Sometimes I don’t know the first thing about someone when I ask them to be Villan of the Week. That may sound paradoxical, but this feature isn’t about judging who among us are the best Villans, it’s about meeting new Villans—and my continued fascination with the stories of other fans. But I should correct my first sentence: I do know something about today’s VOTW, Jeremy Hunter: I know that he’s on Twitter, where he tweets as @AstonVillansUSA, and his humor, passion, and intelligence in what is often a crude and reactionary medium led me to believe I should get to know him better. So join me, will you?
The Starting Eleven
Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?
I was born in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s like Dallas’ younger and cooler brother. I now live about five hours south of there in San Antonio. I am an operations manager at a large retail company.
How and when did you choose Villa?
My first Villa experience was in a bar in Dallas about four or five years ago. Manchester United was hammering Villa on one of the TVs showing the game. Weird thing was, all of the singing was coming from the Villa faithful! You just don’t see that type of stuff here in American sports. A couple of years later, as my interest in the sport continued to grow, I saw that Fox Soccer was available through my TV provider. I remembered the game I’d seen and started doing research on the club and its history. I’ve been hooked on the sport and the club ever since!
What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?
Tragically, since I haven’t been a fan for ages, my happiest moment was when Arsenal beat Wigan midweek before our last match of 2012–13 to ensure that we’d be staying up! I’d been confidently saying all season that I didn’t think we’d be relegated but Wigan started rolling late on and I was a bit nervous. I was at a hotel just outside of Boston with my wife when that match was on. I had to watch an internet feed. My wife couldn’t understand why we had to wait to eat lunch so I could watch a match that Villa wasn’t even involved in!
What was your most painful moment?
Lots of painful moments as of late! 8-0 to Chelsea was bad, but I think losing 0-1 to Palace at home this season was the most painful. I know we have injury issues, but we really didn’t look remotely threatening at Villa Park against a newly-promoted side. We were tactically inept, positionally poor, and we deserved to lose.
Which team would you most like to see Villa beat (or beat again) this year?
I’m not going to be picky about whom I’d like us to beat at this point! Any team will do. And hopefully soon!
Who is your favorite player on the current squad?
My favorite player on the current squad is the captain, Ron Vlaar. I wasn’t his biggest fan for most of last season, but we are obviously a more organized defensive unit with him in the lineup. We have improved by leaps and bounds on the back end and a lot of the credit goes to him. And he may have only joined at the onset of last season, but he seems to love the club already. Gabby would be a close second, just because he bleeds claret and blue.
Who is your favorite player of all time?
Does indoor soccer count? I grew up watching the Dallas Sidekicks of the Major Indoor Soccer League & Continental Indoor Soccer League. Tatu was one of the greatest players to ever play the indoor game. He led the Sidekicks to four championships and still coaches youth leagues in the Dallas area. I always wanted to be like him when I was a kid.
What are your favorite sources for Villa news?
Twitter, of course! I visit the official site frequently and check out opinion pieces on MOMS and various other blogs.
Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?
I happen to think I am a rather fantastic fan . . . but I’m probably more than a little biased! My best quality as a fan is I am as loyal as they come. If you are my team, you will always be my team. If you’re a fan of my team, even though we may disagree on certain aspects of the play or how the team runs, you’re alright with me. My worst quality as a fan is that I am very opinionated and I don’t mind voicing it. I enjoy the conversation and debate, which tends to turn some people off. But I am passionate about my teams; it’s the only way I know to be.
Where do you usually watch games?
I watch games anywhere I can! Mostly in my theater room. Haven’t found many places around San Antonio to go and watch games, but I’m open to suggestions!
What are you usually drinking?
I’m usually drinking sweet tea! And/or whiskey. Yes, I have mixed the two, and it’s delicious! Might be a Texas thing. Or a me thing.
Which teams will go down this season? Your prediction, please . . . .
Fulham, Palace, and I think Cardiff will sink down into that bottom three. Maybe that last one is just wishful thinking because I wish for nothing good to happen to Vincent Tan, but I’m sticking with that pick anyway.