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All our Christmasses


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Way back in 2003 Afros was writing about Fantastic Festivity, followed by Joyful January where he was optimistically predicting a great festive season for us, that being based on the back of three successive wins including the League Cup win v Chelsea and that superb goal from JPA. Who can forget that night, then again who realised it was five years ago!

Afros rightly pointed out that the upsurge in early December 2003 could be the springboard to the heaven of European games. Well he was close with that prediction as we missed out in the end by goal difference after losing at home v ManUre and the Barcodes nicking a point at Anfield to pip us. The joyful January itself wasn't quite as expected with three successive league defeats and that 5-2 defeat up at the Reebok to show before the 31st gave us 5 goals in 18 minutes at The Walker Stadium.

Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself there.

Move forward one year to 2004 and Pete Bosworth was himself reviewing , though this time the previous 12 months. In One year at the Villa The turn around was not a good one from possible Europe one year to a lack of consistency and defeats aplenty. Pete was lamenting about the possibility that DO'L was exactly the right man, I agreed with him at the time, that the one thing that was going to stop us and possibly cause the unmentionable R word to be thought of would be the reluctance of the man upstairs to support him.

The thing is, hindsight really is the best sight as it wasn't necessarily Doug's support that cost DO'L but the support of his players and his falling out the year after with the senior members of his squad almost costing us our place in the Premier League.

Pete's piece was written in amongst a good number of other pieces, Waiting for the great leap forwards from blandy being one ; defeats at boro and Chelsea, at home versus RedScouse and the great unwashed from down the road. All leaving Villa fans distinctly lacking of Christmas cheer.

A year on and the football was no better, we could win games against strugglers but we struggled with everyone else. A dire run through the autumn left Villa fans everywhere wanting one thing and one thing only - change. Indeed there would soon be a lot of talk around change, none of it came to fruition at the time but it was a time for Villans everywhere to be united in one aim (okay almost united there were still a few dissenting voices). A present that would be delivered later that year on September the 19th. Thank you Randy.

Back to the archives and over to John Lerwill who in Lion's Pride? - A kitten's whimper more like came up with something that is being proved at this very time.

"The four teams that have to-date won the Premiership all had a common theme running through them that was not *just* the willingness to make massive investment - it was and is the teamwork of the chairmen and the manager. The chairman to release funds as needed, and the quality of the manager to kneed the players into a winning unit." - so true John and here's hoping eh!

The 2005-06 season is one to forget so I will. Only after the 3-1 game versus Blues could we start to feel a little more relaxed. 'We'll meet again' indeed.

So we move to 2006, Christmas time came as I said had come early for a good number of us, after the £ signs protests - nice one Tegis -, the Ray Ranson bid; Howard Hodgson, some South Africans, a Venezuelan TV magnate and some lifelong fan called Neville, along came the white knight in his own plane. We knew where he was better than his wife I bet thanks to thetrees and his stalking. The arrival of Randy saw Martin O'Neill in the managers role and Villa fans everywhere watching in to see which way the roller coaster that we live was going to go..... so far it's been on a steady incline..... with minor dips along the way.

The pre Christmas game being one of them a 3-0 reverse at home to ManUre and you know something I didn't care a jot about it. Why not. Well put simply that game saw the return to Villa Park of one Ron Saunders, something the previous owner never saw fit to arrange. Seeing him that day made people around me cheer with a tear in the eye, others to go 'Dad who is he?' and some to simply thank him for those past glories in their own way.

Put that and the other changes being planned for Bodymoor Heath, The Trinity and The Holte Pub together and you need to appreciate the little things too. Like what happened with paddy and why I still think this is the best thread title we've seen for a while from Dec 17 2006. Carlsberg don't run football clubs... That day confirmed to me something that I've written to the club about on numerous occasions, Randy hasn't just given us bought a football but he has given us the supporters, the lifeblood of that club our pride back in it.

Finally a brief look back to where we were and what you were writing about only 12 months ago. Gareth Barry provoked one of OBE's excellent reviews of previous players by eclipsing Harry Hampton At home we'd just been beaten by le Arse and Pompey, Citeh could have made it three and then on Boxing Day we took the game to Chelsea at the Bridge. That day I felt at the time meant something to the players, to the fans and to the club. It was one of those never say die games where having lost Zat Knight it seemed like we would be steam rollered, yet we wouldn't lie down; wouldn't take it like gents as we have so often in the passed. No we believed we could get something and we did. That day for me stood us in good stead for our eventual run to the Inter TwoBob and our 'success' in the UEFA.

And then there was the day at Wigan.... rain rain go away. 5000 Villans soaking wet, singing our hearts out and a great day was had by all. It was better for me personally too as not often enough am I able to say 'I was there' and this Christmastime is the first in my support that circumstances combine in a way I will not be in attendance at home or away. Give em a shout for me.



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Thanks for that Al - I think .... O'Leary was a strange one.From the moment he signed his new contract onwards he sucked really badly. not sure what that says about him. The managerial equivalent of Lee hendrie?

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Thanks for that Al - I think .... O'Leary was a strange one.From the moment he signed his new contract onwards he sucked really badly. not sure what that says about him. The managerial equivalent of Lee hendrie?

I think to be fair to Lee, DO'L was never capable of producing the sustained bursts of form that the little man was capable of...

Good article this is to, quite an interesting trip down memory lane!

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Very interesting indeed ... but it does alarm me that the years have rolled on so quickly!

5 Christmases since VT started, eh? And that period has covered the downturn and the upturn of the club's movement in no uncertain terms.

Good luck to VT!

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