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Gareth Barry, 373 appearances and counting: Harry Hampton


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by OutByEaster

Gareth’s assault on Villa’s record books continues unabated, and all being well, his appearance against Chelsea will bring him to 373, matching the record of Joseph “Harry” Hampton and taking him to 14th on the list of Villa’s all time highest appearances record holders.

Our current Captain continues to play with the high level of consistency we’ve come to expect from him, and we can only hope that it doesn’t go unnoticed by Mr Capello, who could well become the 5th England manager to pick Gareth.

For Villa, he’s noticeably grown into the role of Captain and it’s good to see him being more vocal and extending his influence through the side.

He’s also started to put together a decent tally of goals, and a haul of 38 (one more than Dean Saunders) is a great return for a player who has spent much of his career in a variety of positions across the back line.

It’s a little short of the record of the man he’s overtaking in appearances mind you.

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Joseph "Harry" Hampton

Harry Hampton scored 242 goals for Villa in 373 appearances.

Have a moment to take that in.

He scored 215 goals in 339 league games.

He scored 14 hat tricks and managed five goals in one game against Sheffield Wednesday in 1912.

His stock in trade was the shoulder charge, and many of those goals featured the keeper as well as the ball in the back of the net, but he could also play a bit and was known for the accuracy of his long passing and a burst of pace.

He arrived at Villa Park in May of 1904 having established himself playing for his local side; Wellington. The “Wellington Whirlwind” had scored 54 goals in two seasons in Shropshire, and was still only eighteen.

He scored fifteen league goals in that first season, a total he would go on to better in nine of the next ten seasons. For consistency of scoring rate, he was untouchable.

He saved some of his more memorable performances for Cup Finals though, and won two FA cup winners medals, the first in 1905 against Newcastle, and a second in 1913 against Sunderland. Both are memorable albeit for different reasons.

The 1905 FA Cup Final vs. Newcastle.

In 1905, Newcastle were everybody’s favourites to win the FA cup. They’d lost the final the previous year, and were generally thought of as being that bit better than Villa.

They’d reckoned without Villa’s rampaging teenager though.

It shouldn’t have come as any surprise when Harry opened the scoring after just three minutes; he had after all scored in every single round of the competition up until then. It was probably more of a surprise when he knocked the Newcastle keeper out cold with a shoulder charge then just for good measure finished his afternoon’s work with a well taken second goal with fifteen minutes left.

The FA cup was the biggest game in the world at the time, and the teenager had won it almost single handedly in his first season at Villa Park.

Fame followed, with the London press christening him "Appy Arry" a nickname that Villa fans adopted merrily and for years to come a Hampton goal would be greeted with mocking Cockney chanting of “Appy Arry Ampton.” I think we can safely say this makes him a little more popular than the last cockney Harry to have his name chanted at Villa Park.

The 1913 FA Cup Final vs. Sunderland.

The 1913 FA Cup final against Sunderland drew a record crowd of 120,000 fans. It’s fair to say they had more than their fair share of entertainment, although it probably wasn’t the best of games.

Sunderland had a centre half by the name of Charlie Thomson, a Scotsman and renowned hard man; his battle with the (ahem) quite physical Hampton was one that was eagerly anticipated by fans of both sides.

The battle began early on in the game, with neither player showing any desire not to live up to the pre-game hype. Thomson was booked for an aerial challenge on Hampton, although reports of the time suggest that both men were hurling themselves at each other with rare abandon.

Hampton had the ball in the net, but his header was disallowed for offside, a decision that might well have been questionable.

In the second half, things took a turn for the worse, with Thomson fouling Hampton so severely that the Villa man was down for several minutes. Hampton got his own back soon afterwards by kicking Thomson while he was on the ground.

And so the game went, with the two main protagonists (ably supported by players of both sides) kicking lumps out of each other. Interrupted only by Tommy Barbers 76th minute winner for Villa.

At the end, the pitch was said to resemble a field dressing hospital, with bodies everywhere.

It proved too much for the referee that day. Mr. Adams from Nottingham must have lost control of things a little in the second half, playing 17 minutes of time added on. He was suspended by the FA and never refereed another game, retiring before his suspension was complete.

Football was so appalled that both Hampton and Thomson were suspended until the end of October for the following season. (It didn’t stop Harry scoring 19 times that season.)

I think it’s fair to say he was a fearsome opponent.

As well as the two FA cups, Hampton also won the league with Villa in 1909-1910, scoring 26 goals in our Championship winning run, his best haul in a single season.

He played four games for England and scored two goals.

Those pesky Germans sadly curtailed Harry’s career, he was gassed during World War One, and though he recovered he would never be the same player.

He was still good enough to help small heath to promotion though, scoring 16 goals in 34 games in 1920-21 at the age of 36.

He returned to Wellington where he played on until 1924, before coaching at Preston for a year.

After football he joined up with fellow Villa Legend John Devey to form the Winson Green Picture House Company, opening a 1500 seat Cinema in that area of Birmingham in 1915, before moving to Rhyl where he ran a seafront café.

He died in March 1963, aged 77, a Villa legend.

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I think it’s fair to say that Gareth is somewhat unlikely to challenge Happy Harry’s goal scoring feats, but each legend must find their own path, and Gareth is steaming on towards his four hundredth appearance.

Who would have thought that of the young lad we once sang, “You’re the son of Paul McGrath.” to? (I haven’t imagined that have I?)

First he’ll have to pass a small group of Villans on or around the 390-appearance mark, hopefully he’ll do that at the end of this season.

We’ll catch up with him then.

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