Every second that passes, we are even closer to the FA Cup Final. Every second that passes makes me a little more nervous. We are just a few days away from Aston Villa's biggest match in years. That makes me feel giddy but at the same time a little terrified. How does it make you feel? What does it make you feel? I decided to ask the 7500 to Holte staff that as we inch closer to match day.
Q: Villa have an important match this weekend. What does the FA Cup Final mean to you?
The FA Cup Final is a chance to put half a decade of frustration behind us. Once Tim Sherwood took over, the mood at the club changed and became almost entirely positive for the first time since Martin O'Neill left. If Villa can win on Saturday, they can solidify that mood, spring themselves into summer, and capitalize on the positive change. If they lose, we'll still have the thrill of a trip to Wembley and Premier League survival a mere three months after a loss to Hull that made most of us think we were certainly going to be relegated. That's not a bad turnaround at all.
I don't want to be over dramatic but the FA Cup means an awful lot to me. I remember us losing the Carling Cup Final in 2010 and that hurt, so for this, an even bigger competition, it means even more. There's so much at stake, not just Europe, but you'd imagine it will have an impact on potential signings too. Heck, winning even gives us a better shot of keeping Christian Benteke around for another season. Win or lose, it's going to be emotional.
Really a chance to be proud of Villa again - especially living in a foreign country, people have been mentioning to me their plans to watch the match and asking about the team. FA Cup final day still feels like a moment when the country and parts of the world turn their attention to a single match. In terms of seeing something that could go down in the club's history, this is my best chance since I became a fan at 7 or 8 years old.
Bragging rights. Having something to say to all the bandwagon fans of big clubs. It's not the Mickey Mouse Cup, it's the oldest trophy in association football. This one actually means something, which is why we must step up to the occasion. A win means Europa League football next season. While some (mostly English) media hate this competition, it's a step in the right direction and would put Villa on TV sets in countries like Belgium and Spain...
It's the light at the end of the tunnel - for such a disappointing season, an appearance in the FA Cup Final serves as a sign that this club can return to the exciting team that we all fell in love with. The fans, who have showed up for the past four or five years (even while some of the players haven't) deserve this. Despite the lackluster, boring, sometimes downright awful football that they've had to endure, Villa fans have established themselves among the most loyal of supporters. An FA Cup Final, with all eyes on Wembley and a chance to show the greatness of the Villa, is their reward.
This match means everything. Over the last 5 years this club has known almost nothing but failure and hurt. Yet the nature of this bizarre, wonderful game means we are all still here. Performances and results since Tim Sherwood took over have ranged from awful to brilliant, but the change in mentality of the squad has been so obvious. Like Tim said after the Liverpool game the belief is there throughout the club that we can finally drag ourselves out of this endless cycle. Winning the cup would remind everyone we're not just here to make up the numbers and make a powerful statement. We're Aston Villa, we're out of this coma and we finally mean business again.
It's huge. Since Villa last crashed out of the Europa league it's safe to say there's been almost nothing to cheer about save for avoiding relegation year in and year out. They made us sweat it out again this year but with the distinct lift in mood and change in style that Tim Sherwood has brought this feels like a new beginning in ways the previous restarts didn't. There's no better way to remind people of who Aston Villa are and beating arsenal would be a massive statement. From an American perspective this is a massive opportunity to pick up new fans. There's no question Villa will pick up overseas fans with a good performance. I hope they leave it all on the pitch.
Everything. The FA Cup is, realistically speaking, the biggest trophy the club can win right now. Villa are a win away from it. They'd been to the Final just twice since 1920; this opportunity doesn't come very often. Seize it, and it's a great day for the club, winning their first major honor in 19 years and the biggest thing to happen for the club in 33. Lose? You're just a footnote in history.
Sports are about winning trophies. And like Alex said, the FA Cup is probably the biggest trophy that Aston Villa could realistically win at the moment and the club has the opportunity to do that on Saturday. For that reason, this FA Cup Final is an immense occasion for Aston Villa Football Club and its supporters that have suffered so much in the past few years.
However, to play devil's advocate a bit, I'm also a bit hesitant to over-sensationalize the importance of this match. Just look at Wigan and Hull -- being FA Cup finalists certainly didn't transform their clubs for the better, and Wigan even won the damn thing. Villa will still be in the Premier League next season, a new owner could be on the horizon and who knows what Villa will look like five or 10 years down the road. A day out at Wembley in the cup final is amazing, but the club and its fans also have to keep an eye towards the future -- regardless of the outcome of Saturday.
15 years ago David James cost us the cup. As a heartbroken 6 year old, I hid under my bed for 3 hours, inconsolable. Saturday means everything to me, time to avenge those years of trophyless mediocrity and soak up the incredible atmosphere at Wembley. The Europa League also gives us our most realistic chance of Champions League football too, and potentially some awesome away days across the continent. UTV!
I'll have a post later in the week that delves into this topic more personally, but for now I'll say this: because they owe it to us, dammit. I don't actually mean that the way it sounds. I'm not actually that entitled about fandom and I wouldn't give up supporting Villa or do anything else crazy if we lost. Supporting Villa is like driving a car straight at a brick wall: you know it's stupid but you do it because you're a crazy person. Villa doing this one nice thing for me, a crazy person who wakes up way earlier than he would to like every weekend, would be nice of them.
That's what we had to say and now we want to hear from you. What does the FA Cup Final mean to you?
Throughout the FA Cup final week, we're raising money for the Villa Rockets Powerchair Football club. With your help we can reach £5,000 and get them a new powerchair! Read about the club and our effort here, or simply click here to donate and help us reach our goal! And remember, if you donate any amount, you can enter to win a free Fabian Delph t-shirtfrom The Art of Football!