A bloody cold day at Villa, but a good result nevertheless
Aston Villa 2 Spurs 3
Yes, it was bloody windy, cold and wet.
I was planning to leave at 7am, woke up at 5ish, heard the wind and rain and thought I’d stay an extra hour in bed. I eventually left at 8ish, and lucky for me there wasn’t much traffic on the road, so I got to Aston, Birmingham at 9.30.
Spend about 30 minutes looking for a parking place (the parking near the stadium was for permit holders only). I found a road that didn’t have restrictions and parked about 15 minutes away from the stadium. When I parked, it was pouring so I decided to stay in my car for about an hour. Then walked in the rain (luckily I prepared myself well; clothes-wise) to the stadium. Near the stadium, there was a burger van and I had a steak burger with cheese. Chatted to the owner for a while about how Villa have been doing lately (terrible, according to him, and who would disagree). Then I walked around the stadium and got myself a programme in the Villa shop.
I then decided to hang around the Away entrance and talked to another Spurs supporter called Mel. He goes to home, away and abroad, so we exchanged phone numbers. He lives in Bristol.
Just a side issue (14th February 1999); on that day we beat Wimbledon 1-0 in the second leg of the Worthington Cup (League Cup) semi-final to go through to the Final. Steffen Iversen’s goal, even though late, got us through. The first game we only managed to draw against Wimbledon in the first leg at White Hart Lane. No guesses who we met in the final or what the score was!!! And yes, I was at all the games, including the Final.
I remember going to Villa back in the sixties, and it was a pretty good stadium, it still is, but antiquated… like travelling back into the past (nothing wrong with that). It is ok travelling to those modern stadiums, but there is a special warmth when going to those old ones (like a blast from the past, so to speak; it brings back memories of the old days… and I can remember a few).
Aston Villa Football Club (nicknamed Villa) was founded in 1874, and no, I wasn’t there… close, but not quite. They’ve been at their home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. For those that are interested, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888 and of the Premier League in 1992, along with us (but not for the football League in 1888). Villa are one of only five English clubs to have won the European Cup, in 1981–82. They have also won the Football League First Division seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. That club has a history, sadly, over the years they have deteriorated and have become a prop up club (just like West Ham, and ironically, both clubs could go down this season). Anyway… back to the present and the game.
Met many friends; Rick and Beverley decided to rib me over the Valentine dinner (it can be read on this blog) and the photos I took (only a few were on my Facebook page), but just one or two of Hanna though (which they were commenting on). Inside I met up with Terry, Sue, Sue’s daughter and friends. Terry jumped in on the Valentine bandwagon of ribbing.
Then I got something to eat (again!) and then to our seats. Great I thought, I am at the top, bottom tier, with the gangway in front of me, so I could sit and watch the game… no such luck, as people arrived, and it was raining, they decided to stand in the gangway (up to where I was, which was also under a shelter)… so I had to stand. Oh, well… at least I took painkillers for my legs (arthritis) beforehand.
The match started (we thought it could be cancelled because of the weather). I predicted 3-1 (close).
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said, about the match, a "farcical VAR decision" contributed to Tottenham's last-gasp Premier League. Swings and roundabout, just swings and roundabouts… we all have suffered from it.”
We were awarded a penalty by VAR when the score was 1-1, with Son scoring the rebound. He also scored a stoppage-time winner, taking us up to fifth in the table, a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea (we’ve got Chelsea on Saturday).
Villa’s Smith was heavily critical of VAR's intervention. "I don't get it," he said. "There's 42,000 people in the stadium, he [referee Martin Atkinson] gives a goal-kick and everyone believes it's a goal-kick. It was a farcical VAR decision. The criteria is clear and obvious. It's not clear and obvious. Martin Atkinson stood up but his authority has been taken away "I told Martin at half-time I didn't blame him, but if he was brave enough to walk over to that monitor it takes 30 seconds, you go, 'No, I'm happy with my decision' and we play on. "Instead we go into an environment where there's no feel for the game or what's happened and we make a decision. It was a sore result for us, it's a tough one to take."
Whatever way you look at it, we won. He wouldn’t have moaned if Villa had won under the same circumstances.
It wasn’t a great game, but we held on and managed to snatch a goal right at the end (in extra time). Our scorer for that late winner was by Son. This was his second, our first was by Toby Alderweireld. Toby also scored their first goal (own goal), Engels got their second. We kept fighting to the end, and even though Son had fractured his arm earlier on, he still kept on playing, thus getting us the three points we so desperately needed. Now Son will be out for a while.
The result means Villa remain a point above the bottom three in 17th (West Ham are in the bottom three, and we play them in a couple of weeks).
We won, rejoice, rejoice… We could have played brilliantly and lost… and nobody remembers losers. Look at Liverpool, they aren’t a great team, as some make them out to be, but they’ve had luck on their side (also, look at the Champions League Cup final… say no more!).
I must say, we thought it was going to be a draw… then in the dying minutes, we scored and then pandemonium broke out. Everybody grabbed everybody else, some went flying over, it was crazy. Like we had won a cup or something. I haven’t seen such scenes for quite a while at an away game.
The players came over and applauded us, we applauded them. Alderweireld threw his shirt into the crowd. I started the game off very cold, but such excitement certainly warmed one up.
We are now in 5th place, behind Chelsea. And we face them on Saturday (minus Son & Kane).
Walking back to your car with such a victory under your belt certainly puts a spring into your step (and that is saying something when one has a disability). I got to my car, and I must say, had a pleasant journey back. Not too much bumper to bumper traffic when leaving, and once on the motorway it was plain sailing all the way home. I got home around about sixish.
To celebrate I had a few glasses of wine, fell asleep watching TV. Hanna phoned to shock me away… I think I talked jibberish for a while (nothing unusual there) and then went to bed.
What a life being a Spurs supporter, but well worth it. And what a great weekend. All started off with a Valentine’s H Club dinner on Friday, Saturday recuperated, and then a fantastic result on Sunday. And what also tops it off (that is, win, lose or draw) is meeting such friends – Tottenham friends – at away matches (some of them I sit with at home).
Until the next time, enjoy and all the best, Glenn