Aston Villa fans have taken a predictable stance this week in the lead up to Saturday’s match, both with the fickle nature of their support and with what happened back in May 2009.
As for deserting their club with the drop to the Championship, gates now dropping below thirty thousand and whole section of Villa Park closed off for the entire season, their defence generally appears to be that they won a European trophy over three decades ago so that will always mean they are a bigger club than Newcastle United.
When it comes to the ongoing argument about what happened seven years ago, it was just ‘banter’ and it Newcastle who have the problem when it comes to…having a problem with what went on that day.
To really understand just how pathetic most of the Aston Villa fans were that day, you really had to be there.
It wasn’t simply just the pre-prepared embarrassing banners that had been prepared by that publicity seeking goon.
Going to Villa Park is always a depressing experience anyway, an absolute dump of an area and the only pubs in close proximity being total dives that you wouldn’t normally be seen dead in, yet charge away fans to go into their beer ‘gardens’.
Anyway, back in May 2009 the travelling Newcastle fans were really up for the game, understandably.
Premier League survival was at stake and similar to Filbert Street in May 1992, we really felt that the club’s entire future could drop either way based on this result.
After driving out Kevin Keegan from the club, Mike Ashley had brought us to the brink of relegation via so many nightmare decisions, particularly in employing JFK, that when he then belatedly appointed somebody else who gave the fans belief, it gave a glimpse of better things to come – if we stayed up.
Fans trust Alan Shearer, just like they do Kevin Keegan and Rafa Benitez, as well as Sir Bobby of course when he was in charge. Whether Alan Shearer is management material or not, we will probably never know now, the point was that at that time Newcastle supporters had hope once again and it all felt like it hung on this match.
On the other hand, it was a meaningless game for Aston Villa fans.
They had already qualified for the Europa League and ended the season 10 points off the Champions League places and nine points ahead of Fulham in seventh.
Yet the home fans filled the ground, their first capacity crowd for over three months when Chelsea had visited.
Arriving early to make sure we had plenty time for alcohol-induced anaesthetic, we walked a distance away from the ground and even a few hours before kick-off we were surprised to be met by a few comments on the way to the pub, all hoping that we would get relegated.
As the pre-match drinking continued it was obviously the case that most Aston Villa fans were desperate for Newcastle to be relegated.
Some Newcastle fans took exception to this lack of class and scuffles ensued, before the walk up to the stadium to find out our fate.
That walk was punctuated by gangs of trampy charva home fans getting even more cocky now they were full of drink, clearly a lot more interested in Newcastle than their own team, chanting about our impending fall into the Championship.
The match as you all know was desperate, never looking like we would trouble the goalkeeper never mind getting the one goal that would have saved us from relegation.
However, this was also to a backdrop of bizarre over the top celebrations in the home sections as the Duff own goal increasingly looked like it was sealing our fate as the match closed on the final whistle.
The much talked about bedsheet banners were there, to the total bemusement of all Newcastle fans who were there present.
Which sad loser(s) would bother doing this for a team that meant nothing to them? Clearly somebody who didn’t have a girlfriend…
For Birmingham City of course, or West Brom maybe, but a club 200 miles away that had no relevant history of antagonism?
The scenes outside Villa Park were just as embarrassing, the locals literally dancing in the streets, as though their team had actually achieved something.
Driving away, we then had the added pleasure of people who hadn’t even been at the match piling out of their houses to laugh at Newcastle’s fall from grace and mockingly wave us off.
A fanbase and city totally lacking in class.