One man's quest to restore the Holte End to its former glory

Stu Forster

Andy Bishop's "Get The Holte End Back" movement will try to reinstate the nostalgic atmosphere from the old Holte twenty years after the famous stand was torn down. But will it succeed with the negativity swirling around B6 this week?

It's no secret that Aston Villa are in dire need of points in their final home match of the season. It's also not a secret that Villa supporters are becoming more and more restless after seeing their formerly mid-table side drop squarely into the relegation scrap. But that's not stopping Andy Bishop and his "Get The Holte End Back" movement from trying to up the atmosphere at Villa Park through a bit of nostalgia.

Wednesday will mark 20 years since the last match played in front of the old Holte End—a 2-1 triumph over Liverpool—and Bishop wants Villa fans to recreate some of that famous Holte End atmosphere as the club plays its most important match of the season Saturday.

Now, being younger than the new Holte End, I don't have any memories of a terraced Holte End. Then again, neither does Bishop, who is only 23 yet leading the charge to bring back the feeling of the old days but has been inspired by stories of the old Holte.

"[I've heard about] the United semi-final [in 1970] with 30,000 in the Holte and the Bournemouth game [in 1972] with a record crowd for the Third Division and it's been great hearing personal accounts of Holte Enders during these games and what it was like to be in the Holte," Bishop said.

Despite the negativity swirling around the club, Bishop said he has been surprised with the response he's gotten from other supporters.

"Feedback surprisingly has been very positive," he said. "I expected a lot of negativity but I've been pleased."

Down the road, Bishop would like to see the fabled atmosphere of the Holte return, for himself and the others who are too young to remember how it was.

"In the future, it would be great if this makes younger supporters want to recreate the famous old Holte or older supporters want to bring back balloon craze, streamers, and bog rolls back," he said. "It's all about not forgetting and letting the true Holte End skip more generations. So many of today's fans have never even heard stories, let alone seen it."

We've already seen the Holte End erupt on a couple of occasions this season, namely after Andreas Weimann won it against Manchester City back in September or after Fabian Delph shocked Chelsea with his superb back-heel goal. But will we see it roaring Saturday celebrating a win that secures Villa's Premier League status for next year or raining down the boos after yet another home loss that could set up a nervy last week of the campaign?

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