Oppression of Brigada 1874 is Unnecessary and Symptomatic of Club’s Attitude to Supporters

A member of Villa supporter group Brigada 1874 tells of how the club has cast them aside after they had built a positive relationship last season and were making real progress.

Brigada 1874 display Swansea

Operation Noise – A Change of Heart?

The 2014-15 season saw the club’s diminishing fortunes fade further with the ever with cheerless Paul Lambert dragging the club into another relegation dog fight.

It was following the sacking of Lambert, with the club staring the prospect of relegation squarely in the face, that the club decided to call on the Villa faithful to try to lift the spirits around the club. A meeting was called of representatives of fan groups, former players and representatives of the club with the aim of coming up with ideas of how we could work together to disperse the clouds hanging over Villa Park and bring some much needed positivity back to the club.

Brigada 1874 were invited to these meetings and a number of positive points came out of the discussions, not least the development of a “singing section” in the L7 and L8 areas of the ground.

While we didn’t agree with the term “singing section” (why should there be specific sections of the ground for people to sing?) we saw this as a small step forward in the right direction and were more than happy to have found some common ground with the club.

It was agreed that stewarding in this area would follow a more hands off approach and the group would even be able to bring a drum into the ground the help contribute to the atmosphere.

During the meeting the group also suggested that the “Fight Like Lions” banner, painted the previous season, be handed over to the club to be permanently hung in the Holte End. It was this banner that was to inspire the #Fightlikelions slogan and hashtag that accompanied the clubs march on Wembley and adorned the teams changing rooms during those two games at Wembley.

Can Villa extend the fight to 90 minutes?


While we didn’t expect the groups inclusion in the campaign to fix all the problems with the club, we were positive about the direction that the relationship would take. It seemed like the club understood some of what we were about and we’re happy to work with us to facilitate attempts at making Villa Park the cauldron it once was.

We saw this as the perfect opportunity to try and get all group members and those around the group sat together in one area of the Holte, we suggested the front of L7 to the club as there was a block of around 50 seats there that could accommodate us all. However we were informed by the club that since we were already sat in the “singing section” it wasn’t necessary for us to move.

Some seats that had previously been blocked from sale were released in L8 and following the club announcement about the “singing section” the following games saw an improved atmosphere in the ground, particularly in the designated singing section.

False Dawn

At the start of the 2015/16 campaign we decided to take the plunge and move from the safety and also relative obscurity of L8 to the front of L7. This was the same area we’d suggested we move into during the spring. Also, it was a similar front position that other club’s supporter groups take.

Having had no joy in previous seasons when we’d spoken to the club about finding an area where we could all be based together, we decided to make the move independently of the club.

The area we moved to was part of the “singing section” that we trialed towards the end of 2015 in FA Cup matches and had been a source of decent support during that time.

fa cups brigada 1874


There was a lot of excitement around the club for the start of the season, the club had invested the money recouped from the sale of Christian Benteke into some exciting young players and there was a sense that exciting things were happening at the club.


We went into the first home game of the season against Manchester United with a real sense of hope and anticipation. For the group at least, this was short lived.

Within minutes of the game starting we were told by stewards that we needed to remain seated in our seats, police were called in, but after some discussion, we were allowed to continue standing. The situation deteriorated 15 minutes into the 2nd half when a fan was removed from the ground for being stood on his seat. The group saw this as an unnecessary escalation and left the ground in protest.

The following week the group were contacted by Football Operations Manager at the club and informed that all group materials, including flags, banners and the drum were prohibited within the ground from immediate effect and that anyone found to be persistently standing amongst the group would be removed from the ground.

The situation at Villa is not exclusive to the club, up and down the country, groups have emerged and have encountered clubs with varying levels of support. In some instances such as Boro, Cardiff, Manchester United and Manchester City, clubs have been helpful in facilitating standing/ultra sections.

In other instances such as our own, such groups have been used when needed and then suppressed when it doesn’t suit the club. In terms of standing at Villa Park, it is tolerated in several areas around the ground, but we are being harassed for doing exactly the same thing.

Until safe standing becomes a reality (a move that would give supporters a genuine option to stand), the solution is to find a designated area for us. Other clubs have done it, so why not Villa?

11 fans of the Brigada 1874 were set up and served pre-printed three-game banning orders within four minutes of the Manchester City game. It was obviously decided before the game to ban them. What kind of club is this? Sign the petition here to support Villa fans who want an atmosphere in the Holte.

Follow Brigada 1874 on their new official Twitter account – @brigada1874avfc

For more on Brigada 1874 check out their forum 

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid



  1. Seems like Brigada are a bit of a jinx , ever since they’ve been active at Villa the club has gone down the drain …..

  2. Erm…..well they could start by spelling our nickname correctly! Its VILLANS and NOT VILLAINS!
    If thats an indication of their mentality then I question their appearance at VP full stop!
    Just to repeat…..its VILLANS and NOT VILLAINS……start by correctly spelling VILLANS on your banner and then you may earn more respect!

      • Our knickname has been “Villains” ever since I have supported the club (58 years) , that’s why our cartoon caricature is a pantomime Villain as depicted on some of the metallic badges , Villan has no meaning , seems some people do not like tradition or culture ….

        • Tom – maybe you want to take up your debate with the thousands and thousands of supporters who have always used ‘Villans’ to describe to Villa supporters. It is a tradition and culture of fans, before you start knocking other people.

          • To all the thousands of Villains out there , in my opinion it is obvious that VILLANS is a misspelling of VILLAINS , phonetically they sound the same but what do they mean ? When I was a kid we described ourselves (tongue in cheek) as VILLAINS , a bit roguish , a bit edgy , bad guys ,a bit cheeky , rough diamonds but what is a VILLAN ? What are fans who describe themselves as Villans meaning to portray , is he just a Villa fan ? When other teams supporters hear that our nick name is Villans what does that mean to them ? Even spell checker agrees with me , just try it , type in VILLAN and then VILLAIN and see which one comes up with the red line under it , I rest my case.

  3. Yep eighties but not actually what came to mind – meant to say train (when I could still afford the train/trains were still affordable). Pre-condoms.

  4. They are the faceless ones of Aston Villa FC. They run our club, or rather, ruin our club, with their petty arrogant rules and regulations, enforced by the gestapo style of stewarding “just doing my job mate. Now get out”

    Day after day we see the spin churned out on the official site, nothing worth even reading anymore, a well oiled money making machine fashioned by Randy Lerner.

    The treatment of supporters is another kick in the groin, to add to the shambles on the pitch, for which no one at the club accepts responsibility for, because the team management, who they appointed, take the can back for repeated failure, and walk away with a few million quid in their pockets, which ultimately, we finance.

    What they continue to count on, is our unwavering support, do they not realise that they are destroying that, attendances are dwindling, match day atmosphere is the worst I can remember since the season we were relegated to the old Div3.

    The club would be wise to remember, we are the lifeblood of the club, without us, there is no AVFC.

    • I’ve been privy to some shocking attitudes to various supporters of Villa. Attitudes that make you question why you’d support such an organisation that thinks like that. But ultimately, we must try and help get the club back to being one that deserves its supporters. UTV

      • When someone describes your football team as an “organisation” and questions whether you choose to support them or not then you have to wonder at their motivation, you don’t choose your team, the team chooses you, from nowhere an almost primeval force takes control of your emotions and you lose control of your faculties and reason.

        When someone thinks that a club is undeserving of it’s fans simply because of it’s lack of success on the football pitch then you have to ask yourself if this person is truly a supporter , does he understand what the love for the club really is ? Does he know the history , traditions and culture not only of the club but also of the people and the area that gave birth to the club ?

        When a group believes that they can manufacture “passion” amongst the fans by displaying banners , standing up , separating themselves from the main body of supporters then you have to ask if these people are really supporters at all ?

        Seems to me that you (UTV) do not know what the difference between supporting a club and loving the club is , when Villa were in the old third division my love for the club did not diminish , you however come across as the type of person that would support Man United because “they deserve” to be supported as a result of their success .

        I lived in the streets of Aston when it was mostly slums , people talk of deprivation today if they haven’t got Satellite TV , they don’t know what deprivation is but at least we had our team , almost a religion not an organisation like MOMS.

        • Tom, I think we have our wires crossed here (so I will ignore your Man United paragraph). I purposely described it as an organisation to refer to the people running the club. I am talking about the middle management & board that have made poor decisions in recent years on many levels, some of which have been against the spirit of what Aston Villa is to its supporters.

          Semantics are tricky when you criticise those who are letting the club down and all the traditions and culture of which you allude to (which, I personally, am well aware of, thanks). When I say, the club were wrong doing this or that and they don’t deserve their fans, I’m NOT talking about the club or the team per se, but those who work there who are letting the club (and themselves) down. It is a job for them, but they perhaps don’t realise their true responsibility to fans in what has become an increasingly corporate and media infested industry. If they did, MOMS wouldn’t have come to be.

          Times have changed and football has lost a lot of the romanticism that you and I embrace and which fuels our love of the game. I’m sure, I am not over-stepping the mark, by saying Tom, we both love the game, but not the business.

          ‘Manufacture’ is an interesting term, in terms of atmosphere. The club (those who work at it) came up with the idea of ‘Operation Noise’ last season to do something about the lack of atmosphere on the Holte. That is a marketing team trying manufacture ‘passion’ for supporters. Although, in their defence, at least they were finally engaging with supporters to find a solution.

          Nowadays, Villa fans have largely become an apathetic bunch and it has very much affected the atmosphere of the ground, hence why supporters, who have been around at least three decades, bemoan the loss of how it was.

          The young lads of Brigada were an organic birth to try and do something about that and for your information, some of them live in the streets of Aston, as you once did.

          There is nothing manufactured about their banners, nor are they anything novel on the Holte. Go back through the decades and there’s always been witty, thoughtful and supportive banners made by Holte Enders. A lot of time and effort go into them, and it’s because they love their club.

          Those who work at football clubs now seem to have their focus on the kind of fan who comes for an occasional ‘life match experience’, these football tourists don’t mind paying higher ticket prices and they also tend to spend big at the club store.

          In terms of those who work at Villa, they promised supporters who wanted to support their team with more passion (and not just sit there and moan, ala many in the Holte), a designated section L7 & L8 to principally not disturb those who just come to sit (I can’t believe we are talking about the Holte End here). Those at the club have failed to deliver on their promise and fans have been left high and dry.

          It’s a shame that some supporters don’t think about the big picture (or the true picture) before they try to belittle others who are actually trying to get back what their excusers actually used to love about the Holte and going to Villa Park.

          • Never seen banners in the Holte , balloons yes , banners no , even after the Birmingham pub bombings there were no demonstrations only chants of “bring back hanging”

  5. As a season ticket holder since the late 80’s I had sympathy for them wanting to stand and create an atmosphere, that’s until they started bringing their politics to the table

        • What politics? The ONLY thing is they are anti-fascist, which means anti-discrimination. Which everyone should be going to any football game. If that’s politics and you want it out, then you’ll have to get rid of organisations like ‘Kick it Out’ who campaign against racism. It’s some people who say ‘no politics’ that tend to have the agenda, from what we’ve seen.

          • They can be whatever they want to be the other side of the turn stile but if they bring their politics of whatever shade into the ground then it becomes divisive and really it’s all about supporting the club and not a party political broadcast.
            As for pressure groups like “kick it out” they are not needed , there are laws that deal with discrimination and insulting behaviour , trouble is some people have an agenda which surpasses sport , an insidious campaign of political expediency which is lost in the fog of innocent love for a team and that’s when I get angry.

            • No, the PROBLEM is the people who come to games that are ignorant, insulting, discriminating, racist, homophobic and dumb. These are the ‘agendas’ that shouldn’t be at football grounds. It’s cause and effect.

              • Which people are these ? Never heard any of what you are claiming , most of these problems are in your head, you are offering solutions to non existent problems.

    • I was going for systematic, because it’s like the same process…but I’m more than happy to go with your suggestion. UTV

  6. An utter contemptible stance being taken by the club at what is fast turning into yet another darkest day. They are so out of touch. 4 managers in 5 years so let’s take it out on the fans FFS

  7. It’s a fair point, and the brigada do a fine job in trying to get the atmosphere ramped up, now call me an old fart, but back in the eighties we just used to turn up when we could afford it (home or away) no tickets required then as you could pay at the turnstile, you could most times shove a couple of quid under the counter, stare at the guy behind behind the turnstile in a menacing fashion and Bobs your uncle you were in! No sitting down then, just standing up Singing Made up lyrics to Tomharks “The whole things daft, I don’t know why”
    The singing was mainly enmass (Holte End) at home and everybody away, no mobile phones to arrange a punch up, no social media posting pictures of the burger you are eating, just waking up, trying to hitch a lift, or jump the train (very easy back then) lift a few cans from the nearest corner shop (Yep we were as bad as the scousers back then) and all stick together in the face of adversity.
    Maybe a stint in the chanmpionship won’t be such a bad thing after all!

    • Imagine being a teenager/early 20’s now! Unbearable in comparison. Cherish your memories Mr Smith, because at the moment, that’s all this club has to offer. UTV

    • Like you I remember the old days when you could turn up and pay at the turnstile , 3 shillings (15p in new money) into the Holte end (no roof in those days) and then pay another tanner (2.5p) to transfer into the Trinity road stand if Villa were kicking towards the Witton end in the first half , returning to the Holte in the second half.
      Today I sit with my young Villains, family members who carry the torch for the next generation and we look with dismay at the usurpers in L7 trying to hijack our beloved club with their promises of “passion” , we don’t want your continental style “Ultras” with their flares , bands , banners and infuriating drums!
      A distraction and an orchestrated cacophony of self aggrandisement which has become more important than the football itself .
      And the reason for Brigada ? Why do they separate themselves from the main stream Villa fans in the Holte ?For ulterior reasons, political attention seekers hood winking the ordinary fan , where did they come from one asks , what is their purpose , why are they setting up affiliates at other clubs , who finances them, Why do they carry a banner expounding the slogan “my granddad shot fascists (actually my granddad shot communists , he was in the Korean war) the reason for all of this is the left (and they stand in the left of the Holte ) trying to dislodge the right from their hold on football hooligans.
      Well I am sick of it and it has become obvious to me that MOMS is just a mouthpiece for Brigada who in turn are just a recruiting sergeant for the rentamob UAF , you have been rumbled and your days are numbered at Villa , leave us alone let us enjoy our football in peace!

      • Most of your points seem to be in your head. Times have changed and the business/marketing emphasis of the modern game have long eroded away the traditions and values you held dear. These guys were a reaction to that and the only reason they exist was to try and help wake up the Holte from its slumber and make it more fun. It was as simple as that.

        • Times have changed but traditions and values are timeless and not subject to the vagaries of man , the so called “slumber” of the Holte will reawaken when the performance of the team on the field improves, flares and drums will not improve performance otherwise every coach in the land would be demanding it , most people do not go to the Holte to have “fun” they go to watch football of any standard as long as their team win , that’s what makes them feel good , it’s as simple as that.

    • Yep, it feels stupid talking about all this stuff now, as back in the day it would have been laughed at. I completely preferred the simple life back then. No avalanche of BS media too, just a few newspapers and Shoot & Match magazine.

  8. Again even as our club slowly slides to the abyss our self appointed guardian’s show a total lack of understanding as to what following and loyalty to our team means .Shame on them and take comfort in knowing we will still follow the Villa long after their gone .Keep the faith

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