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A Pilgramage of Sorts

Posted by Kirsten

Many laughed when I announced my intention to go to Villa Park. Not for a game, mind you, but simply to go tour the stadium. This required waking up at 6am to catch a 7:30am train to get to Birmingham by 9:30 for the 10:30am tour. And I still had to run.

First view of Villa Park

It was all worth it when I caught up with the tour and experienced the two-hour long intensive circle through Villa Park.

Next time I'll stand there

I'm sure that many Villa fans take these sights for granted, but at the same time, the cynical and tired baseball fan in me still feels her heart jump a bit each time she enters Safeco Field.

Then again, there's a part of me that is crazy as well

Turns out they let obnoxious Americans try on the jerseys. Or perhaps just obsessive ones. Either way, I got to feel what it would be like to pretend Dunney would let me wear his jersey backward-- it feels like I'm wearing a potato sack. I think I'll order the (much) smaller size.

Are you listening, Capello?

Best part of the locker room (besides the Dunne fantasy, of course) was the discussion of the cold water bath. All players are required to get in the bath for a minute or two after the game, to help with muscle recovery. Apparently this helps shrink down the muscles after exertion. And, according to our guide, it also 'shrinks other things.'

Don't try and tell me your mind didn't immediately go there

After the locker room, they took us through the player tunnel to gaze at the field, where I stared at MON's worn path and illegally picked a blade of grass, which of course I lost almost immediately.

We toured the boxes, we toured the club level, we found the room in which I will be married (excellent view of the pitch!)(Now I just need a fiancée!) Overall it was well worth the trip to Birmingham. And thankfully I booked a later train home, as I needed nearly two hours in the team store, where making decisions was like choosing between children. And then, of course, I needed to go have a pint and contemplate the events of the day. Thank goodness Villa Park thought ahead and gave me a classy little pub in which to eavesdrop on old men yapping about James Milner.

Steak and Mushroom Pie with Ale

In case any lingering doubt remained, I think we are now all convinced that I should be sitting under this sign.