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Do Toon Fans Hold A Grudge Against Villa?
Published : 26 Apr 2012 11:42:39
Would you laugh if Aston Villa were relegated?
I first visited Villa Park back in January 1976 when Newcastle took a point, thanks to a goal from Alan Gowling, in a 1-1 draw.
And I cannot remember any serious incident between the two sets of fans in all of my trips to their ground.
We have always mixed well, and remember one trip to Copenhagen when we spent two nights drinking (before and after our fixtures) when we crossed over the Baltic to watch our teams play in Sweden.
We played Halmstads, they were further down the coast, but we were both based in Denmark because of the 'easier on the pocker' beer prices.
All 'happy families' ... until we were relegated at Villa Park back in 2009 ... and Villa fans went to extraordinary lengths to mock our demise.
It went way beyond what we expected, and many Toon fans haven't forgot.
Now the boot is on the other foot ... and Villa are in serious danger of hitting the trap door.
It all started when they appointed the manager of their deadliest rivals - Birmingham City.
Villa fans (understandably) mocked Brums relegation, too, but were soon put in their place when they made the Blues' manager their own.
Unthinkable? Well ... the Villa fans think so ... and they haven't been happy since!
Now former Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis believes it would be "foolish" for the current owner Randy Lerner to sack manager Alex McLeish.
Villa fans demanded the end of McLeish's reign after Tuesday's 2-1 home defeat by Bolton left them only three points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.
A section of supporters are intending to protest against McLeish during the final home game of the season against Tottenham on May 6.
But Ellis, who sold his controlling stake to Lerner six years ago, has backed his decision to support McLeish.
Ellis: "It would be foolish for McLeish to go. Despite the fact most of the fans are upset he came from Birmingham, McLeish is a good manager.
"The game is not about management, it is about players. Villa have three, four, five established first-team players who are injured and we have to bring in the kids.
"But they will not go down. Villa have three more matches, a three-point gap above the bottom three, a better goal difference, and need three points to be certain."
Fans vented their anger against McLeish after the Bolton defeat which meant they had won just once in 13 games and intend to protest at the Spurs game.
Protest organiser Chris Hearn said: "We want to increase the pressure on our board to act or for McLeish to do the honourable thing and walk away.
"If supporters have had enough of the direction the club is taking under McLeish, now is the time to act."