Heroes and Villains (football fanzine)
Heroes and Villains is the title of a football fanzine written by and primarily aimed at fans of Aston Villa F.C.. It was launched in 1989, and has been in regular print ever since, long surpassing 100 issues.
It has been edited from the start by Dave Woodhall. Although of course primarily concerned directly with the fortunes of Aston Villa, occasionally other general football articles and humorous, nostalgic pieces are to be found amongst its pages.
It was often critical of Doug Ellis who was the chairman of Aston Villa during the period 1982 to 2006 (his second spell at the club). He was seen by many fans as being complacent and unambitious regarding the fortunes of the team.
However, a goodly part of the fanzine's contents consist of contributors' personal views on and memories of experiences derived from being a supporter of Aston Villa. Aston Villa's richly varied history, particularly that of the last 25 years and within living memory of most contributors, consisting as it does of Villa's League Championship and European Cup winning achievements of '81 and '82, their mid '80s decline culminating in relegation in '87, followed by a revival under Graham Taylor's management which led to an unexpected league runners-up spot just 3 seasons later, provides much material. As does a further, also unexpected, runners up placing in '93, league cup triumphs in '94 and '96, and the generally solid but unspectacular performance of the team, up to the 2005-2006 season's underachievements and the broad feeling of dissatisfaction with the way the club was being run.
Something of a running joke in the fanzine concerns Villa's underachievement in the FA Cup, the club having not won the competition since 1957, with their only final appearance since then consisting of a dismal performance in losing 1-0 to the pre-Roman Abramovich Chelsea in 2000. As the 3rd round of the competition - Villa's usual entry point - approaches each season, many fans come to the agreement that this year is definitely "our year for the cup...."
For the start of the 2014-15 season, the fanzine phased out the paper publishing format of distribution, and is now available only to download to computers, mobile devices, and so on.
The fanzine also spawned a website forum which remains very popular among Villa supporters.