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Then and Now At Villa (3)

Then and Now At Villa (3)
Christian Benteke appears to be no 'one-season wonder'! He has already indicated that there's a lot more to come from his golden boots (and head), but the manager has bought yet another striker of substantial girth to presumably help Benteke along the way. In Kozak and Helenius we possess two more tall strikers who promise to be able to do the old Tony Hateley job of getting into the clouds to create mayhem in the opponent's citadel.

After too many years of possessing relatively lightweight cannon, we now seem to have big guns!

Another aspect of Benteke's play is that he's not afraid of putting himself about. This can be dangerous on two fronts - the referee's wrath, and also injury - but this characteristic was one possessed by many of Villa's great centre-forwards of long ago. With devastating results!

We can recall in recent decades the daring-do of one Andy Gray and one Peter Withe, both of whom were strong and did not flinch from going in where it hurt. Dion Dublin was of the same category but in his case he nearly died as a result of his efforts. He was never quite the same player after that frightening injury.

'Arry 'Ampton (1904-1920) was probably the first of Villa's main strikers to be of concern to the referee in the way he ('Arry) would go about his challenges. 'Arry had a particular penchant for goalkeepers and scored a number of goals by bundling 'em into the net in the days when such a thing was legal, provided the keeper had his feet on the ground. The opposing centre-half was often given a few bruises, too, and there was the famous case of 'Arry and his marker in frequent conflict during the 1913 Cup Final. As a result, both were suspended for the opening of the following season. 'Arry was hated by the opposing fans but loved at Villa Park! He still holds the club record for the number of league goals scored during a career (215).

Succeeding strikers of the strongly combative type include the famed 'Pongo' Waring (1928-1935) who scored a remarkable 50 goals in season 1930-31 - still a club record for one season. His on-the-field temperament is the reason given for his not acquiring more England 'caps'.

The oldest Villa supporters can remember Trevor Ford (1946-1950), whose penchant for 'keepers was similar to 'Arry's, and Peter McParland (1952-1962) who had the serious collision with the keeper in the 1957 Cup Final when keepers still had a tough time. Today they are nearly always protected from harm. Tony Hateley (1963-67) did not flinch too much either, and we also had Andy Lochhead and Sammy Morgan during the lower division days of 1970 to 1975, who did their best to uphold the club's physical tradition in that department.

So in these few words I have summed up the great physical strikers that have been seen at Villa Park. With few exceptions, when Villa has possessed such strikers then Villa has achieved success. And now we have the potential of a lot more fireworks!

Up the Villa!

John Lerwill

For more history and stats , why not visit John's history site: The site has been extensively updated during this summer. Further, why not enjoy an in-depth read of Villa's history? Click here for more info.

Writer:John Lerwill
Date:Wednesday September 4 2013
Time: 9:22AM


I do enjoy these and you are quite right, we have some big hitters in the team again, wish we were in the more stable years of being able to keep players slightly longer but hey ho, this is modern football, so best enjoy whilst we have Benteke I reckon!
The Fear
04/09/2013 09:24:00
Big guns, yes. All we need now is someone decent to load them.......
Pride of Lions
04/09/2013 09:31:00
Good article and I agree, also Fear I think the times are changing and I know most won't agree but I see us top sixth this season or close to it and think we will keep a lot of our players. Maybe even Benteke after we add a couple of quality players next summer but if not I will still look forward to the replacements Lambert will buy with the Benteke money.
04/09/2013 09:33:00
would be delighted to see you right revua.
The Fear
04/09/2013 10:00:00
Exactly, Pride. Who will get the ammo to them?
04/09/2013 12:24:00
Lets not forget when Gabby charged the German keeper in 2008 I believe it was......
04/09/2013 14:29:00
Since when does asking a reasonable question become not supporting the team, Villan444?
04/09/2013 15:27:00
take a look at BBC Midlands at 6:30 pm. I believe they're showing a very rare footage of the 1913 Cup Final (Villa vs Sunderland). John Lerwill is on there also apparently.
The Fear
04/09/2013 15:50:00
I hope we can finally all see our team win an FA Cup. Luck of the draw and some Benteke beasting, but doubtful.
04/09/2013 16:01:00
Villan444, Here they are :) I wouldn't swap our strike force for any others in the Premiership. I truly believe they are good enough for pushing the top four. Just as soon as the rest of the team builds and we have the defence sorted all will be very rosy indeed. Fear don't worry I will be :) we have some cracking footballers now and will surprise many this season.
04/09/2013 17:19:00
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