Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday June 18 2012
Promo for a Villa related book. Vital Villa (and indeed, Vital Network Ltd) have taken no money for this and accept no responsibility...for anything.. anywhere... ever... unless it is really good, then we'll take the praise warranted or not!
Nigel Sims newly published book 'In Safe Hands' will be launched on Saturday June 23rd in the North Stand box holders lounge at Villa Park.
Doors open at 12.30, there will be a talk re the book and Nigel`s career at 1pm and then at 2pm there will be a book signing in the club shop.
There will be items from the Aston Villa archives on display from Nigel's time at Villa inc Jimmy Dugdales match worn '57 final shirt. As well as Nigel attending, his former Villa team mates Ron Wylie, Jimmy MacEwan, Harry Burrows and Alan Deakin who all contributed to the making of the book, will be in attendance, it is expected Jackie Sewell will be coming also.
I have just had it confirmed that Nigel`s ex-Wolves teammate Johnny Walker will also be there on the day. Fans can come along for a meet and greet! Free admission all welcome
The book 'In Safe Hands' charts the early Derbyshire childhood life of Nigel Sims and then onto his professional football career that lasted just shy of two decades. Described by many of a later generation as Aston Villa's best post-war 'keeper, he started on the groundstaff at Wolverhampton Wanderers as a youngster and his rise to stardom, being part of the victorious Aston Villa FA Cup side of 1957 and winning the trophy an outright and record seventh time. Charlie Aitken an ex-teammate of Nigel`s in the early 1960`s kindly submitted the foreword for the book and Sir Doug Ellis has also penned a few lines. The purpose for the book being written was to raise funds to enable Nigel Sims to have the surgery he requires, the injuries being a direct result of his time playing professional football. It would also be a tool to raise funds for Aston Villa's charity partner Acorns Childrens Hospice to whom my wife and I have personal links.
Acorns provides short break, emergency and end-of-life care from their hospices 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They have three ten-bed children`s hospices: in Birmingham, Walsall and Worcester, designed to be a home-from-home to help children enjoy their stay and make the most of every day. With hospice running costs of over £8million a year, they rely heavily on the community for funding. From every £1 donated, 88p is spent on providing the vital care and support that the children and families rely on. Acorns make no charge to families for using the services they provide.
excerpt from 'In Safe Hands'
Late on the Friday evening of March 16th 1956, Nigel Sims narrowly missed the transfer deadline when he signed for his new employers - Aston Villa Football Club. Signing for the Villa on the same night was the Walsall `keeper Vincent McBride, who had been restricted to eleven first team starts for the 'Saddlers` in the two years he had been there. Nigel finally left Molineux (where he played second fiddle for eight years) in the shadow of Bert Williams. Now he was the new boy, though not so much of a boy at the age of twenty-four, but the new boy all the same. Already standing in his way between the Villa goal posts was the Welsh international stopper Keith Jones and next to him, Michael Pinner, the second choice. Pinner had deputised as recently as the previous month while Jones was injured, in a 1-0 defeat away, against Bolton Wanderers. When Nigel arrived at the club Jones was only two games shy of reaching two-hundred first team appearances for the Villa.
Nigel waited less than a week before making his debut and pulling on the famous 'Claret and Blue` jersey, or in his case, a green one! His Aston Villa career that would run for nearly the next decade would begin on Monday March 19th 1956 at home to Burnley, just two days after Villa Park played host to the FA Cup Semi-Final between the eventual winners Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. As a guest of the club for that semi-final, Nigel was able to get a glimpse of what the future might hold, "Villa Park was a fantastic stadium and on that day it was packed with 70,000 people and what an atmosphere! I couldn`t wait to get out there and play in front of that massive terrace behind the goal, the one the Villa fans called the 'Holte End.` Before this I had only played at Villa Park for the opposition and that was 'Wolves` who were deadly rivals, so you can imagine what that had been like. I knew from experience how intimidating it could be for the visiting team, so God only knew what it was like when they were on your side!"
Date:Monday June 18 2012
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