Vital Football

Latest Aston Villa News

Villa Memories

Villa Memories


Villa Memories:

One of my strongest earliest memories goes back to 17th August 1974, when newly-promoted York City - resplendent in their glorious maroon & white 'Y-fronts' - kicked-off their first-ever season in the second tier of English football against Aston Villa.

Bootham Crescent was packed as almost nine-and-a-half-thousand fans hustled into the homely little stadium on a glorious and balmy mid-August afternoon, wondering how their local heroes would fare during a season that guaranteed clashes against the likes of Manchester United, Sunderland, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion, Bolton Wanderers and Fulham. It was really uncharted territory for us all. But first up, it was Villa, who I'd already seen my heroes knock out of the League Cup the previous season - reserve striker John Peachey earning us a plum tie with Orient (not!) in the next round.

But Villa were a big club - the packed away end at the Crescent that memorable sunny afternoon certainly reinforced that. I'd already heard of most of their players. Goalkeeper Jim Cumbes I'd seen on TV playing cricket for Worcestershire. The likes of John Gidman and Brian Little were international class and complemented the obvious skill of Ray Graydon on the right and Frank Carrodus down the other side. Big, bustling Sammy Morgan led the line, and there was also a mighty presence in the centre of defence in the trusty frame of Chris Nicholl - two more internationals to boot.

And then there was Chico. I was just a kid and I'd never heard of a 'Chico' before. The name might have suggested a clown or a woeful karaoke singer, but there was nothing funny about midfielder Chico Hamilton (whose real name was apparently Ian.) And while on that point, let us not forget left-back Charlie Aitken. The sound of his name and the immediate impression he portrayed rather instilled me with renewed hope - for to a simple young boy like me, he resembled more a fourth division left-back - short-back-and-sides and no messing with his clearances was Charlie. Maybe City might just cope this season?

It certainly looked that way when Barry Lyons cracked a low shot inside Cumbes' right-hand post on eight minutes to give York the lead. I was in heaven. But then that man Aitken kicked off the line from Jimmy Seal before my 'mate' Chico crossed for Graydon to head an equaliser. And 1-1 was how it was to remain, despite the best efforts of both teams to find a winner. It didn't matter though, we were now on our way and this was the big time, although my only disappointment was that I didn't get to see my favourite 'Villain' Pat McMahon in action.

And if you were wondering, we did cope. Well, at one stage we were as high as fifth in the table (I kid you not!), chasing hard on the heels of Manchester United, Sunderland, Villa and Norwich. Even those tame little Tigers from Humberside were below us. Victories positively flowed. A 2-0 win at Fulham with the likes of Bobby Moore and Alan Mullery taking late high teas at the Cottage. A league double over Norwich left the Canaries scrambling for scraps at the bottom of their cage. Solid three-goal wins over Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday suggested we were really getting to grips with our new found lofty status, while Hull City and Bristol Rovers were also sent packing by the same scoreline. Fulham came to Bootham Crescent looking for revenge and we beat them again.

Naturally there were serious hiccups. Yes, we lost commendably to Manchester United and Sunderland each time. But they were all close games. By contrast, the result at Villa was nothing short of a gigantic burp. 4-0 to Chico's gang and I seriously questioned as to whether we were really getting the hang of this? But a penultimate weekend victory at fellow newcomers Bristol Rovers finally secured our safety and the prospect of more second division football for another twelve months. A very respectable fifteenth place for my favourites. Mission impossible, never - this was mission truly accomplished.

Granted we of course bottled out the following season and crashed to relegation as only a woeful Portsmouth side kept us off the bottom table. But for me, I will always remember the heady sunshine of that lovely August afternoon and the start of the big time - and Villa.

With thanks to Steve - our Vital York editor


Bookmark and Share

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Steve - Vital York City Ed
Date:Thursday March 25 2010
Time: 3:47PM

Comments

0
great article, thanks so much Steve
The Fear
25/03/2010 15:49:00
0
great article, thanks so much Steve
The Fear
25/03/2010 15:49:00
0
dont live far from York city :)
Tr1dent
25/03/2010 16:10:00
0
nice train museum, not been to York for years but had a lovely day out as a kid on a school trip. Only thing I couldn't understand is why the hell they took us to the grave of Dick Turpin. I wanted ice cream personally! lol
The Fear
25/03/2010 16:20:00
0
Remember the game well. Traveled up to the game on the footie special from New Street Station, and spent virtually the whole trip moaning and complaining about the appointment of the dour and surly Ron Saunders as manager, as opposed to other more well-received names that were in the frame. First game in a very successful season for us, promotion and the League Cup winners, Ron Saunders proving that us amongst the 'Doubting Thomas' brigade clearly hadn't got a clue about what we were spouting off about.
glensider
25/03/2010 16:33:00
0
That's sounds familiar Glensider! I was at that game as well. A youthful and trim (unlike now) 15 year old.
cheshire villan
25/03/2010 16:45:00
0
That's sounds familiar Glensider! I was at that game as well. A youthful and trim (unlike now) 15 year old.
cheshire villan
25/03/2010 16:45:00
0
So has he thrown away all thoughts and started to follow the Villa or what?
PTP
25/03/2010 16:50:00
0
So has he thrown away all thoughts and started to follow the Villa or what?
PTP
25/03/2010 16:50:00
0
the fear, im 15 now and have been train place many of times with skwl lol, yorkshire also has the best ice cream :)
Tr1dent
25/03/2010 16:58:00
Page 1/2
  1. 1
  2. 2

Login to post a comment

Recent Aston Villa Articles

Elphick's Superstitions To Continue

New centre half Tommy Elphick has insisted his pre match ritual of attacking the goal posts instead of having a team photo will continue following his move to Aston Villa.

No Sinclair To Celtic - But Crespo Off

It's being reported that Aston Villa have rejected a £2million offer from Celtic for Scott Sinclair, but Jose Angel Crespo wants the 'PAOK' option to bring an end to his time with us.

Petrov To Resume Villa Training

Aston Villa have confirmed that Stiliyan Petrov will join up with the boys for pre season training, and he's been invited by new manager Roberto Di Matteo to join...

Elphick Relishing Promotion Pressure

New signing, and Roberto Di Matteo's first capture from Bournemouth, Tommy Elphick has said he's relishing the pressure of helping Aston Villa return...

Archived Vital Villa Articles

Vital Villa articles from

Site Journalists

J P Fear
Editor email
Profile
Mike Field
Editor email
Profile
Steve Wade
no email
Profile
Villa_Grizzly
no email
Profile
Turkish Penguin
no email
Profile
Glensider
no email
Profile
Chris Heath
no email
Profile
M Calucar
no email
Profile
JuanPablo Angel
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Elphick?
Suggested By: JP Fear
Great, solid signing80%
Ok signing5%
Meh signing15%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Burnley 46 26 15 5 93 37
P Middlesbrough 46 26 11 9 89 32
3 Brighton 46 24 17 5 89 30
4 Hull City 46 24 11 11 83 34
5 Derby County 46 21 15 10 78 23
6 Sheff Wed 46 19 17 10 74 21
7 Ipswich 46 18 15 13 69 2
8 Cardiff 46 17 17 12 68 5
9 Brentford 46 19 8 19 65 5
10 Birmingham 46 16 15 15 63 4
11 Preston 46 15 17 14 62 0
12 Q.P.R. 46 14 18 14 60 0
13 Leeds Utd 46 14 17 15 59 -8
14 Wolves 46 14 16 16 58 -5
15 Blackburn 46 13 16 17 55 0
16 Forest 46 13 16 17 55 -4
17 Reading 46 13 13 20 52 -7
18 Bristol City 46 13 13 20 52 -17
19 Huddersfield 46 13 12 21 51 -11
20 Fulham 46 12 15 19 51 -13
21 Rotherham 46 13 10 23 49 -18
R Charlton 46 9 13 24 40 -40
R MK Dons 46 9 12 25 39 -30
R Bolton 46 5 15 26 30 -40
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Sainz expected to stay with Red Bull stable
Latest Vital Boxing News
Liam Smith Next up for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Aston Villa Results (view all)

Aston Villa Fixtures (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.The Fear365
2.BodyButter153
3.sirdennis152
4.Fulford135
5.JuanPabloAngel112
6.kefkat101
7.glensider90
8.DeanoVilla89
9.Melon Donkey76
10.Silhillvilla70
Vital Football Comment