Jordan Ayew’s late penalty ended a fourteen month wait for a win in a contest away from Villa Park. Not since August 2015, on the opening day of the Premier League season against Bournemouth had Villa tasted victory in an away fixture.
Tim Sherwood was the last successful manager on the road with Kevin McDonald, Remi Garde, Eric Black and Roberto Di Matteo, all failing since. For the 4,030 travelling supporters, last night brought to an end a torrid run of form away from home.
Despite the embarrassing record, the support has never wavered. From eight away games played this season, the club have sold out their allocation on seven occasions. The only blemish on that record was a midweek trip to Barnsley but more than 4,000 fans attended the 1-1 draw at Oakwell.
It’s been a wonderful run of support for the club with over 28,000 supporters having attended the eight away games to date. With only three points to show for their effort prior to last night, the supporters have continuously got behind the side at every given opportunity. It is a real testament to the fans and again symbolises the sheer size of the support and the club on a whole. There are not many clubs in the Premier League, let alone the Championship, who can present such impressive figures of support.
Tuesday evening’s result has brought a huge sigh of relief to all concerned with the club. In typical football fashion, the run would be ended with a last minute goal. So often this season, Villa have been on the receiving end of late goals to deny points, so in many respects it was a fitting way in which to get the win on the board.
Social media was awash with videos, photos and comments from supporters who witnessed the match and it was the slice of good luck their loyal support deserved. Villa fans could have been forgiven for wavering in their support of late, particularly after last season’s shambolic campaign.
As always, with a fresh start comes renewed optimism and following the appointment of Steve Bruce as manager, the majority of supporters have embraced the change, accepted that Bruce is the new man in charge and elected to give him their full support and backing. By his own admission, Bruce was blown away by the chants of his name towards the end of the game and commented that the support in the final ten minutes gave the players that extra push they needed.
Bruce is fully aware of the size of the club and the task in hand. Building a strong relationship with the players and fans alike will go a long way to making his tenure a successful one. Home form will be vital to any hopes of a promotion push this season and Saturday presents an early chance to get that first home win on the board under the new manager. Seven points in a week would present a real turn around in fortunes for the club and give the players renewed confidence going into the Derby clash with Birmingham City.
Football fans are the life and soul of any club and after many years of pain and disappointment, the victory over Reading gave the die-hard supporters a moment’s respite and a reminder of the joys that come with supporting their club. The travelling supporters have really been a credit to the club and one another this season and will undoubtedly play a big part during the course of the season. Without question, the Reading result was one for the supporters.