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Jack Watts


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He may have never kicked a ball for the club but Jack Watts was a household name at Aston Villa.


Jack was one of the most popular figures in B6 because of his dedication to duty, his kind personality and his love of everything claret and blue.


When it came to love of the club, there was only one man in the frame and that was Jack.


He supported the club for over nine decades - and did almost every job imaginable in his time working with the claret and blues.


Jack was first brought to Villa Park by his older brother Ted 92 years ago at the tender age of four and he has been a club stalwart ever since.


He was most recently a matchday host for chairman Randy Lerner's guests - and his tales always kept visitors to Villa Park entertained.


He was rewarded by a lifetime achievement accolade some years ago and he was still as passionate as ever about his favourite club even in his later years.


One of Jack's many jobs during his tenure with the club was working in the Holte End scoreboard after he came out of the army in 1946, at the invitation of his old friend and neighbour Mush Callaghan.


He was paid 10s for that and 15s for helping Mush and others sweep up the ground on Sunday mornings.


For 34 years - until the installation of new electronic scoreboards in 1981 - working on one of the manual scoreboards was Jack's Saturday afternoon role.


Working mostly with Mush's brother Arthur and Sam Messenger - and later with his two sons Peter and Steven - Jack would take down all the scores as they were read to him over the telephone by a woman from the Exchange Telegraph office in town.


Jack loved the job - along with his many others - although he hilariously admitted he didn't show his face once during his long stint in the scoreboards.


He dropped one of the heavy metal number plates on to the crowd below, where it struck a man in the face!


He told us last year: "Can you imagine it? Oh dear, I'm thinking. What's going to happen here? If the fellow sues the club it's going to be for thousands of pounds, so that's the sack for me straight away!


"But the biggest coincidence of all was that out of 64,000 in the ground, the fellow it hit happened to be a relation of Mush Callaghan's and one of my old football partners, a chap called Martin Moore.


"Afterwards, I said 'Martin, I ain't half glad it was you!"


Jack's favourite player was Billy Walker - and he once met the great man in unusual circumstances.


He told us last year: "I remember it as vividly as if were yesterday, even though it happened more than 80 years ago.


"I was playing football with my mates in Perry Barr Park and the ball sailed over my head and down the path. "Go and get it then," they told me, so off I scampered.


"A man and a woman were strolling in the opposite direction, arm in arm, so I shouted: "Hey, mate, kick the ball here!"


"He was wearing a suit but he duly obliged - and the classy manner in which he kicked that ball made me look again.


"Could he possibly be a professional footballer? He was. The man who passed that ball to me was my idol, Billy Walker - Villa's all-time record scorer.


"Well, I was awestruck. I simply didn't know what to say.


"I was 11 or 12 at the time and meeting my hero was something I will never forget.


"Tom "Pongo" Waring and Eric Houghton - the hardest kicker of a ball I've ever seen - were big stars in their own right. But if they were around today, I'm sure they would tell you they became even better players through playing alongside Billy Walker.


"For me, there was no better footballer - and there never will be."


Well, when it comes to club stalwarts, there will never be a better one than Jack.


He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.


Rest easy!

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Saw that earlier. Never had the pleasure of meeting him, but was aware of his service to the club. A Villa man through and through. Gone to join the Holte Enders in the sky.



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His first game at Villa Park was way back in 1923! What changes and football he will have seen at Villa Park over the years.


Jack kept the Holte End and many other fans around the ground up to date with the half time scores from his scoreboard for 35 years. He has now moved on to be a HEITS. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Jack.      

Edited by John
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I was sad to hear of the death of Jack. What a really nice guy he was. I use to work for the Villa on match day when i was a kid and got to know Jack.I once helped him in the Holte end scoreboard and i was amazed while helping him at his knowledge of all things Villa.He was known as "Mr Villa" by lots of people at the club 

R I P Jack

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