Villa Chronicles - A Triumph By John Lerwill
This is an epic folks! John Lerwill who some might recall used to write on Vital Villa before his gainful employment at AVFC as club historian, has completed a massive publication covering the first half century of Villa's history is now available in both club stores.
They are called 'The Aston Villa Chronicles 1874-1924 (and after)' brought out in a two-volume hardback publication. The 984 page history is presented in a slipcase and is available at Villa Park and New Street, priced £39.95.
It traces Villa's early history from the club's formation in 1874 through the days when we were founder members of the Football League and enjoyed incredible success in both the league and the FA Cup, including a double in 1897.
John said: 'Having read many histories over some 40 years, I felt that there was far more I wanted to know about this intriguingly-named club. Existing histories seemed to not tell the complete story. Questions arose like 'just what did go on in those early days?' and 'how exactly did the club come to be world-famous?' They seemed to be so tantalisingly close to being answered - and yet so far from print. There seemed to be a great shortage of information and also signs of mythology taking the place of history. The project uncovered far more than I expected. And the material that I found all seemed to shout out that it needed to be brought to the public gaze - which I am delighted to have done.'
In addition, the proof-reader - a non-football supporter! - gave her opinion of the book at the half-way stage:
I can truly say that the book was easy and interesting to read – and gets better as it goes on! Of course, I cannot say much with regards to the actual accuracy/relevance of the content as I have no prior knowledge of the Villa, but the research you have used to compile the book really has been well-done and your efforts come across in the level of detail you present. I am learning more each day and I think that is the most important thing for any reader too. You entertain with jokes and light-hearted tales throughout which I liked as with histories, reading the same sort of writing throughout can be tedious.
I believe the forward is by our great Brummie mate Professor Carl Chinn MBE
It has been pointed out to me:
(1) that potential buyers have to go to the store counter to ask for it. It's not been put out onto the floor but is behind the serving desks
(2) I understand that long distance buyers have to contact the store by phone and pay postage
(3) only 2000 sets are being produced with no gurantee yet of a re-print.
I know John sweated blood over this for many years and must be hugely relieved to have got it completed and not only published but published in style!