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Happy Birthday, 7500 to Holte! (Without You Lot, This Wouldn't Be Possible)

Wow guys. It's been a year. A year since Aaron and I started 7500, showing our love for Aston Villa with the campiest little avatar ever, the little heart over Villa Park. And, well, what a year it's been. If you had asked us last year what we thought we'd be writing about during the 2010-2011 season, it would likely have been Villa's struggle for the coveted fourth position, or whether Martin O'Neill would ever branch out from his staid, conservative football.

Instead, we covered last year's crushed Champions League dreams, and about whether Ashley Young would stay or go. Both of those were predictable. So, too, was James Milner's departure, although it was still difficult to deal with. Not as hard as MON walking a few days before the season started, however. Our favorite players -- John Carew and Richard Dunne -- were a bundle of trouble. Our replacement players -- Eric Lichaj and Barry Bannan -- got sent off to Leeds. Gerard Houllier showed up at our doorstep. We feared the r-word. We got Bent.

But through the long nights and exceedingly early mornings, even as we drank and smoke way too much than was likely good for us, having this place around has really been the best coping mechanism two Villa fans, 7500 km away, could ask for. Where else but here can we talk about elfs and gnomes, about Marc's love affair with Baz, about Rober Pires' unmentionables? Even when it's seemed like the only logical reaction to loving Aston Villa is to go hurl sharp objects, or possibly one's breakfast, or maybe even one's self, off the balcony, this place can always bring a smile. And this season, that's been desperately needed.

So much has come out of this one little site. We've found two awesome contributors in Gareth Simpson and Robert Lintott. We've gotten to know you guys, whether through guest posts, comments, twitter, or some combination of the three. Aaron and I have both devoted time to other writing commitments, on the soccer main page, on Sounder at Heart, and on SBN Seattle. But when it comes down to it, this is where our hearts truly lie: with watching about the Villa, writing about the Villa, talking about the Villa. We wouldn't want it any other way, and I think we're both astonished that so many of you stop by each day to read what we have to say and take time to let us know your own thoughts.

I can't speak for Aaron, but I know that, for me, it's even better that I get to share this blog, and all the pain, suffering, and sometimes even joy that comes from being a Villa fan, with my best friend.

Long may it continue!


Kirsten & Aaron