ON THE DL
Meet a regular Dubai Lion every few weeks in this new series. This week, it's our favourite Guinness drinking ultra-regular,
Welcome to ON THE DL where we meet a new Dubai Lion each month. Through this series, you will get to know us better and for those thinking of joining us on a matchday, you can see that we’re (mainly) just normal folk with an abnormal love for all things ASTON VILLA.
This week in ON THE DL, we meet Selly Oak born Dave Murphy - a latecomer to the Dubai Lions revolution, but along with wife Sue has claimed a very own part of The Rose and Crown. Popularly known as 'Murphy Corner', we would consider it bizarre for that part of the pub to be vacant on match day, such is the strength of their attendance stats. Here, Dave tells us about starting chants at Wembley, meeting Cyrille Regis and about how he stumbled across our little Villa-themed watering hole.
HOW DID YOU START FOLLOWING ASTON VILLA?
I am from Birmingham and passed the intelligence test. My family were all from the dark side. My uncle played for the knuckledraggers (bizarrely in the same team as Chairman's uncle), I really did not like my uncle, I mean really did not like him – my choice was clear.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST VILLA GAME - HOME OR AWAY?
I’m not really sure, it was in 1975 ish, I was at the front of the Holte where all the kids were. I remember the awe I felt, taking in the magnificence of Villa Park. You can keep your Theatre of Dreams garbage, Villa Park was and is without peer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASTON VILLA MEMORY?
The 1994 league cup final. We had no chance. We hired a bus to take us, Sue (my wife) worked for Bass and we had a few guys arriving from France that morning with duty-free. The bus was packed with beer, like half the seats were just beer. We got to Wembley, going through the turnstiles I looked back, the next guy coming through was Cyrille Regis, I froze and said something stupid “Who’s gonna win” - he looked at me as if I’d asked him if the sea was wet and said “Us of course”. Man Utd were going for the domestic treble, we were awesome that day and I got Wembley singing “Where’s your treble gone” - the only time I have started a chant at a football game. Such a perfect day.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVER VILLA PLAYER?
At first, it was Andy Gray and then there were Brian Little, Gordon Cowans, Paul McGrath, David Platt, Tony Daley and many others. But overall I would say Tony Morley. Brian Little walked on water, but Tony danced on it.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVER VILLA MANAGER?
Ron Saunders. He built two fantastic teams and brought us the title. Would you bet against him?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASTON VILLA KIT?
1980 kits - both home and away, just love the stripey collar and round badge.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO/CONNECTS YOU WITH DUBAI?
Work – helped set up what eventually became Du (the local telecomms company).
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITH DUBAI LIONS?
I am a soldier, the infantry, a fixture, a piece of the furniture. I just turn up.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER DUBAI LIONS?
I spent years looking for other Villans, alas in vain. I am not good at watching Villa with fans of other teams so had to watch at home. One fateful night, Sue went to the Rose and Crown for a work thing, she came home and said that there was some 'Villa stuff' there.
Villa stuff!?” I said - surely not in the closest bar to our house.
The next Villa game I tentatively went, not expecting much, or anything at all but I was overwhelmed with the welcome and knew I was home. The wilderness years were over.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE DUBAI LIONS MOMENTS?
Nanoseconds apart. Playoff semi penalty shootout v the bagladies. Convinced Tammy would miss, he didn’t, I crumpled to a jellylike consistency, out of sheer relief.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE DUBAI LION?
Everyone involved in starting and keeping the Dubai Lions going and pretty much every Dubai Lion I have met are fantastic. But I am going to cheat and go with the man who was born claret and blue (literally) and took me to games when I was just a kid, who tries to get everyone he meets to register with the Dubai Lions – my brother Ian.
WHICH DUBAI LION IS THE BIGGEST LIABILITY?
From what I have seen pretty much every Dubai Lion is an asset, so I will take this one on a personal basis and say the bar staff at The Rose & Crown who continue to provide me with vast quantities of Guinness, leaving me unable to function (it’s not my fault, I’m a victim).
AND FINALLY…HAVE YOU EVER SUPPORTED A TEAM OTHER THAN ASTON VILLA?
No, no and thrice no. Quite frankly I am offended at the mere suggestion.
Thanks, Dave. Sorry we had to ask the last question but thanks for being with us every match day. Murphy corner wouldn't be the same without you.