ON THE DL
Meet a regular Dubai Lion every few weeks in this new series. This week, it's our favourite southern geezer, Selfish Jim...
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 match day, 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 Maidstone lad Jim Maynard. A seasoned regular at whichever pub we happen to be in, he found the Dubai Lions after having a little online chinwag with the man himself, Mr Ian Taylor. Tayls gave the Dubai-based Lions Club a glowing recommendation of post game shots, misery-induced champagne consumption and bar bills far exceeding the average cost of a Solihull AirBnB. A quiet chap at heart, Jim 'Selfish' Maynard comes alive after a few fire-waters, with his dulcet Kent overtones being well recognised among the Villa faithful. Here, he tells us how he procured his nickname and how Villa became important for him in both Maidstone and Dubai...
HOW DID YOU START FOLLOWING ASTON VILLA?
I started supporting Villa because of my cousin Nik. He bought a Villa shirt because his favourite player at the 1990 World Cup was David Platt who played for Villa at the time. This Villa shirt was then handed down to me when I started playing football at school and it has stuck ever since.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST VILLA GAME - HOME OR AWAY?
It was at Villa Park in 1997 and we played Blackburn and lost 4-0. Not great! I did get to meet Lee Hendrie after the match though!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASTON VILLA MEMORY?
It has to be our promotion victory last year. Being down in the championship for 3 years, having the heartbreak in the final the year before to finally winning it was a great moment. I also fondly remember the Villa vs Inter Milan game in which Phil King scored the winning penalty. My Dad let me stay up to watch it and remember thinking that was really cool!
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVER VILLA PLAYER?
Such a tough question! I am a huge fan of Super Jack and his style of play and how he epitomises Villa. However, I have always had a soft spot for John Carew. He came at a great time and was a pleasure to watch. I actually saw him score a hat trick against Newcastle on my 21st birthday and I definitely had a few to celebrate!
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVER VILLA MANAGER?
Martin O’Neill (ducks for cover.) Loved the way he got us playing with Young, Gabby and Carew up top. Big fan of Deano now though!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASTON VILLA KIT?
The 1994 Coca-Cola Cup winning shirt with Muller on the front. Timeless!
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO/CONNECTS YOU WITH DUBAI?
I moved over to Dubai in 2015 to start teaching at a Primary school. Still enjoy being here as much as ever.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITH DUBAI LIONS?
Being selfish and having a few too many I would say! Can never quite seem to leave the pub immediately after the game and instead hang around for that extra pint!
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER DUBAI LIONS?
When I first moved to Dubai I wanted to find somewhere that I could watch the Villa. I remembered seeing Ian Taylor tweet a picture with a group of lads here watching the game and thought I would message him in the hope he might reply. Being the legend he is, he replied and put me in contact with our Chairman and the rest is history
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE DUBAI LIONS MOMENTS?
My favourite, after the play off final, has to be the Snodgrass winner against Sheffield Utd in the 90th minute. It was 2am out here and we celebrated like none of us had work tomorrow! Least favourite has to be losing away to Wigan 3-0 and thinking it doesn’t get much worse than this!
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE DUBAI LION?
Anyone with the surname Maynard! Seriously though, I genuinely enjoy every DL’s company. What I love is that there are such a mixture of backgrounds, ages and reasons to support Villa and everyone gets on really well.
WHICH DUBAI LION IS THE BIGGEST LIABILITY?
Tough question as there are a plethora of candidates. However, the 3 DL (Ryan, Legal and Anthony) who dragged me to the Yorke hotel after a game have to be called out!
AND FINALLY…HAVE YOU EVER SUPPORTED A TEAM OTHER THAN ASTON VILLA?
There is a photo of me in a Liverpool shirt when I was about 4 years old but I have absolutely no idea why! Always been Villa for me!
Thanks, Selfish. We have that photo. It has been destroyed; by order of the Dubai Lions.