I posted the final Villan of the Week profile two weeks ago—but there are still so many Villans I wish I’d had time to include! The following four fine people answered my entreaties to be Villans of the Summer. Their stories make excellent reading material while we await the fate of our beloved club. Who will buy them? Who will we see on the field next season?
I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. I live in Chicago and help manage a call center for a cruise company. Simon Leach started me watching the Villa about three years ago when we first met. Seeing them play at Toyota Park sealed the deal and I’ve been a fan ever since. I’m not sure that it was so much the team that I fell in love with, but the fans. The fans are so enthusiastic and loyal that it is hard to ignore that energy. Even if we lose, I know I will always enjoy watching the Villa play as long as I am in the company of other Villans. My happiest moment as a fan was attending the players’ awards ceremony at the end of the 2012-13 season. The reception hall at Villa Park was beautifully decorated and everyone was dressed to impress. I have experienced many great moments of joy in regards to the Villa, but wearing a ball gown and taking photos with Brad Guzan takes the cake every time. I used to watch games solely at the Globe Pub but, now that all of the games are available online, I have been finding it hard to leave the comfort of my bed on Saturday mornings. When I do make it to the pub, you will find me drinking one of the many fine beers they have on tap.
I was born in Chehalis, a tiny town in southwestern Washington state, and have lived in Washington, D.C. since 2004. I’m a PhD candidate in musicology at the University of Maryland. I’ve been following Villa since the summer of 2010, when Kirsten Schlewitz and Aaron Campeau started the blog for which I now write, 7500 to Holte. They, like me, were Seattle Mariners fans, and we all sort of e-knew each other from a Mariners blog, Lookout Landing. I was looking for a Premier League team, and then these two writers I knew started one about Aston Villa, I thought, “Why not?” I really became a fan the summer that Martin O’Neill left, so there haven’t been many highlights since, but after this year’s win against Chelsea, I walked around with a dopey grin on my face for a couple of days. I usually watch games on my couch. I run the match-day Twitter for 7500, and that includes making gifs, so I’ve got to be at my computer. I also handle the post-match recaps, so it really doesn’t leave much of a chance to get to the pub. I drink coffee—a latte if I’m feeling decadent!
I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, but I’ve bounced around quite a bit since I graduated from high school in 2005. I spent six years in Nashville attending Belmont University, two in Washington, D.C., and now I live in Evanston. I’m working in a restaurant and planning to go to graduate school in a year and a half. The 2002 World Cup was what ultimately turned me into a soccer fan. Until then, I really didn’t watch the sport. When I was younger, I had a friend whose parents were from Birmingham, and I remembered that they were fans of Aston Villa, so that’s the club I decided to support. I haven’t thought twice about it. Traveling with my wife from D.C. to Philadelphia a couple of summers ago was my happiest moment as a fan—it was the first time I’d met other Villa fans. They were extremely welcoming to us, which made for a memorable night . . . and quite the headache the next morning. Second to that would probably be the month of April 2008. Beating Bolton 4-0, Derby 6-0, and SHA 5-1 made for an incredible end to the season; Petrov’s bomb against Derby still gives me goosebumps. I used to watch games at home, but since I finally managed to get myself to the Globe late this season, I don’t think there’s any way I’m going back to watching matches by myself. I’m a bit of a hop head, so IPAs are my beer of choice. I try not to get too repetitive with my beer selection, though.
I was born in York, Pennsylvania. I now live in Chicago, where I work as a Wall Street cop who examines and inspects securities firms. I decided to follow Villa in 2007, just before I moved from Chicago to Birmingham for work. I used a calculated methodology: it couldn’t be a traditional top-four club (for obvious reasons), but it had to be a somewhat-competitive club with rich traditions, long history, and a blue-collar following. Guess who ticked all the boxes? My happiest moment as a supporter was definitely attending the FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea at Wembley in 2010. I usually watch games at the Globe Pub, and I’ll drink anything that says Three Floyds on the label or the tap handle.