Lindsay Williams learned to love the Villa from her father, a dyed-in-the-claret-and-blue fan himself, and, while she admits she didn’t have much choice in the matter, she couldn’t be happier with the outcome. (I ask you, how many little girls want a new Villa shirt instead of a Barbie?) Now that she’s living Stateside, she spreads the word to the Yanks, and happily reports that she’s converted more than one. A player herself, she takes inspiration from the divine defensive skills of a Villa legend. (But not, thankfully, his drinking habits; on match day, she prefers a cup of tea to a pint.)
The Starting Eleven
Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?
I was born in Kingstanding, Birmingham, United Kingdom—I lived about four miles from Villa Park! About 7 years ago, when I was 23 or so, I came to Maryland, chasing my American Dream. Honestly, I was done with the UK and thought I would give the great U.S.A. a go! I do truly love living here, but there is nothing like moving and really seeing how much you love and appreciate your home—I’m still proud to be a Brit. I currently live in the town of Glenn Dale, Maryland, where I am an office manager, but have decided to go back to school to become a counselor. The great dream and journey continue . . . .
How and when did you choose Villa?
I did not choose Villa, Villa chose me! From a very young age, I remember my dad screaming at the telly or radio, and you always knew it was Villa related. He was a fan, as was my grandfather, my uncles, my cousins, and most of the local kids (of course, there were a few Bluenoses and Baggies). My dad pretty much drummed it into us, but I am so glad he did! As a little girl watching them, I automatically fell in love and became a claret-and-blue Villan. Every Christmas, instead of asking for a Barbie, I asked for a new Villa shirt.
What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?
Definitely beating Man United in the 1994 League Cup Final (also then called the Coca-Cola Cup). I remember the great pride of Villa beating United 3-1 and we kids we ran round the streets of Birmingham with our Villa shirts, scarves, and flags shouting VILLAAAAAAAA!!!!
Also, more recently, a great memory was the summer of 2012 when I drove about three hours by myself from Maryland to Philly to see Villa on their American summer tour. Even though it was only a preseason friendly, it was such a proud moment to see my Villa boys on U.S. soil, the squad lined up in claret and blue, belting out “God save our Queen”—I confess I did shed a tear. I felt the utter exhilaration and passion, almost like a kid again, going to Villa Park.
What was your most painful moment?
Not one moment, but rather moments. Honestly, these past few seasons, watching us flirt with relegation has been VERY painful, especially when most of the lads I know here who love footie are top-four fans. And, more importantly, we absolutely should not be a bottom-half team.
Which team would you most like to see Villa beat (or beat again) this year?
From our back-in-the-day rivalry with United, it is always a good feeling when we beat them. However at this point whenever we beat any top-four team it definitely feels like Christmas!
Who is your favorite player on the current squad?
It’s a toss up between Gabby and Guzan. Of course, Gabby is a boyhood Villan, loyal to the team and keeps at it. He’s like the family dog: you sometimes get upset at him, but you can’t help but love him. (If Gabby ever reads this, I mean that as a compliment!) But I think Guzan has also been very loyal to us, even when he didn’t get the break he deserved. Now his patience has paid off, however, and he sure has saved our bacon our a few times.
Who is your favorite player of all time?
I play defense, so I always have to give a shout-out to the unsung heroes of defense. Growing up, he was also my defensive inspiration, so I would have to go for “Oh ahhh Paul McGrath, I said Ohh ahhh Paul McGrath.”
What are your favorite sources for Villa news?
Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?
I would say 8 out of 10. I don’t think I saw as many live games as I could have when I lived in Brum. However, I have definitely made up for it these past five years and my devotion is evident (to the point of being teased). I think I also do a great job of repping Villa in the U.S.A. as I have converted a few fellow Americans 😉
Where do you usually watch games?
Normally at home, on NBC, NBC Sports, or streaming live from NBC. Thank God for NBC and no more bootleg websites! I am also very excited to have recently got connected with the Aston Villa America Group (shout out to the amazing group) and thus meeting the Capitol Villa group who I will be joining at the Queen Vic in Washington D.C. very soon. Wahooooo!
What are you usually drinking?
Cuppa PG Tips or Nescafe Coffee (depending on how early the game is).
What is the biggest misconception that male supporters have about female supporters?
Ohhh this is a good one! I will behave as I answer! I think the whole idea that women don’t appreciate or have any clue about footie—and really any sport in general. Growing up my mom hated watching it, but she had no choice with my dad, brother, and I. However, I believe the more you watch and seriously make an effort to get into the game, the more you get to understand the beauty of the game. You then find yourself saying, “Hang on, so-and-so should not be playing at right back but moved forward to right mid,” or, “We play a better 4-4-2,” or “Get him off and bring on him as an impact sub!”