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Jimmy MacEwan


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One of my early heroes


Former Aston Villa favourite Jimmy MacEwan has died today.

MacEwan was believed to be Villa's oldest surviving ex-player before his death this afternoon.

He was 88 years old.

MacEwan played as an outside right for Villa between 1959 and 1966, making more than 150 appearances, scoring 31 goals.

The Dundee-born attacker made his name in Scotland with Arbroath and Raith Rovers where he was a prolific scorer.

He helped Villa win the Second Division title in his first season and the following year celebrated League Cup glory.

Jimmy's son Eric has contacted the Birmingham Mail to let us know his dad died peacefully of heart failure today at the Madeleine House care home in Birmingham.


He is also survived by another son Duncan.

"He died peacefully," said Eric. "The doctors were calling him Superman because he had recovered from a triple organ failure and seemed to be on the mend.

"In the end though he knew it was his time to go. My mum passed away a couple of years ago and he wanted to go then.


"We know dad was very popular with Villa fans and we know he loved reminiscing about Villa and his time at the club with fans who kindly came to visit him in recent years.

"He loved playing for Villa, but he often joked that he'd be sent off every week if he played nowadays!

"He's dearly loved and will be sorely missed. Thank you to Heartlands and Madeleine House for the care they have given him."


"Originally he only came here for two years.

"He could have had a free transfer back to Dundee United in 1961, for £25 a week and £1,000 in his hand.

"But he felt there would be better opportunities for myself and my brother down here so re-signed for Villa and 58 years he was still in Birmingham."

"His favourite moment was winning the first ever League Cup in 1961, with Villa beating Rotherham in the final. .

"His biggest disappointment was losing to Wolves in the 1960 semi-final.

"He would loved to have played for Rangers as it would have virtually guaranteed a Scotland cap.

"Even though he was Raith Rovers' leading scorer for four consecutive seasons, unless you played for the Old Firm you were overlooked.

"His favourite Villa games were the 5-5 draw at Tottenham in March 1966 was his first start that season, three days before his 37th birthday.

"He also had fond memories of his last game at Villa Park in April 1966, when he captained Villa and scored the goal in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United."



Aston Villa manager Joe Mercer (right) greets his new signings John Neal, Jimmy MacEwan and Bobby Thomson

"Although there was talk of a coaching job at Villa nothing materialised and Jimmy left to join Walsall, where he played into his forties then coached and managed until 1973 when he went to work at Ansells Brewery.

"He continued to play for the Villa Old Stars well into his fifties and only really stopped playing after he had two knee replacements at the same time.

"He was known for being bow-legged. He wasn't born that way, it was because of a stance he copied from a player back in Scotland.

"In 1991 he had to have both legs broken to rectify it, and it made him about three inches taller!."


"Up until the last 18 months when he was diagnosed with early onset dementia and a heart problem he was as fit as a fiddle.

"He has been in residential care where he was safe, well looked after and seemed quite content.

"He enjoyed his visits from ex players, including Harry Burrows, plus a couple of Villa fanatics who spent hours reminiscing with him."


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Before my time too, but I knew a bloke who used to drink in a pub I ran whose first ever match was the 11-1 game against Charlton in '59 and regaled us with tales of the 5 Hitchens goals (many many times lol). He used to tell me about Jimmy Mac and Vic Crowe over a pint or three.

Won the first ever League Cup with us in 1960/61.


Aston Villa are saddened to hear of the death of Jimmy MacEwan.

The skillful winger, who was a regular supplier of goals from out wide, joined us in 1959 having previously enjoyed a successful career north of the border with Arbroath and Raith Rovers.

Taking over from FA Cup winner Les Smith, who had been forced to retire through injury, MacEwan marked his debut with a goal in a 2-1 win on the opening day of 1959/60 and by the end of that season he had helped us to the Second Division title.

In the club’s first season back in the top flight, he was on target 10 times in League and Cup matches and he was also a key figure in the side that became the first winners of the League Cup.

He remained at Villa Park until 1966 when he joined Walsall.

RIP Jimmy.




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Gutted to learn of this sad news. I knew Jimmy Mac from my first ever job.

When I left school in 1988 I went to work in a Fishmonger's shop in Erdington. It was owned and run by an ex British amateur boxing Champ named Johnny Kidd (he claimed Johnny Kidd and the pirates were named after him) and he was from Aberdeen. He knew Jimmy Mac from living here in Brum and Jimmy used to come into the shop every week to get some fish and chat about a bit of everything but mainly football and boxing. 

Jimmy used to tell me stories about how the Villa coaching staff would teach the players how to nobble opponents fairly and would show me the old tricks he knew. He was completely bow-legged from the knocks he took to his knees as a pro. A really genuine nice guy with a typical Scottish funny story to tell and a great sense of humour. 

I remember once, Nigel Callaghan and Kent Neilsen came into the shop after training and Jimmy was talking to them about when he used to play for the club and they exchanged detail of training methods and how things have changed over the years. I bought a book at the time, a complete history of every player that ever played for Villa. I sent it off to Bodymoor Heath and all of the players and Graham Taylor signed it. I took it into work and Jimmy signed it for me on the inside cover. 

I have often wondered how he was and if he was still alive. RIP Jimmy - it was an absolute pleasure to have known you mate!

Edited by villarocker
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