Clubs often try to break into the Asian market through transfers, yet Aston Villa have set their sights on the African and Arabic market.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @VillaMarkPGH

It is no secret by now that Aston Villa have splashed the cash and brought in more than a few new faces for a new life in the Premier League, but what impact will this have outside of the United Kingdom? 

Villa are one of the most historically relevant footballing sides in the whole of England. Their supporters are loud, travel well to away games, passionate and mostly a force to be reckoned with in terms of true support. There will always be an explosive passion for football clubs no matter where you go, but supporting Villa always has seemed more of an indelible right than a choice. 

It means so much more than just saying, “Yeah, I’ll support that team.”

For those with a long-standing history of Aston Villa in their immediate family, supporting the claret and blue of the Midlands is a massive deal. You’re born a Villan, and you shall die a Villan. It can become very difficult to explain this kind of support to those who have no idea what and why that’s a subject to talk about. It’s difficult for those who have followed Aston Villa for a prolonged period of time to understand how someone could not be aware of Villa. Imagine not having a club like Villa so close to your heart. It’s not only truly difficult to fathom, but it’s also truly difficult to even come to terms to life without Aston Villa. 

Now imagine being born and raised in Egypt. Imagine that you’ve never heard of this “Aston Villa” before. Imagine that they just signed your most favourite up-and-coming footballer. Imagine scrambling to learn everything about the club from location to songs sung in crowds, to the correct pronunciations of player names. Spare a thought or two for the need that takes over to buy your ‘new teams’ jersey and other various merchandise. You not only want to support your favourite player, but you also want to support the club they play for as well. 

This uniquely beautiful sum of circumstance is happening all across Egypt at the moment with Aston Villa’s capture of the prolific winger Trezeguet. It’s also happening in other places in Africa, namely Zimbabwe, due to Marvelous Nakamba also signing for Villa. If Aston Villa manages to bring in Brentford’s Said Benrahma before the transfer deadline, who has been heavily linked with Villa, the very same thing will happen in Algeria as well.

It’s not clearly obvious at the moment, but Aston Villa is making small steps to regain a little bit of their world-wide acclaim and popularity. While signing high-profile players from Africa will undoubtedly get Aston Villa as a brand out there for an entirely new audience, the latest agreement with betting company W88 will also see more of a reach for the Midlands club in Asian markets. Christian Purslow said himself at a Villa Fan Consultation Group meeting that the one-year W88 agreement was purely for an “uplift in revenue” and that striking the deal was “purely financial”. 

Aston Villa already has a popular player in their ranks from Africa before the whirlwind of activity in the current transfer window in Jonathan Kodjia. Hailing from the Ivory Coast, Kodjia is well known there and is looked at somewhat of a success story. Kodjia was given heaps of praise by his compatriots during the latest African Cup Of Nations after a 1-0 win against South Africa. 

Aston Villa are more than just a newly promoted football team. In the span of a year, Villa came back from certain financial death to grow into a formidable footballing side, but an even more formidable business. The off-the-pitch business is just as important as on the pitch in the new era of football. Long gone are the days of relying solely on season tickets and merchandise sales to bolster the financial side of a football club. Villa recently teamed up with Etoro, a global cryptocurrency investment platform. This is a signal that not only is Villa growing with the current financial landscape of football, but they are also truly embracing it. Villa supporters should be mindful of how important sponsors are not only for the short-term gains but the long-term as well. 

There is so much to be excited about as an Aston Villa supporter going into the 2019/2020 season, but the aforementioned moves are only positives for a club who just very recently found a way back on to their feet in every sense of the phrase. The more places that Aston Villa can be readily identified, the better. The club will gain new supporters, rekindle old romances for the club by supporters and become financially sound. 

A new era at Aston Villa has only just begun and the future could not look brighter at the present moment.

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