My parents had no allegiances, dad went to villa with an ex girlfriend but that’s as far as it went.
I went to a couple of villa games with my dad which were seen as a ‘treat’ admittedly it was impressive being in that stadium as a youngster and hearing the rolling thunder (to an impressionable child) of the seats banging when fans stood up when ever villa attacked. thing I loved most was just being there with my dad sharing a burger at half time.
As I said before my family all come from wednesbury and it was only my dad who moved away to Birmingham where he met my mom. so I used to spend a lot of time at my nans in wednesbury. The magic happened when my aunts chap at the time was nice enough to ask if I wanted to come with him to Walsall save me being stuck in the house, It was instantly different, at the villa I was always in the side stand in a real family friendly environment, Walking into the ground via the gilbert alsP stand to be so close to the pitch was a new experience. Then being stood on steps leaning up crush barriers amongst the men who stunk of fags and booze was at the time radical.
Before going to Walsall I had no concept that football was played in competitive leagues, just took it more as an event. hearing Walsall fans singing we are top of the league changed all that. I think I first went during the 2000/2001 promotion season, remember tom Bennett being my first captain.
It was hard literally being the only Walsall fan at my secondary school in Erdington used to get the ■■■■ ripped out of me. villa were a really good team back then pushing at the top of the premier league and cup finals.
I remember the first time we played them in a pre season friendly at home, we done them 3-0 I was on holiday in the Dominican and my dad told me the score and I was so chuffed. I went back to school at the start of the new school year and gave them all a round of ■■■■■. we actually did them twice on the bounce in pre season games.
I probably owe my passion and love for the club not wavering to the junior saddlers, I was a football fanatic as a kid, I just lived and breathed football and beaing able to be dropped off to play football (initially at joseph leckie) on the astro turf by my new found mecca for a coupe of hours was quality. I used to love seeing the pre matchh build up take place whilst playing football with away team fans arriving and watching us for a bit before going to the ground. if there was ever a period in my life I could go back to it would be that, playing football care free and watching us in the championship. HEAVEN