A rise in expectation levels at Aston Villa has brought the fans flocking back, reasons boss Martin O'Neill. Villa are regularly attracting 40,000-plus for their home fixtures.
O'Neill said: "This is about a crowd coming back to support their team. Whatever you think about it, we're playing to packed houses most weeks at Villa Park.
"People can come and can complain, but the people have come back, perhaps because we actually are an attractive side to watch. In the last two seasons we have been up there with 40,000 people for many games.
"I always think we are worth watching. We've stayed open in games and not tried to close games down. Now what we have to try and do is add consistency of results.
"But the fans have come back because there's hope and a bit of expectation which is not a bad thing."
O'Neill added: "The Aston Villa of the 1981-82 era, when they won the league title and the European Cup, could compete and could compete easily because they were a really big club.
"They've been in the doldrums for quite some time. They've had wee little lifts here and there, and they've had some charismatic people as well like Ron Atkinson as manager.
"Brian Little won the League Cup for them as well and they contested the FA Cup final in 2000.
"But what Aston Villa fans want more than anything else is to be going and competing and to be thinking they have a chance of winning.
"I actually think in the last season or two they've gone into matches thinking that they're not going to get turned over or beaten shockingly.
"Yes, we got beaten well and truly by Liverpool the other week which brought it back to a kind of a reality check but it's about the overall picture of where we're going - and we are making progress."
"We got into the top six early on in the season and we've remained in there ever since."