40 years since our heroes took on the league and beat all-comers. Unbelievable for those of us who lived through it, to think it is 4 decades, goodness, where has the time gone?! Come to that, where has the hair gone!
I’m proud to say I was asked to write the preface for a book celebrating our great season and hey presto, here it is! Well, the original, longer draft anyway….
The early 1980’s, where the manager of all managers, Ron Saunders, led a team of giants to the Division One Championship and who then went on to reign in Europe, the following season, as well. Heady days, days that many of us still rejoice in, look back at and crave again. My generation are a blessed generation, we’ve seen everything apart from an FA Cup win.
If I may, I’ll rewind slightly. August 27 1977. I was 8. Dad took my brother and me to our first match. I’m not sure I was really sure what professional football was like, it wasn’t on the tv 24/7 back in those days but to be with dad and my older brother, well, that was good enough. The walk up the ground felt special. Standing outside the Holte Pub whilst dad grabbed a quick pint for him, a packet of crisps and a coke each for us. This started to appear to be my sort of day! Then, in the Trinity Upper, I fell in love. My first love and my most enduring love.
The sound of the fans stamping their feet, wow. The noise of the fans when the team ran out, good God, I’d never heard the likes. “Daddy, when are they going to stamp their feet again.” “In a while son.” The match started, my attention span has always been awful, but I was agog, just as much looking at the Holte End, as the pitch. Dad said he thought something special was coming. Then the old guy next to me shout so loud his false teeth fell out. Not sure that was what dad meant, but again, I was in my oil tot.
Why am I talking about this time? Because driving home, dad again, said he thought something special was being built. In that team, ok, I’ll fess up, we blinking lost, I was heartbroken (!), v Everton, was Jimmy Rimmer, a colossus called Ken McNaught. In midfield, Dennis Mortimer, you might have heard of him?! And then coming off the bench, a certain Gordon ‘Sid’ Cowans. The spine of the team, who would go on and bring the Villa fans the world.
Such magic times. A manager beyond compare, building a team that graced the Villa name and brought joy and pride to the ever loyal claret and blue army.
To a man, they were heroes then, and are legends still to this day. Never to be replicated, yet, whilst the modern and younger fans wait and crave success, we now celebrate the 40th anniversary of that great, great team.
Led by our Captain, Dennis Mortimer.
And THE manager, Ron Saunders.
I’m proud to call some of these fine gents my friend. Talk about walking with giants. Greats on the pitch, gents off it.
We love you. We salute you. We thank you.
Forum thread: On This Day
And a poem I did:
Heady Days 80/81
The famous season
When our claret and blue heroes
Fought their lion’s hearts out
And the league was won.
A magic team
The skills, the goals, the victories, the fun
The beating heart of Villa,
Had their season in the sun.
The famous season
OUR team of claret and blue heroes
Legends, each and every one
Led by the managers of all managers
The one, and only, Ron.