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The Worm has Turned


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by avfcinwales

A recent comment on the Villa list from a fan who had just proudly bought his first season ticket and then the open training session held at Villa Park today, took my ageing brain back to days long ago when I too paid for my first season ticket.

Don't remember why I did, but a group of us had nothing much to do on Saturday afternoons, we played soccer in the mornings, and the ground wasn't that full every week, we were a degenerating club at that time.

It cost nothing like it does today either, but then I was only earning 18 pound a week as I awaited my A level results, but it was just as big an achievement and I was just as proud.

I only had it for that season, University called and it was never difficult even at the 13th hour to get into the Holte end in those days, and the Witton end was always empty just more dangerous thanks to the odd away fan.

Since then of course, I held a season ticket for several long seasons, through to when we won in Rotterdam, watching the club home and away for 7 or so years, in times when walking to and from the ground, especially away from home was always an interesting experience, shall we say.

My ever suffering wife of 37 years usually came with me, even when pregnant, and I often wonder why we and all those others who did likewise did.

Having claret and blue blood and a father and grandfather and associated family mad keen Villa fans helped, as did watching the 1957 FA Cup win and the subsequent interest it generated.

Winning always does, its always a big influence.

But then, when the club was in dire pooh and eventually the Doc came in and his enthusiasm, his new innovations, his media presence was a huge influence on us all, even though he failed as a manager, he and those who brought him in and started the change should never be forgotten.

OK I then saw them down into the third division, but then I watched every match under each different manager until that day in Rotterdam, everything else nearly always took a second priority, work, family, even where I lived which towards the end wasn't shall we say within 10 minutes of Villa Park.

A reason was, that initial belief Docherty gave us, the belief that encouraged so many to turn up and paint the dilapidated stand, to buy merchandise, to buy season tickets, the change from a no hope, joke team going no where, to a team with hope.

It took years of course to get to Rotterdam, including many highs and lows and I personally thought much of the delays were down to the involvement of one man whose machinations did nothing but break up the solidarity within the club.

Bendall of course got it together, eventually, and the rest is modern history, culminating in the world having turned fully with the Lerner takeover and the same enthusiasm and new ideas now upon us.

Now though, its down to another generation of fan to take up the banner, although I can't see them having to travel to Huddersfield or Port Vale on a freezing rain soaked day during the fall downwards, this time its all upwards, and those who have just bought their new first season ticket remain the future of Aston Villa.

Not that I won't be doing my bit, I've enjoyed several games this season already and have enrolled a new Villa fan for my troubles, one who lives in Birmingham too, which is a huge advantage when considering board and lodgings, especially the lodgings.

Today's open day and the subsequent media attention is a great sign, a sure indication the new broom is sweeping cleanly through the club, long may it continue. It brings back old, but good memories.

Here's to being there at the next European Cup win, and for people of my age that's something I hope doesn't take as long this time as it did back when Docherty wielded that broom, somehow I don't think it will.

If its anything like the old days, the trips to Wembley, the victories against the big clubs and especially those big nights with a near capacity ground when the ground moved with the desire and belief only Villa fans have.

O'Neill has yet to touch much of that but it will surely come when it does I hope its one of the matches I'm at :)

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Good article, almost bought a tear to my eye!

There is nothing better than a buzzing Villa Park. It's the one thing I miss the most now I live in Oz. Let's hope when I return for visits there will be plently to come back to (title deciders would be nice!)

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