The Dubai Lions go big for their 5-year anniversary
Five years ago, the Dubai Lions was founded in the corner of an Irish Bar in the North of Dubai. On November 2, 2019, the supporters club celebrated its fifth birthday with over 80 regular Dubai Lions making an appearance across the weekend, known simply as 'DL5'.
The weekender began with a Q&A session with special guests Shaun Teale and Ian Taylor who spoke candidly about past managers, trips to Newcastle, freak injuries and cup winning performances. Both of the villa heroes also posed for photos with the supporters club members, enjoying a few cold drinks and plenty of banter.
Taylor, 51, a lifelong supporter of the Villans and school mates with Dubai Lions' very own Vice Chairman Mark Maynard, spent time as a child on the Holte End before signing from Sheffield Wednesday in 1994. This fact, combined with his utterly committed displays and knack of scoring crucial goals, quickly established him as a fans' favourite. Always contributing toward the discussion with humour and wit, Tayles also spoke of his admiration for Dwight Yorke during his Villa days and how Brian Little was the most inspirational manager.
Shaun Teale, 55, moved to Aston Villa in July 1991. He helped us finish as runners-up in the Premier League in 1993 and win the Football League Cup a year later. Tealy also spoke highly of Brian Little, less so about Big Ron Atkinson whilst also regaling tales of that infamous semi-final against Tranmere Rovers. He also revealed a freak injury after smashing a fish-tank (cleaned by his wife, Carol) that sliced his arm.
The session finished with a memorable video with well wishes from far away Dubai Lions, ex Villa players and current players and staff.
After the Q&A session, the party moved onto a brunch session at Garden on 8 where the drinks flowed and the banter continued long into the evening.
With heavy heads, the Saturday saw the group convene at their HQ - The Rose & Crown for the Rugby World Cup Final before the narrow Aston Villa defeat against Liverpool. A raffle draw rounded off the weekend as The Dubai Lions won signed shirts, merchandise and a 3-litre bottle of Vodka.
A huge thanks to Ian, Shaun and Carol for joining the Dubai Lions for this latest milestone moment.