Glen Goodwin, a loyal reader of this blog—at least, that’s what I choose to believe, and I don’t want Glen or anyone else setting me straight—volunteered to be this week’s Villan of the Week. That in itself tells you something about Villa supporters: they are selfless and fearless individuals, brave men and women who would no doubt offer themselves up as guinea pigs for even the most radical experimental treatments if they thought there was the slightest chance of saving even one person’s life. (Unless that person supports Small Heath, in which case, they’re on their own.) Anyway, a lot of the people profiled here tend to be . . . in the middle of life, so it’s high time we heard from a student!
The Starting Eleven
Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?
I was born in Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom, but I am currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. I am 22 years old and a student at the University of Kent, currently completing a 12-month finance internship.
How and when did you choose Villa?
I have been a Villa fan all my life, becoming a season ticket holder at the age of 4. Entirely my dad’s influence of course, but me, my dad, uncle, and granddad would all go down every week. I’m just as mad for Villa now as I was back then, being a member of my hometown Lions Club (Sutton Coldfield Lions), the Lions Club near my university (Kent Lions), and now the Detriot Lions in the United States.
What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?
This would have to be the 5-1 thrashing against Birmingham City in 2008, when John Carew and Ashley Young got two goals each. This dropped Birmingham City right in trouble for relegation and was a win in the “real” Birmingham derby. The West Brom derby just isn’t the same—just another game to me.
What was your most painful moment?
When David James dropped the ball at Wembley in May 2000 in the FA Cup Final. I was only 9 years old but I remember it to this day. And to top it off, some bloke urinated all over my Villa flag, not the nicest thing to happen to you as a 9-year-old. The picture below is me and my dad on Wembley Way.
Which team would you most like to see Villa beat (or beat again) this year?
Manchester United. I have a real hate for them. The “Plastic Reds” as I refer to them down at University, where none of them are from Manchester. I’d love to hear them all moan after we beat them. That is one of my biggest regrets—not being at Old Trafford when we beat them 1-0 back in December 2009. I think I’ve been there every year apart from that.
Who is your favorite player on the current squad?
Brad Guzan. He is one of our only players who has consistency week in and week out. A great shot stopper, and he is not scared to come off his line and catch crosses. Unlike most goalkeepers these days, he rarely punches. It makes a huge difference for a team to trust their goalkeeper behind them.
Who is your favorite player of all time?
I am going to have to go with two here: Ian Taylor and Olof Melberg. Two Villa legends, neither of them afraid to make a tackle, and they played with real pride, giving 100% week in and week out. I wish we had the passion they showed in our squad today. Ian Taylor was my idol at the Villa while I was a kid, and as I moved into my teenage years, Olof Mellberg took that spot. Both fantastic players.
What are your favorite sources for Villa news?
Well I am going to have to go with my Dad for this one. He runs the Sutton Coldfield Lions and he must email me every day while I’m at work to give me the latest news updates and transfer rumours. Apart from that, I use newsnow.co.uk, as it gathers live feeds from all different websites.
Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?
I will give myself a solid 7/10. Last season I managed to do about 28 games all in all, travelling from University most weekends, and often midweek, all over the country. This year, I managed to get five in while I was back for Christmas, but I’m always taking half days at work if a game is on. I just can’t face not watching it.
My worst quality is missing goals and the start of games. I’m usually last out the pub, miss the first ten minutes, then get 3 pints in at half time and surface into the stands at about the 65th minute . . . well, you do need a good drink to watch us these days! When I was a kid, I’d be dragging my dad out the pub to get to the game, and he did always say, “In ten years’ time I’ll be dragging you out!!” . . . and it’s so true.
Where do you usually watch games?
If I’m in the UK, I try to be at as many as I can, but over here in the States there is a group of about six of us that watch the games together at each other’s houses every weekend. My boss is an Englishman and a big Villa fan. He’s managed to brainwash his son and his American mates to all be Villa fans, so I’ve always got someone to talk to about the Villa!
What are you usually drinking?
Which Villa players would do well at different sports, and which sports would those be?
Alan Hutton with tossing the caber!!
Barry Bannan at golf. Those crosses he used to put in were like a golf chip out the bunker . . . get some pace on the ball FFS!!!
Finally, Gabby Agbonlahor with “the running of the bulls,” a sporting event in Spain. He is basically a headless chicken, after all.