Our next guest needs no introduction. You could say he is the life of the party. If there is a meet up you can bet that he’ll be there. Whether in a pub or on a bus, you better believe that he’s the one who is starting a song. Always singing loudly and proudly at the top of his lungs is the one and only Jason Yu, member of the Space City Lions in Houston.
Born in Worcester and growing up South of Birmingham in a town called Droitwich, Jason and his family made the move across the pond to Houston, Texas in 1993. He attended the University of Houston and graduated with a degree in Media Production. By day he works as a market analyst for the state and for ATT Sportsnet Southwest which broadcasts the local teams of the Astros and Rockets. By night he exhibits his musical passion through a Beatles cover band called The Molly Jones and a 90s band called The Monicas. He has also be seen breaking out the guitar to play a tune or two during the North American Happy Hour Zoom Calls!
In September, those passions unfortunately needed to take a back seat when Jason became ill and hospitalized with a reaction to medication that was later diagnosed as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Jason gave a whole new meaning to being a resilient Villa supporter. Even during those times, Jason would set up an iPad and catch every Villa match! Through the pain and puffy eyes, he continued to follow and show his love for this great club. During his hospital stay, Jason’s sister began a GoFundMe to help assist Jason with these sudden medical expenses. As friends and family do, many came together to help out our brother by greatly surpassing the monetary goal. You can read more about Jason’s journey here. Jason’s strength, determination and positive outlook is second to none. Now home, he continues to recover and focus on his health through running.
One of the amazing parts about being an Aston Villa supporter is the friends and family you make along the way. A friend to all who meet him is our newest Featured Member, and Chairman of the Memphis Lions, Anish Patel.
A loving family man with a beautiful wife, Rita, and two awesome adult children, Anish is a diehard Villa fan through and through. As a Chairman of his local club, Anish organizes match viewings and plays host to the many visitors that pass through the Memphis area. In addition, Anish makes a point of attending as many large group meet ups as possible including the 6th and 7th Annual North American Meet Ups in New York and San Francisco respectively. When you are in the presence of Anish you are truly in the presence of what it means to be a Villa supporter. If Anish didn’t start the song you best believe he’s joining in! Between the singing and the balti bowl arguments*, you can be sure to be greeted with open arms and a giant smile.
*If you know, you know
How did you come to be an Aston Villa supporter?
I lived probably a couple of miles away from Villa Park and could see the old AV flood lights from my room and always heard the sound of the crowd cheering. That and going to watch matches as a kid made me a huge fan.
What is your most memorable moment as an Aston Villa supporter?
When Villa won the league and European Cup in 1982.
Who is your favourite Aston Villa player, past or present, and why?
Tony Morley and Jack Grealish. I just love the way both play football with passion, speed and flair. One of the reasons, growing up I wore and still choose the number 11 on my jerseys.
How does your Lions Club celebrate match days?
We usually go to either Celtic Crossing Irish Pub or The Brass Door in midtown or downtown Memphis. If the Villa win a match, we usually end up getting Irish Car Bomb shots to celebrate and end up with Up The Villa saying.
What does being an Aston Villa supporter mean to you?
The lifelong love and passion for the club, being part of the Pride and being a part of the North American Villa family. Being loyal throughout the good and bad times.
What does it mean to you to be a member of your local Lions Club?
Same as above.