The Peter Withe Autobiography on VE Day!
If you believed the media hype before the game, Bayern Munich were already 1982 European champions; it was a total mismatch, given that they had a side full of internationals and we only had two, myself and our goalkeeper, Jimmy Rimmer. Bayern were a side that had the likes of Rummenigge, Breitner, Dremmler, Augenthaler and Hoeness – all world-class players and German internationals – and we were a team of rel- atively unknown but solid players who were punching above their weight with the ‘big boys` of European football. On the flip side, we had nothing to lose. It was the biggest match in the history of Aston Villa Football Club. We were going to enjoy every minute of it, and if we had a chance, we were there to spoil the party.
We were doing OK for the first hour. I was in the middle of the pitch bat- tling for the ball and I knocked it out to Gary Williams, who then played in Gary Shaw. Shawy turned inside from the left, Tony Morley made a run and Shawy looked up and played him in. All of a sudden, Tony was in a wide position facing Dremmler, jinking in and out, he managed to get to the touchline. There was one occasion during the game that I was being marked by Klaus Augenthaler so I did my usual, which was to drift off him into space as he followed the ball, but I just walked towards the path of the ball to see what he would do. Augenthaler followed me and started to drift to the near post, just the place I wanted him to be. I peeled off him, positioned in the middle of the goal. Tony drilled the ball across the box and in my head everything was happening in slow motion.
I was thinking, ‘We`ve practised this move a hundred times … now finish it.` All I had to do was to make good contact with the ball with my right foot and it was in the back of the net. As the ball came towards me, it hit a divot in the penalty area. It bobbled on the pitch and hit the top of my foot and hit the post before it went into the back of the net. I wish I could say it was a 35-yard screamer that hit the net so hard it burst the netting, but everyone would know I was lying. It prob- ably wasn`t the most beautiful goal I ever scored but I can`t remember one I`ve cherished more. A lot of people said (and still say to this day) that the ball came off my shin but that`s a load of rubbish – it definitely came off the top of my foot. If it wasn`t for the divot, I`d have had a clean strike at it and I would have drilled it into the net.
The scoreboard read: FC Bayern 0, Aston Villa 1
You can buy from: www.peterwitheofficial.com
Jonny Gould, Talk Radio and Sky News presenter and life-long Villa fan reviews the book:
“All For The Love Of The Game is one of the best football autobiographies I`ve ever read. Peter Withe`s story is one of sheer determination to succeed wherever that road should take him – from Liverpool to South Africa, the USA, back home – and then out again to the Far East.
And he did succeed – at the very highest level: twice a league champion, a European Cup winner, who scored the winning goal in the final and a full England international. The champagne bubbles of his greatest moments have never quite receded for this Aston Villa fan!
It`s also a love story because Peter couldn`t have achieved any of it without his devoted wife Kathy by his side through the years.
The game gave Peter mobility and life experience which would surely not have been possible had he never donned football boots. That`s another part of thjs great story.
For any fan of Villa or Nottingham Forest, reading this autobiography is a must – but it`s also for those who want to understand what it takes to succeed at the top of any line of business, not just football.
Author Simon Goodyear captures the drama and life decisions Peter and Kathy had to take with page-turning ease.”