Tag Archive | Aston Villa


I  love football. I love all sport and always have done, and although I did well playing tennis and really enjoy the challenges that golf brings, it is the team sports like football hockey and lacrosse that I prefer.

I went to watch my team Aston Villa at the weekend and I was struck by the cameraderie and banter amongst the players.  Rumours of dressing room unrest and a string of poor results had led me to believe that all is not well in the camp. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw and none more so that when I captured the squad whilst warming up before the match watching the big screen in the corner. The screen was showing a replay of their fellow players in the Reserve team thrashing Arsenal 10-1 and how they were enjoying that. They couldn’t take their eyes off the match and were clearly revelling in their collective success. This was great to see and it translated into a great result when Aston Villa beat Blackburn 3-1 with every player working for each other. Teamwork.

I thrive in being part of a team. In all areas of my life teamwork is essential to feeling good and doing well. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the autonomy I get with my job and the responsibility of making things happen, I do. But it is knowing that I have a great bunch of colleagues in my team who I can call upon for support and knowledge that gives me confidence and security. Teamwork.

Dealing with my highs and lows is also a team effort. My family, friends and colleagues, my wonderful GP and employer are all involved in keeping me on the straight and narrow and I am grateful for their efforts. Depression and anxiety can be an isolating and lonely experience and you can’t fight it on your own. You need a network of people who can help you recover and who will be with you for the long haul. You need to find your tribe and envelope yourself in their understanding. Teamwork.


Leave your bananas (and other football weapons) at home boys!

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.


If I had a time machine…..

and I could travel anywhere in time for an hour, I would transport myself to the second half of the Aston Villa v Birmingham Premiership encounter on 20April 2008. Already 2-0 up at half-time, Villa finished the match 5-1 winners with not many Birmingham City fans in sight!

I say this because Aston Villa play Birmingham this weekend and I suspect that revenge is on the cards so I would like to relive good times before facing 2011 reality.