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Recently danny_dee came across something with special value to the club, so what happened next?

In November 2008 at Penn's Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield a meeting was held between a couple of football fans and three representatives (Neil Rioch, Darren Bradley and Mark Burke) of Aston Villa Former Players Association to discuss the idea of producing a range of memorabilia relating to ex-players of Aston Villa FC.

Many ideas were discussed on how to achieve what we wanted and a strategy was put in place which involved licensing over 100 images featuring past players of the club and searching out items relating to the Villa which we thought would interest the fans.

Being a season ticket holder at the Villa and with experience in the memorabilia industry I was put in charge of collecting stock, a job I dedicated myself to over the following months collecting the largest amount of Aston Villa Memorabilia outside of Villa Park.

While doing this, I was informed that somebody was selling a print relating to Aston Villa's early history so off I went to a flat in Castle Vale to see it. The owner of the flat was a old friend of the sadly deceased former Aston Villa Official Photographer Terry Weir, who was the previous owner of the print

The flat was full of fascinating items, the main one being a print of the Aston Villa players and club officials for the 1919-20 season pictured with the FA Cup.Straight away I could tell it was a special item, especially due to it looking like it was still in its original frame and mount, so I happily agreed a price and spent the next half hour learning as much as I could about the print.

According to the story I was told, the print had been on display in the old offices located in the former Lower Grounds’ buildings (near what is now the North Stand at Villa Park) until they were demolished for further development in 1981. That was when Terry Weir came into possession of it until he gave it to his Villa-supporting friend in the year 2000.

Due to the rarity and value of the print it was put in storage along with other expensive items while the collection of Memorabilia continued.

All through 2009 Mark Burke and myself traveled the country, meeting up with ex Villa legends to get them to sign the pieces of Memorabilia that related to their time at the Villa, and by June I was happy with the amount collected and signed. The process of getting items on sale began with the building of the Midlands Memorabilia website.

The website launched in July and thanks to the involvement of AVFPA we got a lot of interest from different people with links to the club, one of those being official Club Historian John Lerwill, who expressed a real interest in the 1919-20 print.

The print was taken to Villa Park for John Lerwill to look at and we are glad to confirm that my instincts were spot on as it is now established that it is the earliest known official image of all the club officials and all the main players after the end of the First World War. Further, John confirms that it remains in its original frame, and most likely was hanging in the old offices, as according to the story relayed to me.

John Lerwill was prepared to propose to the club that they make an offer for the print, but I decided it wouldn't be right to take money from the club considering all the help they have given the AVFPA, so i have agreed for it to be loaned to the club for the foreseeable future free of charge. Another item was also loaned that could turn out to be just as important once verified; we hope to be able to announce news on that in the near future.

I hope you visit our website which you can find by clicking our advert to the left in links, please feel free to contact me at info@midlandsmemorabilia.com with any questions or comments.

Danny Drewry

Midlands Memorabilia-Platinum Partner of AVFPA

More about Aston Villa Former Players Association

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