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Sleeping with the enemy

How Aston Villa fans can survive when football drives a wedge into a relationship.

Leeds United v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship - Elland Road
Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings (right) squares up to Leeds United’s Tyler Roberts (left) and Kalvin Phillips (centre).
Photo by Clint Hughes/PA Images via Getty Images

As an Aston Villa fan living in the United States, I had few opportunities to meet and greet other Villans (except my bestie; hi Aaron!), much less start any kind of relationship with one, be it romantic or roommate. I used to be married to a Chelsea fan, which meant game days involved a lot of gloating. Others I know have the same issue — Tottenham vs. Everton, Arsenal vs. Liverpool. Living in Serbia makes it even harder to find fellow Villa fans. I admit, I fell in with a bad crowd. I just didn’t know it would matter until Leeds managed to make their way to the Premier League. Now I’m here to share my wisdom on how one handles living in the same space with a fan of the team your club is about to meet.

The first steps are always the easiest. For example, you should wear your Aston Villa pajamas to bed the night before the match.

You may end up sleeping on the couch, but these should keep you warm and snuggly while you’re there.

Obviously, the day of the match you should dress up in your Villa finery. If you’ve got an old kit that still fits, great—clearly the older your gear, the better a fan you are. Otherwise, go for one of the lovely new kits.

Aston Villa home kit 20/21

And, of course, you’ll want to wear your lucky underwear with your kit.

That’s the only underwear available, so suck it up and don some boxer briefs. Now, you’ll want to go simple with the scarf, because classic says “I do not have a care in the world. I know my team will win.”

To enhance your casual demeanor and air of confidence, slip on a pair of Villa shades before you leave the house.

Rivalry or not, wear a fucking mask.

Now, this is very important: be sure that you arrive home before the other person. This gives you plenty of time to arrange your living space into one that reflects a Villa home. Do not be shy about removing things that reflect the other club’s colors. All’s fair in love and war.

Personally, I recommend hanging streamers of claret and blue throughout the entranceway, ensuring that the enemy gets tangled in Villa colors as soon as they step into the home. Strangely enough, Aston Villa don’t sell streamers. They should consider it.

If you’re really lucky, you’re living in a house with a front yard, or at least a porch that you can claim as your own. You know what to do.

Finally, if you’re feeling really evil, be sure you’ve bought the enemy’s favorite animal in the form of a stuffed cuddly toy, and place it squarely on a pillow that is, of course, covered with an AVFC pillowcase.

Let’s face it — you’re unlikely to get through this game without needing a drink. Or five. Pick up this pint glass and smirk over the rim as the Villa go from strength to strength.

And while this Villa season has been fantastic thus far, make no assumptions. Be sure you have a safe place. Even if it’s just beneath your Villa blanket. After all, if you can’t see them, they can’t see you. Then it will be impossible for them to gloat.

Above all, remember you’re Villa til you die. In other words, Be Prepared.