Maybe it’s just me, but I was thinking it was about time time we heard a Boston accent on this blog. I went to college in western Massachusetts and visited that great little city on weekends, and I figured there had to be some Villans there. I reached out to the Boston Lions, where secretary Jason Chalifour directed me to chairman Ross Goldman. Ross, he said was the driving force in rallying the troops at The Banshee Pub. (Great name!) Ross himself was a bit hesitant to be profiled, citing his relatively recent choice of Villa and lack of long-time history with the team. But I encouraged him to share, and I’m glad he did. I choose my Villan of the Week not to somehow anoint particular fans as the “best,” but to profile the broadest possible variety of Villa supporters living in North America. And anyone who has taken the initiative to chair a Lions Club is clearly ALL IN.
The Starting Eleven
Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?
I was born in Boston, grew up in the suburbs, and currently live in Dorchester, a section of Boston.
How and when did you choose Villa?
About six years ago, my friend exposed me to the Premier League and I got very interested in it. I wanted to pick a team that wasn’t one of the big four for a couple of reasons: I didn’t want to be a poser and pick a team that I wouldn’t really endure hard times with, and also because I think you learn much more about soccer when you’re rooting for a team with flaws and has to find ways to cover for those flaws. So I ultimately picked Aston Villa over the other 15 teams because I thought that was the coolest, slickest name in the Premier League.
What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?
This is hard. I haven’t had many great moments in my short time as a Villan, but I’ll pick a moment when I was really proud. It was when Chelsea kicked the crap out of us last year 8-0. I was by myself at The Banshee in Dorchester and there were three very loud Chelsea fans having a great time drinking and cheering after each time their team got a goal. Then they were awarded a penalty kick. Lucas Piazon took it and it was a fairly good kick but Guzan was able to jump up and knock it away. I was really happy that our goalkeeper didn’t give up. He obviously had a bad day but at least he had enough morale to knock that ball away and shut up the Chelsea fans near me for a brief moment.
What was your most painful moment?
Oh gosh, I’ve had so many as a young fan already . . . perhaps it was when Bradford City beat us last year. We were doing horrible already, we had a good team on the field and we just couldn’t get it together. Probably an equally painful moment was ten days or so later when we played Everton. I thought that the coaching that day was brilliant, isolating Benteke on Heitinga but allowing them to control possession for much of the game. We jumped out to a 3-1 lead and then Everton scored 2 goals in less than 15 minutes, including the last one in injury time. Thought that we might turn a corner that game. To make matters worse I was the only Villan surrounded by a bunch of happy Toffees.
Which team would you most like to see Villa beat (or beat again) this year?
I’m an American and haven’t seen a good Birmingham derby, so I don’t share the animosity towards Birmingham City that many Brummies feel. After sitting in bars and listening to a bunch of obnoxious American kids cheer on Chelsea and shout really loud when their handpicked all-stars kick the crap out of budget-strapped teams, especially after that 8-0 pounding that year, I’ve got a special hatred for Chelsea. I also despise the whole aura of Liverpool and was really upset after the Suarez dive.
Who is your favorite player on the current squad?
I’m beginning to form a man-crush on Bacuna. Perhaps I see things in him that I shouldn’t, but he’s so athletic and versatile and covers so much field. I wish he was a little more responsible but I’m really optimistic about him. I also like Fabian Delph. I suppose it’s because I’ve gotten to see him grow from a player that I found very mediocre to a creative and more visionary and rugged player who gets opportunistic goals.
Who is your favorite player of all time?
I’m a very young Villain. I never saw Paul McGrath, or even Gareth Barry, play for Villa, but I did love Petrov’s devotion to the team and his smartness. He often was in the right spot at the right time, which always impressed me and I think he was very content to retire as a Villan so I admire that.
What are your favorite sources for Villa news?
Facebook is where I learn the most about Villa. Reading opinions of experienced soccer fans has really helped me understand the game. Otherwise I read ESPN headlines a lot . . . I’m sure there’s a better source and I’ve tried to find radio that discussed premier league soccer but I haven’t had any luck.
Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?
I think I’m fairly enthusiastic and really enjoy learning about the game. I also love the culture of a football fan and really enjoy the camaraderie involved. There are so many tactics of the game that I don’t understand unfortunately. I have an especially difficult time understanding the midfielder responsibilities. There are also many rules that I do not quite grasp.
Where do you usually watch games?
At the Banshee Bar in Dorchester. We’ve got a small supporters group in Boston that will hopefully grow. I also have streamed quite a few games.
What are you usually drinking?
I prefer non-hoppy beer. When I’m watching Villa I seem to always drink Carlsberg.
What theme music would you choose to represent the 2013-14 season?
I’ll go with “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. For starters, like Villa, I really like the song but I also think there’s a sense of struggle that we, as a fan base expect and embrace and in the end we’ll be satisfied with the efforts and passion of many of our players and the few small victories that they have.