ON THE DL
Meet a regular Dubai Lion every few weeks in this new series. This week, meet founding member Steve Hodgkins.
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, we meet the original Dubai Lion, now Baku-based, Steve Hodgkins.
Originally hailing from Olton, Steve admits to having a large contingency of bluenoses in the family but was rescued from a scummy fate by his father during reserve games at VP.
HOW DID YOU START FOLLOWING ASTON VILLA?
My mum's side of the family were all bluenoses (probably aren’t now as I think bluenoses are generally an extinct species aren’t they?), so for a bit of a laugh one of my uncles bought me a blues tracksuit for Christmas when I was 7. My dad got a bit annoyed by this and took it straight off me after I'd put it on once. Much crying ensued as all the kids at school were blues fans, so my dad rushed out and bought me a villa shirt. From then on he used to take me to watch the reserves for a couple of years - the stiffs used to play at Villa Park on Saturdays the first team was away.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST VILLA GAME - HOME OR AWAY?
Home - a drab 0-0 draw against Derby in the 79-80 season. Away - 4-2 v Leicester city at Filbert Street in 80-81, Des Bremner on the half-volley, the worst Bovril ever, lots of fighting around the narrow streets around the ground, and the front row of seats we sat on were so low that the pitch was at eye level for this 10-year-old.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASTON VILLA MEMORY?
Really would be those reserve matches in the cold, with a flask of Bovril and about 10% of the ground full.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVER VILLA PLAYER?
Sid. With Paul McGrath a close second. Cowans to me was the complete midfielder in both spells with us. Scored goals, defense-splitting passes, electric pace and dribbling, superb crosser of the ball and for a player of such a small frame he could really tackle hard. He could have walked into any team in Europe in the 1980s. Hoddle was just a show pony by comparison.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE EVER VILLA MANAGER?
Ron Saunders - 110% certain of that.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE VILLA KIT?
The 1982 home one with Champions of Europe on it, and Davenports across the front (I think).
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO/CONNECTS YOU WITH DUBAI?
Lived and worked there for 17 years.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER DUBAI LIONS?
Chairman, Mark Forrester used to post every now and again on Facebook which I was a bit of a latecomer to. We met up for a beer, Dave Banner joined and it grew from there
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITH DUBAI LIONS?
Nothing at the moment. An occasional visitor these days, exiled in Baku currently
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE DUBAI LIONS MOMENTS?
Favourite - The celebrations that seemed to go on forever after we thumped Liverpool in the cup semi-final (best not to mention the final though) Least favourite - Pretty much every game we watched during the relegation season - a standout would be the midweek one where we got beat by Norwich after we went down to 10 men early. A few us huddled round the TV in the centre-circle bar, that awful band playing interminable Pink Floyd covers that seemed to go on forever, Mark Vincent Maynard trying so hard to keep everyone's spirits up. It was late and very dark in there, too.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE DUBAI LION?
Wouldn't like to say, they're all a great bunch.
WHICH DUBAI LION IS THE BIGGEST LIABILITY?
Ditto, wouldn't be fair. But he knows who he is!
AND FINALLY…HAVE YOU EVER SUPPORTED A TEAM OTHER THAN ASTON VILLA?
I used to watch Stoke a bit in the late 80s when I lived there for a while but never been a supporter of another club.
Apart from about two minutes in a blues tracksuit when I was little (see above) but I think you'd forgive me for that.
Thanks, Steve - we look forward to seeing the Baku Lions grow! ;)