Ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, here are five things you should know about the Hamm… sorry, Lions
We know how it is. You’re on the campaign trail and you forget the football team you’ve supported all your life. You might have a valid excuse, like David Cameron – he muddled up his beloved Aston Villa with West Ham United, not because of a spurious attempt to have something in common with Joe Public, but because he’d recently flown over the Hammers’ Upton Park – by helicopter.
Whether you’re a lifelong supporter like Cameron or just cheering them on because you really, really hate Arsenal, here is a crash course to the mighty Villa. You’ll soon be able to pass yourself off as a diehard fan almost as convincingly as the Prime Minister.
1. They’re named after a pub
The Villa Cross. Cricketers playing for the pub team wanted to keep their side together during winter, so formed Aston Villa FC in 1874.
2. They were the first English club to wear claret and blue
Villa were fashion trailblazers – Burnley and, none other than Cameron’s second team, West Ham, both later adopted Villa’s club colours.
3. Tom Hanks is a big fan
Of their name, at least: “When I was in London I saw the football scores... all of a sudden Aston Villa came up. I thought, ‘What a lovely name.’”
4. Their most famous chant is easy to sing along to
Most of it doesn’t even contain real words: “Yippie aye eh, yippie aye oh, Holte Enders in the sky...”
5. Their manager tells it like it is
Tim Sherwood doesn’t mince his words: “I didn’t come in here all guns blazing... I left the stick at home, and the tickling brush. Now I feel I know [the players] a bit better. Some get a whack, others a tickle.” It’s worked – Villa have stayed up and are in their first FA Cup Final for 15 years.