started supporting Villa when MON and lerner came in, but it doesn't mean i am in any way a Glory Hunter.

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Lancs Villan: Many thanks. Great to see someone else agrees with my point of view. It’s great to be part of the wider Villa family and the football community as a whole. I firmly believe that the message boards have a vital part to play in this whole area.

VillaVipers: Love the idea of ‘being in touch with one’s Villa side’. Made me chuckle. I think acknowledging that we all go through different stages of life, which may mean we can actively go to VP and away to a greater or lesser extent is important to remember. We should be wary of judging others too quickly.

MancVillan: I remember the Blackburn away game a couple of seasons ago – absolutely electric in the away end. Your Villa heritage mirrors mine and totally agree you couldn’t be accused of being a GH. Good to see the passion of fellow Villans.

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For the record Drew, your first loves Chelsea beat Leeds (in a replay) not in 1971, but 1970.

It instilled in me no love for Chelsea, but an (entirely rational) hatred of Leeds that survived me moving to the city as a student and living here to this day.

My Villa credentials are almost entirely the inverse of yours: I have been a devoted Villa fan since my first day at primary school (1958 - which makes this year my Villa Golden Jubilee!), BUT, I have never had a season ticket and rarely been to more than five or six live games a year (some years none at all).

As Lancs says, we're all part of The Family.

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This is a very well written piece and in the main it's hard to dis-agree, I do though perhaps find myself in a fortunate position in that i've always only supported the Villa for as long as I can remember, I do not herald from Birmingham though (South Wales in fact) so does this make me a 'glory-hunter'?

I think there are one or two 'tests' which can quite easily identify a GH, one as you've already mentioned (on Chiles' behalf) being the fact that most of 'them' cannot tell you who they're playing next or sometimes what their last result was, to be honest when confronted with this type of person i tend to switch off and in truth I do lose some respect for that person, at least in a footballing sense anyway.

I don't think it's got anything to do with how many times you see your team play, or whether you own or have owned a season ticket, or whether you bought the latest shirt or know of the clubs history inside-out, but I do think that it should 'matter' to you.

With this I mean that should Villa have a bad result, it should bother you, for me it usually means a weekend of spiralling depression until Monday afternoon (by which time the lads at work have fully taken the mickey and you're then looking forward to the next game instead of looking back), i think that you should be nervous when you watch your team, on TV or otherwise (for the record i actually get far more nervous when watching Villa on TV then when i'm actually there), even if it's nervous excitement it should be tense.

I think the reason why GH's are so despised is because they almost seem to get away with just having the best of things, by this I mean that they're so very quick (Man Utd fans bow your heads as this has been you for the past decade, in the main) to rub it in your face when they win the League, or the Cup or even just a big match, but when they lose they don't feel despair, embarrassement, or anything, they just brush it off with some ridiculous half-baked passing comment, i think this is where a lot of people get peeved off, for me there's nothing better if Villa have lost to know that one or two of the lads i work with are feeling the same, and for at least a minute on Monday morning you can make yourself feel slightly better by giving them some sh*t!

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i was actually a wba fan.,mainly cause my dad supported them and a friend took me to villa when we were in the old league div 2 in 1987-1988 and it was against the blues and i just fell in love with the villa i was 13 at the time so if that makes me a glory fan then so be it.

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Glory hunters are normally associated with the big clubs, the Man Us, Chelseas, Arsenals and Liverpools of this World...

They the only big clubs then? :winkold:

We've always had our share of fair weather fans, probably more than most in fact.

I've met Villa fans in London with absolutely no family connections in Brum, but started following us when we were succesful early 80's. I've also met Irish fans who have admitted to previously following Manure, Celtic et.c and started supporting us for no other reason than we had McGrath, Staunton, Houghton and Townsend as the heartbeat of our team.

For some it's just a casual interest, for others that was the spark that lead to a lifelong passion.

So how they came to be Villa fans is irrelevant.

We've always been a big club, capable of drawing out-of-town support.

But for us to really push on and have designs to fill a 50,000+ stadium regularly we have to find a way of tapping into this market, converting this 'interest' to bums on seats, be that on a local or national level.

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Thanks for the comments folks.

MJ: Thanks for the correction on the year of the Chelsea/Leeds game. I was only four. Probably a passing interest rather than my first love. Fantastic that you’ve had Claret & Blue running through your veins for 50 years. Respect!

Banned: I agree with your point that it’s whether how Villa does matters or not, which marks one out as a true fan. Sums it up rather well. Also I think someone who once they choose a team in adult life or even late youth – cannot be a GH if they stick with that team through thick and thin. It’s the chopping and changing that marks a GH.

Philly: I’m fascinated by the whole family allegiance/independent choice issue.

Holte Exile: Maybe I should have put ‘Big Clubs’ in inverted commas! Point taken.

I love the fact that people have come to support the Villa through many different means and whether they’ve supported Villa for a season or sixty years, it doesn’t really matter. It’s about the belief, the passion, the commitment and sticking with the Villa through thick and thin.

UTV!

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Hotle Exile, I'm afraid I'm guilty of being formally a fan of Manure, but when Cantona left my interest in football wained, always had an interest in Villa though and when anyone asked post that period I would say Villa, if anything to be different. But year on year my interest has strengthened in Villans and in football in general, to the point that this year was the first I sat for two whole months with my finger on the refresh button during the lows and the exceptional highs of the transfer window.

Helped in no small part by sparking off my girlfriend and her support of Arsenal (she had some relative play for them in the 30's or something). I shall hopefully be attending my first Premier League match in November, unfortunately, as it is my girlfreinds birthday I shall be sat in the Arsenal end when the Villans take them on at Emirates. Watch the Villans on TV when it's on in our local (The Botanic Inn), last match was against Spurs and there was a wonderful atmosphere & will probably be seeing the Chelsea match too.

Hope to get to my first match at Villa Park this season & if not then next. In the mean time if there are any Villans in Belfast, you should get down to The Bot on matchday, the atmosphere is excellent & the missus even suggested I start a Belfast Villa Supporters Club & if I had any kind of organizational skill I might just pull it off :P But seriously does anyone know if there are any supporters clubs in Belfast??

:flag:

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missed this thread before but some interesting points.

I have to say I do not want to have fans to follow us simply because it is 'fashionable' to do so now.

Guess I have had to go through years where we were unfashionable and throughout these years you knew fans were at the game because of a love of Villa rather than because say Beckham was playing.

Would I want fans at Villa who last season were devouted followers of one of the sky 4 or other fashinable clubs, nope. They bring benefits in money terms but for the image I am not sure.

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Excellent thread

The whole thing of glory supporter is interesting because as a boy of 8 I first got into Villa (and footy to be fair) when we won the European Cup, my dad said I watched the game although I can't remember it but i do remember the next day when everyone played Villa vs Villa in the playground (no one wanted to be Bayern). Reason why I mention this is that I am actually from Wolverhampton and from a hardcore Wolves family and I am still called a glory supporter after twenty odd years by my family!!!!

I live in Oxford and spend most of my day in a lab and only get to a couple of games a season (I watch and listen to nearly every game possible though), I think the definition of a fan is anyone who becomes emotinally irrational based upon 11 dudes in a claret and blue top kicking a ball around on a pitch, anyone who is generally level headed but has cried, sworn, smashed, hugged, skipped and kissed based on upon outcomes of people they don't know, should be allowed in with the rest of us nutters.

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I think the definition of a fan is anyone who becomes emotinally irrational based upon 11 dudes in a claret and blue top kicking a ball around on a pitch, anyone who is generally level headed but has cried, sworn, smashed, hugged, skipped and kissed based on upon outcomes of people they don't know, should be allowed in with the rest of us nutters.

Superb!

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missed this thread before but some interesting points.

I have to say I do not want to have fans to follow us simply because it is 'fashionable' to do so now.

Guess I have had to go through years where we were unfashionable and throughout these years you knew fans were at the game because of a love of Villa rather than because say Beckham was playing.

Would I want fans at Villa who last season were devouted followers of one of the sky 4 or other fashinable clubs, nope. They bring benefits in money terms but for the image I am not sure.

I kind of get your point and I have a degree of sympathy for what you say.

But using Beckham/ Manure as an example, what makes them the economic force they are?

Is it the dyed-in-the wool Reds fan born within a 5 mile radius of Salford and can trace his MUFC credentials back 4 generations?

Or is it the gloryhunter/ bandwagon jumper from Dorset, Ireland or (shamefully) Sutton Coldfield? Old Trafford on a matchday is full of out-of-town support, much of it to the chargrin of local Reds fans who see right through these imposters. But the fact is it's these type of fans that contribute to the financial wellbeing of the club and ensure they can fork out £30 million for Berbatov and pay ridiculous wages to Ronaldo.

Even those fans who don't attend matches contribute to the MUFC phenomenon with merchandise purchases et.c.

I'm not advocating that we use Manure as a business model. They are an exceptional case, and VP full of Japanese tourists might be just a bridge too far for me.

But as a club we are going to see some pretty big changes over the next few years. If the price of success, the price of filling a 50,000+ capacity venue is that we have to put up with more of those type of fans, it's a price worth paying IMO.

They're not necessarily the type of fans I'd want to sit next to, or have a pint and discuss the game with (for some reason I get an image of that Arsenal fan in The Fast Show - complete with picnic hamper), but thats a seperate issue.

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missed this thread before but some interesting points.

I have to say I do not want to have fans to follow us simply because it is 'fashionable' to do so now.

Guess I have had to go through years where we were unfashionable and throughout these years you knew fans were at the game because of a love of Villa rather than because say Beckham was playing.

Would I want fans at Villa who last season were devouted followers of one of the sky 4 or other fashinable clubs, nope. They bring benefits in money terms but for the image I am not sure.

i haven't much to add, other than to say i agree with Robo 100% on this.

sadly though, to become a truly huge club, you need a large degree of "glory hunting" fans.

I guess that is the trade off of being successfull.

I doubt Scunthorpe have many glory hunting fans .....

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Thanks for the comments folks.

MJ: Thanks for the correction on the year of the Chelsea/Leeds game. I was only four. Probably a passing interest rather than my first love. Fantastic that you’ve had Claret & Blue running through your veins for 50 years. Respect!

Banned: I agree with your point that it’s whether how Villa does matters or not, which marks one out as a true fan. Sums it up rather well. Also I think someone who once they choose a team in adult life or even late youth – cannot be a GH if they stick with that team through thick and thin. It’s the chopping and changing that marks a GH.

Philly: I’m fascinated by the whole family allegiance/independent choice issue.

Holte Exile: Maybe I should have put ‘Big Clubs’ in inverted commas! Point taken.

I love the fact that people have come to support the Villa through many different means and whether they’ve supported Villa for a season or sixty years, it doesn’t really matter. It’s about the belief, the passion, the commitment and sticking with the Villa through thick and thin.

growing up in my home i had three brothers my twin is wolves been going every week even when on their knees in old 3rd n 4th div and on verge of bankrupcy.

middle brother is villa

eldest is leeds and he is a glory supporter, never goes to matches never had his leeds top off after winning the league and getting to semis of champions league.But now he dosent mention them but always has plenty to say when we lose,so i just mention where they are now and that shuts him up :D

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I'm proud to say I've been a Villa supporter for 14 years now. I picked Villa, because I thought they had the nicest stadium, the nicest name, and the loudest fans. I loved following their exploits (This was back when we only got 2 week old highlights at 3am.)

I was sucked right in. There is something truly special about Aston Villa, and I'm glad I recognized it.

I made the pilgramage in 1999, but havent been back. Dying to though. Maybe for the game against Inter next year, :D

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