Brits Pub, which hosted Aston Villa fans during last-season’s pre-season tour, needs our help.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Over the last week, Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis, Minnesota was the victim of civil unrest. Along with smashed windows and being looted, a small fire erupted at the front of the pub. Some may be wondering why this matters in the grand scheme of Aston Villa, but there are definite links to the historic Midlands club and Brit’s Pub.
In July 2019, Aston Villa embarked to the United States to play a pre-season friendly with MLS side Minnesota United. Villa supporters from all over the world travelled to watch the Villa play, take in the weekend with other Villa supporters and tour the beautiful city of Minneapolis. I can only speak for myself when I say this specific weekend was special for so many reasons.
When you attend an Aston Villa function in North America, no matter if it’s an actual game or an annual North American Lions Meet-Up, there is a special feeling in the air. It’s like meeting up with family that you haven’t seen for a while. In some cases, it will be the first time folks will be meeting friends they’ve made on social media but have spoken with for years. This family stretches and weaves its way throughout places like Winnipeg, Kidderminster, Dubai, Memphis and beyond. You’ll hear accents from all over the world in a centralised area talking about Villa and what’s been going on with the club. Through the good times and the bad, these Villa-centric functions have never waned in numbers or showed up any less passionate than they truly are. Through years of friendships, singing, pints and passion; there is something special about Aston Villa supporters in North America.
Here you can watch a brilliant video put together by Michael Clark, showing the Villa support at Brit’s Pub last year for the preseason friendly:
Ashley Preece, Aston Villa Club Writer for the Birmingham Mail, was in attendance throughout the entire weekend for the friendly against Minnesota United and was shocked about the news of Brit’s Pub:
“I’m devastated for landlord Shane, his staff & the brilliant locals out in downtown Minneapolis”
“Last summer, Brit’s was a hive of activity across several days, uniting Aston Villa supporters from Seattle to Sutton Coldfield. The beer barrels were drunk dry and the atmosphere was buzzing, even Dean Smith, John Terry and the Villa backroom team popped in for one”
“I’ve seen the photos and it’s really hurtful knowing the sheer cost what it will take putting the pub right. I’ve seen how much has been raised already which is testament to Brit’s brilliant reputation in its community and from afar”
“I’d like to wish Shane and his staff well with the revamp and, who knows, Villa supporters might take it over once again in the future.”
The staff at this historic pub were amazing, I cannot stress that enough. Within my network of the Aston Villa community, I haven’t heard one bad experience from the weekend in Minneapolis. This is a true testament to just how special of a place this is, not only for Villa supporters but for the people of Minneapolis too. I’ve personally spoken with many Villa supporters stateside and they all agree that Brit’s is a place they will find a way to travel back to one way or another.
At the moment, extended members of our Aston Villa family needs help. Not only did Brit’s Pub facilitate hundreds upon hundreds of Villa supporters last summer, but they’re also the pub where the Minnesota Lions Club gathers to watch games. Darren Tibbets, chairman of the Minnesota Lions, has been trying to get the word out about a GoFundMe that has been set-up to assist the staff of Brit’s Pub.
From all of us at Under A Gaslit Lamp, we implore you to share this article or the GoFundMe page below.
You can also follow the North American Aston Villa page on Twitter at @AVFC_NAmerica, the Minnesota Lions @LionsMinnesota & Brit’s Pub @britspubmpls.
Up The Villa and up The Brit.