There have been many Premier League managers over the years who would have liked the chance to exorcise various ghosts — usually in the shape of players who misbehave or misfire — as they have watched their bids for success crash and burn.
Now it seems that this has become an actual thing with news that the powers that be at Aston Villa have brought in the expert services of a ghost-busting firm to try to rid Villa Park of bad spirits.
Staff at the famous old ground have reported being spooked late at night as they go about their business and one cleaner, a lady named Sonia Bottom, has quit after she said she was chased down a corridor by a claret-and-blue-clad spectre.
It is hardly surprising that Villa Park — with its famous vast bank behind the goal known as the Holte End (named after Sir Thomas Holte, the then owner of nearby Aston Hall) — is said to have spooky goings on. That is when you learn that the stadium first opened to the football-loving public of Birmingham back in 1897. Since then it has seen both triumph and tragedy — purely in sporting terms you understand.
Chris Seattle-Napkin, a football historian from Upthebaggies University, not even a goal kick from the club, says there have been many reports of ghostly goings on at the ground. In between, lugs on a huge Cuban cigar, Seattle-Napkin said:
“Over the years there have been many reports of ghostly goings on at the ground. I’m not entirely sure how much more I can tell you.”
*Can we get another source to comment on this, please? This bloke seems like a right chancer. Ed
But it would seem that Villa aren’t the only top-flight club to have to call in the services of ghostbusters. In light of the claret and blue hoo-haa, news has come out of Tottenham Hotspur that before they moved to their super new state-of-the-art ground, there was trouble afoot at the old White Hart Lane.
Our reporter Alf Wock-Comble told us:
“I have spoken to several contacts at Spurs who tell me that before they knocked down the old ground, there were a good few tales of people being scared witless after visiting the cub’s trophy room.”
“You see, given that Spurs have won very little over the years, no-one ever used to go in there. Now and again a bod with some Mr Sheen and a duster would go in to try to find the trophy cabinet and shine whatever silver there was, but because it was so infrequently used, it got a reputation of being haunted. So, Villa aren’t the only club to have this problem.”