One of my newest Facebook friends happens to be a vintage (sorry, couldn’t resist that word) Aston Villa fan. Actually he is slightly older than me but what’s 12 months between fellow supporters? My first match at Villa Park was in 1969 so we are talking several years, League Cups, European Cup and yo-yoing between the divisions here. One lazy afternoon we got to reminiscing about the good old days in the 3rd Division and I remembered that I still have my football rattle from the early 1970’s. Whatever happened to football rattles, the vuvuzela of their era?
Whilst I don’t recall their demise, I do remember being told to “shut up” by a grumpy man standing in front of me but when you are ten years old you don’t want to consider the consequences of relentlessly swinging a brand-new-110 decibel (honestly they were loud) football rattle in someone’s right ear do you? They were banned from grounds in the 1970’s for being potential hooligan weaponry. Fair enough I guess. But it got me thinking about some of the other banned items you can’t take to your seats now.
We are going to watch Aston Villa play Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup this afternoon and as usual we will be without our…..
Bottle tops- Yes folks, you have to forfeit the cap off your bottle of coke before taking your seat. This is to prevent you from throwing it at opposition supporters or the players on the pitch. I understand that they really do hurt if a coin is lodged in the cap too.
Umbrellas-Yep. I had my umbrella confiscated at Villa Park and was given a raffle ticket in return to retrieve it after the game. Thinking about it I suppose that I could have hit or stabbed someone with it, or launched it javelin style onto the pitch.
Bananas- My favourite. What am I going to do without my banana? Apparently when Arsenal were still playing at Highbury local police deemed that oversized inflatable novelty bananas could, by obstructing spectators’ views, incite violence. One match night police video cameras scanned the terraces for illicit giant bananas and confiscated them! How funny and how ludicrous. I get why flares, fireworks, flagpoles, knives (!), glass bottles and skateboards are banned but bananas? You’re having a laugh.
So today, I will go armed with my spare bottle top in my pocket, my Villa Christmas antlers which flash in the dark and my lucky scarf but I think I’ll leave my banana at home.