Like thousands of other Aston Villa fans who normally would have made the trip the other week against Chelsea, I decided to give Villa Park a wide-berth. Instead, I sought alternative entertainment in Birmingham, with a late-night theatre presentation of Trainspotting, based on Irvin Welsh’s best-selling book and the Danny Boyle film that followed.
It was an ‘immersive production’ meaning the actors were acting around the audience and you could become part of the performance at any given moment.
During the show, fake human feces was thrown at the audience, crotches were grinded on by a female character wearing suspenders and members of the crowd were verbally abused as part of the show. Sitting on the front row, I happened to be wearing glasses on the night, and the lead character Mark Renton shouted at me, calling me “a f**king four-eyed freak!”
The onlooking Trainspotting actors may have thought to themselves during the face-to-face confrontation, ‘this guy doesn’t seem to be embarrassed and he didn’t even flinch’. Well, when you’re a Villa supporter and you’ve been insulted and ridiculed weekly for the past five years, have some jock ranting in your face isn’t going to bother you much. As Villa fans, we’ve built up our immunity to pretty much any kind of abuse.
A week later, I did pop down to Villa Park for the latest ritual claret and blue humiliation, this time against Bournemouth. The Cherries never needed to break into second gear, although saying that, this game would have been a routine win for any decent Villa team.
Only two more games of doom left at the Factory of Sadness to go, but in the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa supporters…
(Multiple reward draws for MOMS patrons this week, so make sure you join up here to be a patron too)
2. Media Fan Respect
Going back to last week’s game against Chelsea, it was refreshing to see BT Sport’s coverage put across the Villa supporter’s views, both in a prematch interview piece (that contained ourselves, Gary Shaw and the OTDO74 group) and also in really focusing on the various Villa supporter banners on the 74th minute.
There was little censorship and the full discontent of fans was put across to the live TV audience.
Normally television is a little shy in showing true supporter concerns and angst, normally images of passionate fans are used to simply help sell the game or supporters are shown in a bad light, for example, the BBC portraying Villa supporters celebrating the FA Cup quarter-final as hooligans and calling it a return to the ‘dark ages’.
The tone was just right and the producers also used the fan interviews film as a segue way into an interview with Villa director David Bernstein, so he would be addressing supporter concerns rather than putting across his own agenda.