Who are these jobbers?
There’s a scene in Tom & Jerry when the amiable cat and mouse duo sit side by side on a train track. They have fallen on hard times and find themselves both anchored into this unfortunate situation with seemingly no chance of escape as the sound of the oncoming train grows louder. That’s what I currently feel towards Aston Villa - naturally we are much worse, but there was a time when we’d both be dining on caviar and cocaine in the world of excess known as the Premier League.
Alas, they currently have a few detestable characters in the midst - messrs John Terry and Steve “Nasty-Sunlun-Sacked-Wer-Because-I’m-A-Geordie-And-Definitely-Didn’t-Dismantle-One-Of-The-Best-Squads-They-Ever-Had-And-Replaced-It-With-Ji-Dong-Fucking-Won” Bruce - but are half decent now so whoopdidoo for them.
How Do I Get There?
It’s a pretty straightforward drive from Sunderland to the creamy suburb of Birmingham known as Aston. Take the A1 (M) to junction 35 before joining the M18 which will merge into the M1. Exit for the A42 near East Midlands Airport which will then become the M42. Take the M6 and you’ll spot Villa Park on your right hand side, take the A38 (M) and follow the signs for the ground.
For you big dawgs getting the train, you can hop off at Birmingham New Street and take a local service to either Aston or Witton railway stations. The ground is a couple of minutes away from these two stations.
A Love Supreme coaches leave from the Stadium of Light at 1pm with fares priced at £30. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
I always like to think I am providing a public service advising the great people of Sunderland where they can dull that aching sense of agony watching The Lads - it is my calling, if you will. And, as such, I will impart a piece of wisdom I have learnt on my years of visiting Villa Park - DO NOT DRINK NEAR THE GROUND.
There will be those charlatans decked in fluorescent jackets that will point you in the direction of The Witton Arms but resist at all costs. These jokers charge you £2 just to get in and you’ll be supping flat lager from plastic glasses and you can do that in the ground.
If you have a little time on your hands, head for the city centre. Birmingham has a huge range of excellent watering hole mere minutes from the doors of New Street Station.
Treat those weary bones to a delicious German pilsner in the Post Office Vaults, choose from a huge range of real ales at The Wellington, see how many Jagerbombs you can chuck down your neck at The Briar Rose or have one of those fancy craft beers at Brewdog Birmingham. The city centre is simply dripping in lager.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Birmingham is arguably one of the most underrated cities in the UK and you should all definitely find yourself a cosy little AirBnB and spend the night. I promise, soon as you hit Broad Street and you’re knee deep in a bucket of cocktails in Flares, you’ll be having the best of times.
If you fancy a mad dash back from the match (or possibly leave at half time) then the big dawg James Blunt is playing at Arena Birmingham. Alternatively, you can swing by the Glee Club to see the lovely Lucy Rose.
What will really blow away those post-Sunlun’ defeat blues is a trip to Cadbury World. Honestly, this place is sensational. Gorge yourself on loads on chocolate, learn about how the Aztecs used to smoke cocoa and then watch a git big vat of caramel churn. Put it this way, I went to Bruges once - the home of chocolate - and this place pisses all over it.
What’s The Ground Like?
I really like Villa Park... well, not enough to spend £30 on a match ticket and take two days off work for a midweek Championship fixture in November, but you get the jist. While it is one of those “proper football grounds” yer da bangs on about, it has aged like a fine wine.
Visually impressive, excellent view of the pitch, great acoustics to generate a good atmosphere and just a genuinely nice place to watch football. Alright, the concourses are a bit tight and they sometimes don’t sell booze but aside from that, it’s really quite decent.
We’re situated (I think) entirely in the lower tier of the Doug Ellis Stand which holds about 1,500. If you’re one of the hardy souls attending, I forever salute you and hope The Lads do the business.