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

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Here today ... gone tomorrow!

I've read a footballer's obituary: a certain Alan Woodward. "Alan who?" I hear you say, and if you were born since 1975 I wouldn't blame you for asking as this Sheffield United hot-shot winger never played for England. But I remember him well, and the Sheffield United team that in his time had several useful players, and later in Woodward's career (1964-1978) that United club bought Tony Currie. 

Again, you might ask about Tony Currie, but he was more famous. A cultured England midfielder with a heck of a dribbling capability (I saw him once dribble through five players from the halfway line before slotting past the keeper), and made possible a goodly number of the 158 league goals that Woodward scored. Currie has said of Woodward: "Woody was the greatest I ever played with". 

 It only seems like yesterday that such players graced the football turf, and as Woodward was a couple of years younger than me, his death came as a bit of a sharp surprise. 

But you must be wondering about why I'm writing about non-Villa heroes! Before I answer that I would mention that the said Sheffield-born Alan Woodward has a possible family connection with Jack Woodward of the Villa media team. He's also Sheffield-born. 

It's players like Woodward and Currie that are legends in the pantheon of Sheffield United's quite rich history, and I've gone a roundabout way of reminding us all that Aston Villa FC have more than their fair share of legends. I feel it's time to properly record their feats: the 1957 FA Cup-winning team is virtually no more and even the last championship-winning side is getting long in the tooth. 

You might remember Villa Park's 100th anniversary celebrations in 1997, when a number of very old favourites appeared on the pitch. Players like Johnny Dixon, Trevor Ford, Con Martin, Stan Lynn, and many more. They're all gone now, and as the fans of that generation also go, the memory of those players also leaves the scene. Just like Alan Woodward's career. 

Old-time playing legends such as Archie Hunter (still the club record goalscorer in the FA Cup with 34 goals) still fascinate people, and, indeed, such players left a story that reaches to a Villan's heart! 

So, I am planning a radical departure from the format of my previous books, The Aston Villa Chronicles (1874-1924) and The First Superclub and have decided to produce a 10-volume hardback series of quality called Aston Villa Through the Ages. Each of the first 9 volumes will be centred around the players and particularly about a long-serving playing legend of the club. So, Volume One will be : "1878-1891 : The Age of Archie Hunter." 

Each of these volumes will describe both the specific legend and his contribution to the club, the teams that he was a member of, and their achievements as a team, including reports of prolific matches. There will be profiles and images of all the other main players during that legend's era. Each volume will be a Villa-fest! For full details (including the contents of Volume 10) please click here.

As you will see at the bottom of my webpage, it would be greatly appreciated if you would give me your reservation as soon as possible (of a complete series or specific volumes) so that I can best determine the order quantity I need to place on the printers.

Many thanks for your interest, and I hope that in the latest crop of players we have more legends in the making!