Australian Allegiance

Last updated : 05 November 2008 By Tom Vickers

Long distance fan Phil Osborn is proof that supporting Villa is in the blood regardless of where you live.

Osborn has lived on the other side of the world in Sydney, Australia for the whole of his 24 year life span but it hasn't stopped him supporting the Claret and Blue with as much passion as any other fan.

And he pinpoints family ties for why he backs the Villa.

"I have been a Villa fan my whole life really, he said.

"The love for the club was instilled into me since I was young from my Dad and his passion passed into me."

"He was born in Birmingham and a massive Villa fan. So as I grew playing soccer, as they call it here, I just followed Villa, I kind of can't help it really."

Osborn may not be lucky enough to watch games at Villa Park but he makes sure he doesn't miss a minute and it doesn't hinder his love for the club. He said: "I get to watch Villa play every weekend either on the PAY TV channels I have or if they aren't showing it I can now stream the games live via various sites on the internet.

"Just because I can't see them play in person doesn't make me want to watch the games less."

Although Villa may be well known in Europe, it's a different story in Oceania, meaning Phil struggles to find fans of a similar allegiance.


But, he still wears showcases his support and it often pays dividends. He added:

"In Australia its not often you find a Villa fan, most fans follow the "big four".

"Villa is a club rich in history and achievements. I love the fact that we have a very successful past and I love the fact that we are looking like having a very successful future now.

"Living in Australia I love bumping into other Villa fans.

I wear my shirt around with pride and on a number of occasions I have been stopped by other Villa fans. It's great that two strangers who don't know each other from a bar of soap can have a good 30 minute to an hour chat about football. It's a great feeling.

"I've made a couple of friends that I often catch up with after games to have a drink with as well through the random crossing of paths."

To feed his desire to "chat Villa", Phil moderates fan site

"Like I said before a lot of my friends are "big four" team fans and don't often want to talk about Villa.
"So it's good to have a place like Villa-mad where I can go just to chat about Villa.

"It's also great to get info that I would never get in Australia about Villa or Villa Park."


Phil may not get to see many UEFA Cup games but he is confident that Villa can continue to impress in the competition. He said: "Due to work and the late kick off times I miss out on UEFA Cup games played midweek.

"I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and also for the rest of our run in the UEFA Cup group stages. How good is it to have European football back at Villa Park, where it belongs?"

On domestic matters, he added: "On current form I think we are looking good for 5th-8th.

"It is still very early so it's hard to say. The top 4 spots will be very hard to break into and I can't see us doing it this season.

If we have a good run with injuries, meaning we don't get too many, and all our players keep playing the way they are as individuals and as a team we will be a very hard team to beat."

Phil will be hoping Villa continue to prosper as he continues to live through games like every other supporter.

"I have a love for the club just like any other fan.

"A win puts a smile on my face for a week and a loss makes me feel down for a week."