Once-upon-a-time, to find evidence of Aston Villa doing decent community work, you’d have to wait for a grainy instagram shot of Rudy Gestede at a soup kitchen to emerge, days after the fact.
Nowadays, the hard work that Aston Villa are performing to champion the community is one of the main focuses at the club - but despite that, there’s a lot going on that you might be unaware of.
For instance, did you know that the club, and it’s players, are chucking money at a fundraiser for Villa superfan (super in more ways than one) Moin Younis. You may have seen Moin chilling out with David Beckham at the Pride of Britain awards, but day-to-day life isn’t usually as happy for the teenager, who suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosis. It’s painful, and to be blunt, it’s made life for Moin quite shit. Really shit, in fact and if you’re having trouble with that, then watch the documentary that the BBC put out about the lad. Moin is raising money to fund treatment, but it’s costly as it would need to cover the costs of his family and carers in relocation - and life - for a few years.
Moin is trying to raise £250,000 - a lot of cash - but if every single supporter at a sold out Villa Park gave £10 towards this, Moin would be away already - with change. Aston Villa would look to make up around £20,000 of that, which is a big chunk - but they want supporters to reach £20,000 in donations from fans of the club. We’re currently nearing £15,000 so a big push would easily clear that and bank an extra £20,000 from the club. What’s more, Gabby Agbonlahor and Jack Grealish have galvanised the squad and acquired £20,000 between the players of Aston Villa to top-up the fund, on top of what Grealish and others have already donated to the fundrasier. A lot of people might scoff at the £20,000 - which may seem like a speck of dust compared to the earnings of modern footballers, but £20,000 is no small amount of money, for anyone. What’s more, it’s likely £20,000 more than anyone else is giving!
It’s just ONE example of the amazing work that Aston Villa are doing in the community. You may have seen that. What you probably haven’t seen is a massive - and quiet - donation made by one Glenn Whelan, who kindly offered £2,000 towards an £8,000 goal that will sponsor a former Stoke City player as he runs the London Marathon in support of The Donna Louise Trust, supporting kids with life-limiting illnesses.
Glenn Whelan hasn’t mentioned this at all. Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew never mentioned the charity work they performed on a weekly basis whilst at the club. You don’t hear Jack Grealish nor Gabby Agbonlahor speak of the people they are constantly visiting across the city. This all happens in a vacuum, but the effects of it are hardly contained, or isolated.
I’m really proud of this club. I’m really proud of its fans, its players and everything surrounding the team. All of this and we haven’t even mentioned the fantastic Aston Villa foundation, its charity drives and food collections, mental health sessions and weight-loss football.
It feels so good to be a Villa fan right now.