It's back, not the Premier League - but Villa's first Saturday home game. A 3 p.m. kick off will be the standard fare for Villans this year as most of their home games are at this exact time, so it was a good opportunity to plan the day: it's going to be a regular occurrence, so why not get used to it?
A 1pm train from Sutton Coldfield was already rammed to the rafters with Villa fans (and one Sunderland fan!), and it only takes you five minutes to get to Aston. Early arrival? That allows the chance to stop at the Witton Arms, two minutes from the North Stand for, well I'm not sure you can call it a rest, with the crowd and the boisterous behaviour, but it's all good natured. A cheer rings out as Arsenal beat Newcastle, and Sunderland fans jump around and mix with the Villans outside. Sunderland fans have always been good at mixing with Villa fans in Aston and that's never changed - they both seem to hate Birmingham City FC, so that stands them in good stead. The good scenes continued all around and it didn't have that tense atmosphere that you get with some other clubs - Newcastle, Leicester and Chelsea being culprits of this.
Eight minutes into the match and I've already got my head in my hands. We've got enough match reports, so I'll not dwell on the result too much, but time lost itself to me and I found the rest of the match a blur as I pondered justice and it's place in football.
I can't really shake a conversation we had in my Science class about six years ago. We were trying to wrap our heads around genes and genetics and our teacher eventually got fed up of our questions and put on some documentaries about the subject. To say it was mind-blowing would truly underestimate the banks of knowledge I gained that day, and to say I understood it would truly be a falsehood - I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I heard that day.
In a general sense, it goes like this - our genes contain triggers, which switch on & off during evolution and breeding. It's why you may suffer from the same problems as your grandparents, or share the same characteristics and features as your direct parents. The wildcard thrown in is by genetics that skip generations - so you could end up having the same hair colour as your great-grandfather. It's mind-blowing as to what makes up your gene pool and you'd have a hell of a time tracing it back to its foundations. The more interesting part, and there's not really an answer on this (I can't research it anymore, my mind is still blown wide open), is that it's possible our fates and potential may be tied into our genes - criminals may have a certain genetic code that triggers the potential for a criminal act to happen and the same with a genius, who may have the code that will lead him to a great discovery. The question this raises is that there must be people who may have 'inferior' genes who can destroy every notion of the potential laid out for them and leap onto a greater pedestal simply by working hard and if this was to happen, wouldn't it just destroy the notion of what I've just talked about?
At this point, Sunderland had scored an undeserved equaliser and sapped the atmosphere from the ground and it was clearly fated that it would be a draw as Villa tamely attacked Costel Pantillimon in the Sunderland goal. Were Villa fated to a draw because they played this way? Or was it simply luck that held them back? It's impossible to tell, and I rued the ball as it began to just bounce the right way out of Gestede's path - I started to believe it was fated.
I'd seen it a thousand times, I'd been optimistic a thousand times more; you just can't predict what Aston Villa will do on a given day as they are so, so good at doing the unexpected and absolutely terrible at completing the basics. In a sense, sometimes I'll already know the outcome of a match because it would have been an event I've seen play out countless times. Villa will be gutted that they left the match without a win in a game they dominated (or at least tried to).
In a sense, the concept of justice seems tied to these events. These footballing genetics seem embedded in the nature of some teams - Manchester United always seem to have some decisions go their way, Chelsea always seem to win! Maybe it's the fickle nature of supporting Aston Villa, but when Costel Pantillimon was booked for time-wasting and continued to do so, you can't help but think that somewhere & somehow, the match and its events have already been decided. Impossible, I know - but in late August, it's easy to think that when you've not much else to blame it on.
On a positive note, it was awesome seeing Villa's first two Premier League goals at Villa Park this season, if it's a shame that Villa didn't win, it's a total bummer they've still yet to score up the Holte End this season and I can't wait for that to happen. What's even better is seeing Micah Richards emerge as a Holte End hero with his madcap defending and attacking where he seems to be doing every task he can possibly perform at the same time. He'll be upset at missing the chance to win the game and he'll have scored that in every other match. What did I say? Sometimes you're fated to the result and in this case, I'm not sure how Aston Villa could have won the game.
There's seventeen home matches left in the Premier League - and it's going to be an atmosphere killer soon if Villa can't impress a home support that is dying to carry them to greatness. The memories of last season come to mind too quickly and as I walked home, I couldn't help but think that no Villa fan in their right mind, would be happy with that.