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Mastering the Wolves


LancsVillan
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this weekend see the Midlands Masters 2009 at the NIA. Wolves are the reigning champions.

Tickets are available from http://www.mastersfootball.com/masterscup2009_midlands.htm and a few lucky VTers will be going courtesy of the organisers themselves, having won a VT competition on the main messageboard.

So exactly who are these 'masters' representing us this weekend?

We start off in goal with Paul Crichton. WHO I hear you all say, he's never played for us. Well you would be right he was a loan signing back in 1997 from The Boggies, he never played a game for us but did play almost 500 times for the likes Peterborough, Grimsby and Premiership newboys Burnley. So it seems we are lacking in former keepers stepping forward so thanks Paul, again as I believe you played for us before.

Then we go onto 8 players who HAVE played for us and I've seen them all in Claret and Blue too.

David Norton - former England Youth and U18 player David made his debut in January 1985 in a a 3-0 win over Cov at Highfield Road, he played the next match too before having to wait until the next season for another appearance. That season (85-86) was his most productive with 25 games and two goals, though over another two seasons he never quite made the breakthrough and was sold to Notts County.

Bryan Small - joined from the FA School of Excellence and made his debut at left-back at home versus Evernot in a 2-0 win, standing in for Steve Staunton. Bryan went on to make 45 appearances for us and quite simply was one of the fastest players I’ve seen. One foot race where he gave a then young Ryan Giggs a good 5 yards start and beat him to it sticking in my mind. Bryan never scored for us before being given a free transfer to Bolton.

Mark Draper – you sign for the biggest club in your region; you score on your debut in a 3-1 win against the biggest club in the world – admittedly playing just few kids. Surely the start of something big, well if winning the league cup that season is big then yes. However, I always thought ‘What could have been’ where Drapes is concerned. That flicked up free-kick showed what he could do. Some 155 games and 11 goals later and he was off to the South coast and Soton.

Neil Cox – it was only when I looked into his history tat I found just how few games Neil had played (26 starts in the league). His most memorable things being his playing the second half of the 3-1 league cup win in 94 and the two fingered salute he gave the Stretford End only a few weeks before after scoring in the last minute. His career at Villa finished as he joined MBoro for their ‘ambition’.

Hassan Kachloul – an obviously gifted player, came to the Villa on a Bosman in 2001, started 25 games that season scoring two goals and then flitted around the reserves before being offloaded to Livingston. Another ‘what might have been’ as in theory at least him on one side and Hadji on the other should have seen us do well.

Mark Kinsella – there are times when a player is signed and you’re not quite sure what it is the manager sees in the incoming player (Heskey anyone), however, at the time Kinsella was playing well for the Republic of Ireland, looked good enough at Charlton, turned up at Villa and promptly stood around a lot, pointing from what I remember. That said I’m being a little harsh on a plyer who obviously has a fondness for us as he is this year’s FPA Player of the Year.

Tony Daley – the player of many hairstyles. An extremely quick winger who would beat a player with pace or a bit of skill and promptly find Row Z with the cross! Seriously an excellent player who on his day scared defenders up and down the country. Scored an truly excellent goal up at Citeh in a TV game we won in 89/90 season and was a key player in the team that year that saw us finish second under GT.

Finally we come to Ian Taylor – the player that like us was a fan and lived the dream. Always to be found watching us when he could even when playing for other sides. To score in a Wembley final (96) for the side you support must have been his high point. Signed by Brian Little from Sheff Weds for what seems like a paltry £1m, Ian Taylor of almost 300 appearances and 43 goals I salute you……

now bring back that Masters trophy and put the dingles in their place

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We have always seemed to have problems in this against clubs who fielded younger less high profile players who had quit the game more recently and so had more stamina if not anywhere near our players ability. But, its nice to see these old boys back in action whatever the result (as long as they beat Small Heath), I assume it will be on SKY again for those who are unable to get there to see it live.

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