To mark the 140th anniversary season of Aston Villa FC, My Old Man Said is asking 140 Villa supporters of all ages to come forward and tell their Villa story. First there will be five standard questions to answer, then you can tell your tale, whatever it is. It could be the full tale of how you got into supporting Villa, maybe you want to tell the tale of going to the San Siro twice in the 1990’s?, it could be your Top 10 favourite player list, it could be the tale of your favourite away day, a supporter issue of yester-year, a funny meeting with a Villa player or your favourite Villa story that you’d roll out if you bumped into another Villa fan in a bar on holiday.
So please do send your Villa stories in to MOMS on: [email protected]
In the latest Villa tale, we get the view of a Villan in their early 20’s, Jonathan Marsham.
Part 5 in a 140 part series: Jonathan Marsham
Well from the moment I was born I was surrounded by Aston Villa fans. My dad has supported Villa since he was a young boy, despite his brothers (my uncles) and his dad (my grandad) being Birmingham City fans, so it was only natural that myself and my older brother would go on to be life long villa fans as well.
My mom and dad first met at a Villa game when they was younger, so the idea of my parents meeting at a game also makes me smile too. From a very young age I remember being surrounded by Villa shirts and merchandise in my house and I hope when I have children when I am older they too will also remember this about their childhood.
First Villa Park match attended?
I can’t remember the first match I attended as I was so young but the first match I remember going too was the 1999/2000 season, as I remember Benito Carbone scoring a hat-trick against Leeds United in the FA Cup. The main reason I remember is because I went with my grandma, my best friend at the time and his mother. I remember looking to the upper tier and waving to my brother and dad who had different seats to us.
First Villa hero?
Being only 22-years-old I unfortunately can’t name some of the great players to have played for Aston Villa such as Brian Little or Peter Withe, but for me, my first Villa hero was Gareth Barry mainly because I saw his whole Villa career and watched him become the fantastic servant that he was for our club during the nine seasons he was around.
Ultimate Villa legend?
Again, I think it would be rude to name a previous player or manager from before my time, so for me it would be Ian Taylor. As a youngster I thought he was a great player for us, worked ever so hard in midfield and scored some great goals too!
Since his playing career has finished, pretty much every weekend he’s down the Villa or travelling away to watch us all across the UK. It’s always nice to see ex-players continue to support the team and love the team just like any other fan does, and he was a Villa fan from such a young age. At Villa he won the League Cup of course in 1996, and he also played in the 2000 FA Cup final, a game I remember more so as I was seven and at Wembley to see us unfortunately loose to Chelsea.
Favourite Villa memory?
I have some great memories as a Villa fan, I have seen us get to a Wembley final three times in 2000, 2010 and this year, unfortunately I haven’t seen us win a cup yet as I was too young for the League Cups in 1994 and 1996. I have been to some awesome away games including when we won on penalties against Sunderland thanks to Guzan’s penalty saves in the shoot out, beating Arsenal 1-3 just last season on the first game of the season. I have seen us beat local rivals including West Brom, Coventry, Wolves and of course Birmingham City.
One of my favourite memories is seeing Ashley Young’s last-minute winner on TV away at Everton under Martin O’Neill. But for me, my favourite memory would be when we beat Blackburn in the League Cup semi final 6-4 (7-4 on aggregate) to which I also had the pleasure of being at the first leg at Ewood Park. The atmosphere at Villa Park that night was outstanding, with the claret and blue ribbons being waved throughout the ground, and the fact we came from behind on the night to win the game was just fantastic, we scored some great goals and the buzz of getting into the final for the first time in 10 years was just special to me.
22 years through thick and mostly thin
As Aston Villa has become 140 years old, I reached the grand old age of 22 in April. It’s nice to think back how this great club has won so many trophies, been champions of Europe, won titles and cups throughout its great history. What is unfortunate to me is Villa have won two cups, the League Cups in 1994 and 1996, while I’ve been alive and I was obviously too young to remember them! But despite this, as I get older I just fall more and more in love with Aston Villa, it’s been my church on a Saturday or a Sunday for the past 15/16 years as a season ticket holder and long may that continue as I hope when I have children they too decide to love football and Aston Villa like I do.
I have some highs and lows of watching Villa, I have been to some great home and away games and seen us win matches we never should of. I have seen us play tremendously well and loose games too, I suppose that is all part of football.
I hope one day this fantastic club can reach the highs in football and win cups and titles again and who knows maybe even be champions of Europe again! You never do know what is around the corner, in ten years time we might not be in the Premier League, or in ten years time we might have even won the Premier League! All I know is whatever happens in the next 10, 20, 30 plus years my heart will always be claret and blue, it will always love and support Aston Villa.
Please send your Villa stories in to MOMS via email to: [email protected]