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50th Anniversary Waltz (or is that Rollercoaster?)


nazvfc
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Lock up your daughters, your grannies - the Villa Old Farts have polished their zimmer frames and are heading your way!

This is a bit long and the important bit is at the end!!!

February 17th 1962 FA Cup 5th Round Aston Villa 2 Charlton 1

February 11th 2012 Aston Villa v Manchester City

The above two dates are significant - The FA Cup match was my first Aston Villa game.

On February 14th 2012 it will be a landmark for myself and a few members of this excellent forum.

The Manchester City game is the 50th Anniversary of that momentous occasion. And to coin a cliche - it has been a rollercoaster from that day till this day and I truly believe that that phrase can be attributed to only one team - Aston Villa FC.

My first experience may be in the distant past and I may not remember much of the match or the line-ups - but you will have to forgive me - I was just under 4 at the time and my brain ain't what it used to be.

I lived at first on Albert Road the on Bevington Road and attended Prince Albert Primary School. Then I went to Holte Grammer.

What I do remember is at that time all you saw was kids and adults with Claret and Blue hats and scarfs and rosettes - not a single gloryhunting Red or Red and White scarf to be seen.

What I do remember is the walk from my house in Albert Road holding my cousins hand tight (he was the footballer in the household - played for BSA). My 2nd eldest brother was there too. We walked down Whitehead Road - turned at the bottom into Bevington Road and then we turned Right - onto Trinity Road getting closer and closer to what seemed to a 4 year old a sea of thousands upon thousands of people walking with Scarves, Hats, Rosettes, and Rattles (remember them?) adorning the famous colours - colours to this day that may have been imitated but not beaten - CLARET and BLUE - what a nice ring - not Blue (yuk!) or Red or Red and White or Gold and Black (well not really gold - a little off Orange and Black). Colours pffffft! You cannot beat the Claret and Blue.

I walked in awe - fearing I would get trampled under foot by all these people holding the hands of my brother and cousin as tightly as I can in case I got swept away in the sea of Claret and Blue.

I walked towards a huge structure - god it was awesome - the nearer I got the bigger it got until I saw that absolutely wonderful mosaic of that Lion and that emblem emblazoned with Aston Villa FC and Prepared and there I stood in front of the TRINITY ROAD stand. That awesome sight that not only us Villa fans admired but also the visiting fans admired and at one time feared. To this day the visiting older fans mention that structure (Thank you Mr Aston Villa for the one sole act of wanton destruction that I hold you responsible for and what I personally will never forgive you for).

I used to wonder how magnificent it must have looked when it was first built - the smell of the bricks and mortar - and I can imagine now (if it had still stood) the spirits of the Villa greats that wandered through the corridors of that wonderous icon. From THAT day I fell in love with Aston Villa FC and that love has not died one bit.

In those days us fans used to go to Villa Park one week and being too young to go on the "away days" used to go one week to St Andrews or Molineux (we used to mingle with these fans with no such hatred of today). But even then I may have gone to those grounds but there was only one team for me.

I regret I do not remember much of the game or lineups - but I remember the pitch - soggy and muddy - the leather balls heavy when wet. I remember looking at all four areas of the ground - the old Witton Lane Stand (To this day I cannot bear to call it the Dou..... you know I still can't and I hate it when people call it that on this forum - a few have at the wolves game had a mouthful off me and a few other fans recently!).

The Trinity Road with that beautiful stand - the seats in the upper. The North (Witton End) - that steep bank with no roof - that drop at the top - wonder how many felt like jumping off there when we lost!!!

Then I was stood on the hallowed stand - the Holte End - at one time the biggest goal side terrace in European (if not world football) - 28,000 capacity alone!. I stood there mouth open - agast at it's size. No other football stadium could match the Holte End back then and it was the envy of nearly every team in the football league (as was the Trinity Road).

Unknown to me I was at that time standing (or sometimes sitting on the shoulders of my elders) right near a Villa Fan I have come to respect and class (even though I have never met him) as a true friend - Mr Glensider (sorry - he is from another forum) whose first game was also this one.

I had the priviledge to sit in the old Trinity Road Stand - in the plush Shareholders seats thanks to my brothers teacher/headmaster - the brother of one Johnny Dixon - Ernie Dixon.

I had the honour of delivering the Evening Mail to Charlie Tabberner and the dubious honour of delivering it to the self styled Mr Aston Villa himself - dear old Uncle Douggie.

I was there when we invaded the pitch in 1968 after that terrible loss to Preston North End - the pitch sit in. The Civic Hall in Digbeth Meeting where the "Revolution" had begun.

I was amongst the thousands pf others taht were asked to come to Villa Park - paint and paintbrush, brushes in hand renovate, to paint and clean the once maginificent stadium that was now looking worse for wear, neglected by the old board.

We all rallied together each and everyone of us, White, Black and Asian,and I truly believe that that was the day that we became a family - a family with a bond that has never been broken - the Aston Villa Family. We may argue and bitch and fight on the forums but we make up and forget the disagreements. We had a bond that to this day has and never will be broken.

We had the resurgence (albeit temporarily) - then we were relegated to the depths of the Third Division - but you know what - they were amongst the best times of being a Villa Fan. We could see the seeds being sown and the roots taking shape. We took thousands upon thousands to away games - to the point that opposing managers would comment they would not mind losing to Villa each week as long as we brought the fans along to create record crowds at small stadia all over England.

The Ron Saunders Era (one that may never have happened if Doug had won his call to become Chairman at that time - he did not want Ron). The league championship and European cup saw Aston Villa back where they belonged - at the very top.

At that time the "Revolution" was complete.

There are too many memories to go into so I will end with what this is all about.

I have approached Aston Villa and they have agreed (subject to getting a good number) that we may be able to get the use of a room on the day of the Man City game for a re-union of us "old farts". We will even be featured in a matchday program!.

So I would like to invite all those fans celebrating 50 years but also those celebrating a 20th, 30th 40th Anniversary to join us for a drink and to reminesce about the "good old days".

I am sorry for such a long and boring post and if you have not fallen asleep - THANK YOU ALL for reading this.

Naz

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The protests at VP in the 60's, Notts Couty in the 3rd, Clock End in 81, Rotterdam in 82, and VP in 2012! YEAH!

Yes Denis - all those events - momentous - and we are still here following our heroes. We will always be here long after players and chairmen go. Our spirits will be there and the next generation will carry on where we left off.

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Not too long at all Naz. Thanks for a great read and it brought back a lot of memories particulary as a lad when I walked as you did towards what was such an impressive stand that had history written all over it until a former chairman decided it needed to be torn down. By the way, we refer to the stand that faces it that was once the Witton Lane as the "Scottish" stand. For the same reason it is bad luck to mention the Scottish Play. :winkold:

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The get together is not just for us "Villa Old Farts" it is for anyone that wants to come and mingle and join in and talk and remin.. remun... remanes... remember the old times over a drink. I just need rough numbers - will update my PM email so you can let me know! It's not just for us oldies its for the whole Villa Family!!!!

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Hi Naz I am definitelty up for this - next year will be my 53rd annivesary!!!

How many you expecting? Be great to relive the "good ol' days"

Hi Mike - how you keeping mate?

Only ME so far (Johnny NoMates Me). Looks like it will be a cheap session for me!

Would be nice to get the old and not so old there to talk over the good old days!.

I have to let Villa know a soon as I can so they can arrange for either a room access to the Holte Pub (or some other suitable room).

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