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"It's astounding, time is fleeting


LancsVillan
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Madness takes its toll

But listen closely, not for very much longer

I've got to keep control"

Yes I've found myself in a time warp, not the one as mentioned by John Gregory but one that recently hit me about our current side.

There are certain similarities with all things at Villa Park that are have quite frankly scared me.

Chairman - recently new in the job, is not a public seeking type as opposed to the one coming before him.

Manager - has been around and has been a success at the clubs he's had before arriving at Villa Park as possibly the best we could get at the time. Has a fondness for the work ethic and team not the individual and skilful open play.

Have you got it yet?

I'll nip to the way we play and come back to individuals.

We prefer to soak up the opposition attacks and catch people on the break; offensively we are pretty lop sided with a left winger hugging the line and cutting in; there is a big 'journeyman' up front with a local lad alongside him; on the right we have a willing runner who it seems it an unsung hero as we are getting results yet no-one notices him; in the middle we've got a good battler and a skilful creative player who has come through the ranks at VP and yet is no local lad; then of course we have two lads at the back who are very dangerous on set pieces and one of whom is knocking in the goals with a nice regularity...

You must have it now.....

The way we play, the personnel, the set up of the club ..... they remind me a lot of 1981. Strange but true.

The previous season had seen our then manager Ron Saunders ship out a few he thought weren't good enough, Bullivant, Heard, Hopkins (spit) and realised that his 'star' was no longer shining as it should Little (JPA).

Our keepers Carson and Rimmer, both had good reputations and were thought of highly wherever they played before; both Northern lads too.

Full Backs: Right side we had Kenny Swain who wasa converted winger, at the moment we've got Olly a converted CB. Left side - ah a slight flaw but in Williams and Gibson we had two good players who were never going to appease everyone, same applies to Freddie.

Centre backs: Two no nonsense, take no prisoners in Allan Evan and Ken McNaught in what was a different game would be the match of Knight/Davies and SuperMart today. With Evans' goals sitting nicely with Laursen's.

Right Midfield: Well in 81 we had our unsung hero Des Bremner, the amount of running he got through was scary, legend has it he was the same off the pitch too running everywhere, we've got Stan Petrov who gets through a lot of work without the acclaim. Both came down from Scotland, an easier league, and deserve a decent mention.

Centre Mid: Sir Dennis was(is) what NRC aspires to be and NRC has the time on his side, both hard working battling sorts; though Sir Dennis could spot a pass and scored too. Then we've got the lads who came through the ranks, living away from home. Sid Cowans (my hero from the 81 side) and Gareth Barry (my hero from when he played as left sided CB to today) like so many other left sided midfielders have that bit of class, that style that makes you want to watch them.

Let Mid / Wing: Tony Morley and Ashley Young - both two footed both prefer their right; both lacking in the tracking back to help out the defence at times, both scorers of some memorable goals.

Top two: We used to play long balls into Peter Withe, we used to simply hoof it to him too for the modern fan and like today with JC it sometimes worked it sometimes didn't. Alongside these two we've got Gabby and Gary Shaw, both local lads coming through the ranks; both fans of the Villa (GS at Wembley 94 - cheers Gary); the latter would I feel have gone onto greatness but for the injury that cut his career tragically short.

Yes there are others but through luck, fitness or bravery the main elements of the squad are cannily alike, to me anyway.

I'll leave you with Ron at his best:

"'With your usual vocal backing and 110 per cent effort from each and every one of the players I am sure we will get the right result.'"

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A very interesting comparison Lancs. I'm not sure how long it took or what made you think of it but the links between the two teams are uncanny. We also had a small squad back then! :winkold:

I had been thinking myself that the current situation is similar to what it was in the late 70s when we had an entertaining team that looked on the verge of winning something in the near future and that could often afford to give their opponents a goal start and still win.

It made me wonder which team would win if they played each other next weekend. I think the 81 team would and I also had a thought about how many of today's team would get into the great side that you have compared them with. I came up with zero although Bouma, Carew and Young would run Williams/Gibson, Withe and Morley close and Laursen does not get in as he might upset the balance of the greatest Villa side in living history.

Thanks again for this Lancs, it took my mind off the transfer window for a few minutes. :lol:

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I've been making this comparison for ages. They DO remind me of the Saunders team.

BUT. The days when you could win the league with 14 players are over.

I noticed early on in the season and only just thought about putting it on here to be honest.

A very interesting comparison Lancs. I'm not sure how long it took or what made you think of it but the links between the two teams are uncanny. We also had a small squad back then! :winkold:

I had been thinking myself that the current situation is similar to what it was in the late 70s when we had an entertaining team that looked on the verge of winning something in the near future and that could often afford to give their opponents a goal start and still win.

It made me wonder which team would win if they played each other next weekend. I think the 81 team would and I also had a thought about how many of today's team would get into the great side that you have compared them with. I came up with zero although Bouma, Carew and Young would run Williams/Gibson, Withe and Morley close and Laursen does not get in as he might upset the balance of the greatest Villa side in living history.

Thanks again for this Lancs, it took my mind off the transfer window for a few minutes. :lol:

I don't think any of the current side would get into the team because it was a team where simply the overall was far greater than the sum of it's parts.

And to be honest again I wrote it to get away from the transfer stuff.....

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It's an interesting comparison, particularly in the approach the team takes as much as the types of players/comparisons.

I guess it shows that some of the basic principles of good teams remain the same and you're spot on about the 80/81 team being far better than the sum of it's parts. The mix was perfect.

Nice change from the frenzy about nothing on some of the other pages.

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nice article Al,

times though have changed, back then there no suce thing as 'pure' football and there are a certain section who want to see this at Villa.

the most striking similairty are the managers, both bloody minded, both hated the press and both couldn;t care what anyone thought.

It is the typical mantality of a winning manager and that is why people have the faith in MON now as they did in Ssir Ron.

We do lack two players from that team

1) RB - say no more but Swain was a proper attacking RB and clearly this is something we do not have

2) Central midifeld - Mortimer and Cowans as a combo were brilliant I am not sure BArry/NRC are anywhere near those two, yet.

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