A look into Newcastle United and Aston Villa fans' bizarre rivalry
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Villa fans mock Newcastle fans during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on May 7, 2016 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Rivalry, in football, is nothing different, even between two clubs that are 212 miles apart. History in football is filled with rivalries that aren't local. Newcastle United and Liverpool was a great title rivalry in the late 1990s. Arsenal and Manchester United was another one through the early 2000s. In 2009 a new one sprung up out of the blue, Newcastle and Aston Villa. 

Big games had happened between Newcastle and Villa before thinking back to April 2005 with the infamous Kieran Dyer and Lee Bower fight where both players fought each other despite being on the same team.  The 1996 4-3 result is another with Dwight Yorke scoring a hat-trick and Les Ferdinand getting a brace for The Magpies. In 149 games before May 24th 2009.

No rivalry had ever been apparent between the two clubs and Newcastle United and Aston Villa meeting on Saturday afternoon as too does the discussion of how the rivalry started.

How did it start? 

Both sets of fans will disagree that one started it, like two schoolboys caught fighting in the playground. The way history tells it is that on May 24, 2009, Newcastle went down to Birmingham in a pickle. A 'win and you are in' situation. Three points would mean that Newcastle would play Premier League football and Alan Shearer would have saved his boyhood club from the drop. 

Many fans tell the story of an uneasy atmosphere when arriving at Villa Park. With Aston Villa sitting comfortably in the sixth position, a loss would not have affected their season. When the game started, it was clear from how Villa set up they were not playing for the victory and then the banners came out. 

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The travelling support had their own in an inspiration 'no matter what happens' celebration of their own town club. If the story ended here, it would be comical. 

Damien Duff's own goal in the 38th minute set a blow in the stomach of all fans. The game finished 1-0, and Newcastle were relegated to the Championship.

After the game, the reaction was not sporting fans celebrating as if they had won a major trophy. 

Further contributions to the rivalry 

With a successful record-breaking stint in the Championship and a  secure promotion back to English football's top flight, the fixture makers put Aston Villa as Newcastle's first home game. It was a full house of St. James Park, and Newcastle thumped Villa 6-0. With an Andy Carroll hat-trick and a Kevin Nolan brace. The result quietened down the fans of Villa. 

The next five years saw Aston Villa not secure a single win against Newcastle. Until May 2016. Newcastle were in trouble again, and the Rafa Benítez revolution was not enough. A win was needed against root bottom Villa. A point was all the Magpies could muster with neither side registering a shot on target. 

Newcastle dropped into the bottom three, and Aston Villa fans celebrated despite it being confirmed they were going into the Championship. 

This stunt was enough for many fans who had either forgotten the first instance or forgiven it. Villa fans had stepped too far, and the rivalry began.

The almost truce 

It was the final day of the 2017 season, Newcastle United won 3-0 against Barnsley. The title, however, was no in The Magpies hands as Brighton holder all of the cards. If they beat Aston Villa, they would have won the title and Newcastle second still being promoted to the Premier League. Jack Grealish scored an 89th-minute equaliser to win Newcastle the league. 

When former Villa Player Ciaran Clark posted a picture of Newcastle players celebrating with Grealish after the title victory, it brought great joy to Newcastle as the Premier League is where both clubs belong. The rivalry looked settled. It looked quashed, Villa relegated and promoted Newcastle. 

(Image: Ciaran Clark Instagram)
(Image: Ciaran Clark Instagram)

Alas, still in full swing the rivalry is with one side more into it than the other. 

With this seasons fixture yet another chance for two evenly sized clubs to meet again.

However, the two clubs are in entirely different situations. Villa has had a successful season with a win on Saturday against The Magpies the Midlands club would move to eighth place ahead of Chelsea

Newcastle has only had one point, one goal in the last five games, and heading in the wrong direction. 

As the game is the only Premier League game on in a usual FA cup weekend, extra attention will be paid by fans of every club.

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