I was thinking of ‘Blogging Marcel Berlins’ explanation of why he supports Aston Villa Football Club before Norm tagged me about it. It contains possibly the ultimate middle-class football fan anecdote. 10 years old and fresh off the boat from France in South Africa, the lawyer-to-be chose to support Aston Villa because:
“I knew what a villa was. Friends of my parents had a small one near Marseille.”
My own story has at least one similarity. I was, like Berlins, confused by the exotic words in the names of the football teams that the other infants school boys supported. I assumed that “West Bromwich Albion” was, for example, some remote South American nation.
The name “Aston Villa” appealed to me because I had seen a picture in, I think, a Richard Scarry book. I vaguely remember there being a double page spread in it depicting lots of anthropomorphed dogs and cats wandering around an ancient Roman villa dressed in togas and imagined that perhaps this was the kind of environment in which Aston Villa played their games. Supposedly, the actual “Villa” wasn’t in South America, but, according to the other boys, really close by. Also, given the dress code, it was probably quite warm; Britain was bloody freezing. I’d never seen a real villa, but that big space in the middle of Scarry’s seemed like an excellent place to kick a ball around so I signed up.
At least you didn’t end up supporting Tottenham Hotspur because you had no idea what a Hotspur was, but it sounded brilliant.
Admittedly, that and presumably your grandfather didn’t threaten you with family excommunication otherwise.
Also, there was that Merchant-Ivory-esque film out a couple of years ago called “Up [at] the Villa” which confused me mightily whenever I happened to catch a glimpse of one of its posters from the corner of my eye.
I supported Queen of the South. Call me naif – or naive.
You were lucky. I found my team when, aged 7, I accidentally turned on the telly to catch the last 6 minutes of the 1976 FA Cup Final. Like a good little Brit, I began cheering on the losing team, and have done so ever since. It’s not my team I’m complaining about – just that it has to be the love that dare not speak its name. At least you can come out, and hope for sympathy.
What’s wrong with Crystal Palace? (well, apart from our finest moment being losing an FA cup final and the slight problem we seem to have staying in the premier league for more than one season at a time…)
I can’t believe that when given a choice between teams to support by the south London (CPFC) and north London sides of my family (Arsenal), I actually made a positive choice to go with Palace.
If you had ever seen a real villa, you’d have supported Villa Real instead.
You said you wanted jokes. Be careful what you wish for.
I seriously confused Tottenham Hotspur with the Hottentots in my early english days. Bet you can’t pronounce SzékesfehérvÃ¡r though.