Growing up in Cambridge, no child was a Cambridge United fan. They were a team that you would go and see on Sunday’s if you had nothing better to do. Blue square premier was the league that they were competing in, it just sounds like a part-time league doesn’t it. The gloom that surrounded the Abby stadium wasn’t something that a child would want to affiliate with, the homegrown charm of the Amber army didn’t compare to the allure of the Premier league. Mostly, my primary school was made up of United or Chelsea fans. These were the teams that you would boast about in the playground. The teams with full trophy cabinets, with huge stadiums, and teams worth millions. Not that any of us had ever seen these trophies actually lifted. I was a ‘devout’ United fan at the time, being a child that wasn’t particularly talented on the pitch this was more than likely an attempt to fit in.
This was all before I made the fateful switch from United red to the Claret and Blue. I traded Ronaldo for Ashley Young. Rooney and Tevez for Agbonlahor and John Crewe. It was an identity crisis at a very young age. It seems strange to me that one day I pledged my heart to a team, a group, and the next I had changed completely and swore loyalty to another. Something that seems weirdly impossible to me now. However, being the stubborn child that I was, I stuck to it and here I am today.
We all know how the Story goes and in April 2016 Aston Villa were relegated to the Championship. Ending a 24 year love affair with the Premier league since it’s establishment. Admittedly, I lost some interest in Villa during this dark period. I’m not sure if it was the embarrassment of playing in a lower division, or it was my glory hunting tendencies rising back to the surface. Nevertheless I continued to awkwardly admit that my team were Aston Villa to people I’d just met at the pub, which was usually met with remarks of joy that their team was superior to mine.
Fast-forward to 2020 and, wait…no, go back. Aston Villa have been enjoying their best start to a premier league campaign in recent memory. Four wins out of five and sitting pretty in third place. As we all can expect, the ceiling will eventually fall through, this type of success is unprecedented in Aston. Don’t fear, we will be in the relegation battle dogfight again soon enough. However, just for a brief moment, we are above the spiralling giants of Manchester United. There is hope. And there is hope that twelve years ago, I did actually make the right decision in swapping teams.