A post war Birmingham would see my grandad being taken from their homes to Villa Park by his brother in law. He was the youngest of the family but tagged along to stand and watch the football. As such Villa is the family team with my brother and now my son as ardent fans. Dylan first went to a game when he was about 8 and he loves it all. From the fun in the family area before the game, to browsing in the shop and buying his programme where he can analyse statistics and record the scores. Therefore when I has an envelope dropped through the door with the FA stamped upon it I knew I should let him open it!
As Saturday morning arrived he couldn’t wait to get in the car and head off to Villa Park. His ticket was ready and again he was thrilled that their seats would be on the center line. Dylan often enjoys the atmosphere of The Holt End although it can be loud there and the language a little passionate! Trinity Road is a little more sedate and ideal for families.
The FA Cup is still magical with many surprises along the way and Villa haven’t exactly had a great season so the FA Cup is a blaze of glory compared with the league at the moment! Dylan had high hopes for the game especially as Villa had beaten West Brom in the week.
Villa always has a great family atmosphere and before the game there is often family activities in one of the tents. This includes penalty shoot outs, photo opportunities, face painting and so on. Dylan was impressed to bag himself some free match attax cards and an activity book with some games in that kept him occupied during half time. We have always found the ground staff and support staff really welcoming and friendly.
The match went Dylan’s way with the Villa winning which heard my son joining in with the chanting ‘we’re on our way to Wembley’!
My tips for enjoying Football Stadiums with Children
1. Wrap them up warm. I know from personal experience just how cold it can be in the stands, especially late kick offs. remember you are sitting still for quite a while.
2. Plan to arrive before the game and enjoy the family activities.
3. Take some snacks, Dyl often takes a sandwich and crisps with him, although he is partial to chips and hot chocolate at half time!
4. Do expect some bad language to be heard – if this isn’t your thing maybe wait until the child is older. We just used to laugh off the language and Dyl knows that what he hears isn’t how we talk. he now finds it really funny if he is sitting next to a very vocal supporter!
5. Don’t expect young children to concentrate for the whole game. The first few times Dylan was at a match he was easily distracted by everything and wanted to see everything.
We would like to thank the FA CUP for the tickets.