Aston Villa Celebrate 140th Anniversary with Supporter-Inspired Monument at Villa Park

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How to mark 140 years?

You may remember in preseason MOMS offering up the idea of having a bit of a supporter knees up at a forthcoming game to celebrate the 140th anniversary of Aston Villa FC.

First we crossed our fingers that the fixture gods would serve up a home tie on the Saturday after the day that legend says 140 years ago on November 21 1874, four members (believed to Jack Hughes, William H Price, George Matthews and William H Scattergood) of the Wesleyan Chapel male adult bible class met under a gas lamp in Heathfield Road to form Aston Villa.

MOMS dropped the then Villa CEO Paul Faulkner an email and he seemed enthusiastic to do something.

As it turned out the fixture gods were kind and they offered up a home tie against Southampton on Saturday 22nd November. It was something to plan towards…or was it?

It didn’t take long for the modern game to ruin plans to honour tradition, as Sky TV needlessly moved the Southampton game to a Monday night.

Some Villa fans weren’t bothered. ‘Lets wait until the 150th anniversary’, others wanted to argue about the exact date that Villa was formed.

Regardless of the date or what number anniversary it was, surely it was an opportunity for supporters to use the 140th anniversary as an excuse to claim back Villa Park and have a go at creating a sample of what the atmosphere should be like for every home game? As we reported before – the fans want it and even the manager is on record saying he’s up for it.

Put on a Holte End display, bring every flag supporters could get their hands on and also have a sing-a-long of old classics; even attempt the full version of ‘Holte Enders in the Sky‘.

If we liked it and enjoyed it, maybe it would inspire us to keep doing it. We could make a name for ourselves within the Premier League and it  would potentially inspire the team, or at the very least, make the players feel guilty for letting us down.

Yes, we deserve a better team on the pitch, but if there’s no effort in the stands now, I dread to think of what it’s going to be like come the 150th anniversary.

On that note, one idea is perhaps to pick a 3pm game next year during the rest of the 2014/15 season for such an event. Which one isn’t that important. As supporters we could have a poll and vote.  It’s just a suggestion. Maybe you have a better idea?

Monuments

Anyway, I digress, what about this alleged 140th anniversary date of November 21st?

There’s one thing myself and many Villa supporters have been puzzled about is the lack of statues to commemorate Villa’s fine tradition and history. There’s the William McGregor statue that the Aston Villa Supporters Trust put most of its money from the sale of its shares in the club to Randy Lerner into, to match Deadly Doug’s contribution. Apart from that fine structure, there’s not much else. Nothing even for our 1982 European Cup win (that most fans in the MOMS Survey suggested there should be). If you visit Arsenal’s Emirates stadium every season there seems to be a new statue or two every time. It’s a positive thing as it all adds to a supporter’s visit and helps a younger generation learn about the club they support.

Villa Park Lamp Post

Until recently, the club had been fairly coy on what it was going to do (if anything) to mark the 140th anniversary, but MOMS is delighted with the recent news that at the now Monday night Saints game it will be unveiling a new landmark, the ‘Founding Lamp’ at Villa Park to honour the creation of the club (see above picture).

Standing three-plus metres tall and with brass plates that regale the story of the foundation of the club, it’s a subtle and classy idea. Naturally, like the William McGregor statute before it, it was the brainchild of a Villa supporter, in this case David Rose from Sutton Coldfield.

As David explained on the club’s website:

“The main idea behind the lamp was so parents could stand under the lamp and explain the heritage and meaning behind it to their children.”

(It’ll also be a great meeting place if you’re going on a date at Villa Park!)

It’s a first class idea and a clear example of how supporters can contribute to their club. To Mr Rose we tip our claret and blue hat. UTV

(Lamp image from avfc.co.uk)

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

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