Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Taking a Preliminary Stock of Things

This week-end, I hit upon this extract from an old 'Something for the Weekend' article by an old (or not so old!) friend and writer extraordinaire, Steve Wade. This was the part that caught my eye from early November, 2006:

"The club is as much reliant on youth on the terraces, as they are in the team, while for a lot of the aged Villa fans the revolution has come a bit too late, as too many are burnt out and still nurse their bitter disappointments and disillusionment like the shell-shocked from a war that is over - they still mumble their discontents and still relive the old nightmares. For some it has come too late and the changes will take too long, for many. It is the youth who must keep the faith and see the project through, the old will fall by the wayside - its going to be a long march.

"But Villa need more fans and fairy-dust is just so much froth. The things which bond a fan to a club, are not just nice words but the shared feeling, that you have witnessed something special and the management desperately need a 'was you there?' event, for the fans to really feel part of a revolution. You know the sort of thing - Didier Six beating United on his own; the last-gasp result against Tranmere, Phil King's winning penalty against Inter. These are the things which bring the doubters and dissenters back. Fairy-dust is fine but the other stuff is like quasi-religious experience of Damascene intensity. Get the burnt-out old duffer in a good mood and even he will tell you a tale of some distant match, drawing with United (4-4), in a totally amazing thriller."

The particular phrase that caught my eye was that in (my) italics.
This phrase begs a question in my eyes ... after all the nice words, re-structuring of buildings and making things 'nice', and gestures (good as they were at the time), have we yet (i.e. after nearly 5 years) witnessed "something special"? Has there been a "was you there?" event at the club since 2006?

If not, then presumably we do not feel there has been a true revolution.

If not, then presumably we feel that we may have lost something ... or is that just football as it is now?

For me, I'd say that we've still not really recovered since Yorkie's departure. Having said that, if Gabby can reproduce his goal of yesterday a wee bit more then perhaps I might get that feel good factor once more. In fact, Gabby's been in a bit of a wilderness so it was good to see him shoot himself back into the limelight.

Nevertheless, I can't believe how Rovers gave the Villa strikers so much time to set their sights before shooting. I don't believe that many teams will be so generous.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

William McGregor

December will see the 100th anniversary of the death of William McGregor, a major officer at Aston Villa in the 1880s and founder of all football leagues.

A celebration of this great man's life (his biography) has just gone to the printers and is scheduled to be available by October. It is a hardback with illustrations and dust jacket (artwork by the celebrated football artist Nick Oldham), retailing at 9.99 sterling.

There will be a Foreword by Kevin Moore, Director of the National Football Museum.

The authors are Peter Lupson and myself. Peter became well known for his book "Thank God for Football" (2006) and I was the author of "The Aston Villa Chronicles (1874-1924 and after)" (2009).

Peter’s book sparked two significant responses in Liverpool. Firstly, Across the Park (published by Sport Media, 2009) was commissioned by Liverpool Football Club on the strength of Thank God for Football! It celebrates the historic links between Liverpool FC and Everton FC. Secondly, Peter was elected Vice-Chairman of the Everton FC Heritage Society in 2010.

Further details about this new publication can be found at 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Getting Just a Tad Bit Nervous...

A bit too early for doom-mongering ... but ...Villa were playing a Championship side yet could not even score.

It seems that Villa put out a fairly inexperienced side last night at Derby, especially in defence. On the plus side, it sounds as though Bannan and Delph both performed well. But this side also contained Albrighton, Clark, Makoun and Bent. And, importantly, Ireland.

I am really worrying that it's backs to the wall this season, particularly if any injuries play a part - where is the cover going to come from?

Thank goodness Villa have chance to ease into their fixture list.