Commentary Box: The new hooliganism

HOPEFULLY, we are a long way from making drastic and knee-jerk decisions around the fear of pitch invasions becoming a new trend in British football. Anyone who remembers the days of fences, threats of electrification, the feeling of being penned-in like cattle and the “us and them” environment where policemen stared into the eyes of the underclass will be hoping the current spate of incursions … Continue reading Commentary Box: The new hooliganism

We are the Champions: 1980-81- Aston Villa

SEVENTY-PLUS years had passed since Aston Villa had last won the Football League Championship, their six title triumphs ended in 1910. In the intervening decades, Villa had known despair at times, spending  two years in Division Three at the start of the 1970s. In 1975, under the ultra-disciplinarian, Ron Saunders, Villa returned to the top flight, also winning the Football League Cup in 1974-75. Villa … Continue reading We are the Champions: 1980-81- Aston Villa

The cost of the drop

WITH SOME worrying messages coming out of both Newcastle United and Aston Villa, two of the clubs most likely to suffer relegation from the Premier League, the cost of dropping out of English football’s top flight is becoming ever more apparent. According to the game’s think tank, Football Benchmark, relegation has never been more costly than it will be in 2015-16. In KPMG’s new release, … Continue reading The cost of the drop

Newcastle and Villa – will they bask in the sun again?

IF THERE’S two clubs that feel they should belong to a higher echelon, it is Newcastle United and Aston Villa. Sadly, apart from the odd exceptional performance, they are names that belong to the past – the challenge for both clubs is how they can retain a pivotal role in the future of English football. Their part in history is without question, but the polarisation … Continue reading Newcastle and Villa – will they bask in the sun again?

March to the arch: Villa, till death us do part

“I’m Villa till I die,” said the short, round man from Aston. “Bloody hate Blues, hate Baggies. Villa for me, through and through.” There he stood, on Witton station, Villa sweat shirt over Villa shirt. Villa tattooed on his knuckles. “I’m ******* happy. I’ve just bought a cup final ticket and I’m chuffed.” He wasn’t the first Villa fan I came across that morning. Hundreds … Continue reading March to the arch: Villa, till death us do part

Midlands derby the pick of the ties – Benteke v Berahino

It would be easy to say that Manchester United v Arsenal is the tie of the sixth round of the FA Cup, but in terms of rivalries, the Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion could take some beating this weekend. It’s a Brummie derby that has so much riding on it. Two new managers – Tim Sherwood has just taken over at Villa Park and … Continue reading Midlands derby the pick of the ties – Benteke v Berahino

John Neal’s reign underlined the value of patience

John Neal came across as a decent man. Honest, earnest and an old-fashioned, no-nonsense football person. But in the modern era, Neal would never have got the chance to change Chelsea’s fortunes. Two lack lustre campaigns and he would have been out of the Stamford Bridge revolving door. But in his third season in charge at Chelsea, he created a team that ended a dismal … Continue reading John Neal’s reign underlined the value of patience

When will the Midlands really challenge for honours?

This week’s loosely tagged “Brummie” derby, West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa, created more interest than usual, largely thanks to comments made in the press by Villa manager Lambert. He claimed Villa is a bigger club than Albion, a viewpoint that was bound to inflame Baggies’ fans who have invariably lived in the shadow of their claret and blue friends. Lambert is right. Villa are … Continue reading When will the Midlands really challenge for honours?

Great Reputations: 1913 – Villa and Sunderland go for the double

Until the double became as common as embarrassing mistakes by Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, football history was littered with stories of clubs who had experienced near-misses of the English game’s biggest accolade. The double was won twice in the period 1888 to 1960, and both of those were in the reign of Queen Victoria, 1888-89 Preston and 1896-97 Aston Villa. It was, for many … Continue reading Great Reputations: 1913 – Villa and Sunderland go for the double

Dear Prudence…when will you come out to play?

Dark clouds are descending once more around Arsenal after their disastrous opening day defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. Watching the post-match analysis and reaction of manager Arsene Wenger, the Frenchmen already looks like a man making too many excuses. Arsenal’s prudent approach to finance is admirable, but they spent the summer telling people that the purse strings have been opened and that they … Continue reading Dear Prudence…when will you come out to play?

Lambert to get a Lerner lesson?

Aston Villa’s defeat at the hands of Wigan Athletic brought the total of goals conceded in the last three games to 15. But the good news for Villa fans is that things are improving: 0-8 against Chelsea, 0-4 with Spurs, and now 0-3 against the mighty Latics. At this rate, Bradford City will be favourities to win the upcoming Capital One semi-final. This all puts … Continue reading Lambert to get a Lerner lesson?