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by John_Lerwill

Well, the question has been raised of why we should need to provide visible remembrance of our club's past. Well, to explain in full could take an entire thesis, but here's an attempt without going so far as a thesis. If your thinking differs, then I'd like to hear how your thinking differs.

When you go the grounds of Liverpool and Man U, there are the appropriate remembrances to Bill Shankly and Matt Busby - and why not? Those men - who, again, were Scots! - were worthy men who did a great deal for both their clubs and for football. But they were comparatively recent phenomena; why are there so few memorials to other great personages? The one other main memorial is to Herbert Chapman of Arsenal, I think. One day, there'll be one for Fergie also.

The serious question, though, is why are there no memorials to speak of covering the period before the 1930s? The truth is that in English football there were no other 'greats' to honour, expect perhaps Tom Watson, the old manager of Sunderland and Liverpool - and those at Aston Villa! For, from the 1880s up until the 1920s, it was Ramsay, Rinder, Grierson and McGregor who were the main builders of organised football in England, with the added help of great men such as J.J. Bentley, J. Campbell Orr, Charlie Crump and John Lewis (er, another John Lewis!). From 1893 in particular, it was the Villa (and the management team) that led the way; and how they led!

So, taking all that into account, I feel that our Villa Fathers deserve some real credit - and not just in dusty old history books. They should be visibly remembered as I see it. But, in my previous article I also mentioned Ron Saunders and Tony Barton. Those two did so much inside a decade for the club, and in such style, that clearly they should be up there for remembrance also.

Surely, it's not just a question of remembering the dim and distant past, but also the glorious and relatively recent past. And, when the time comes, perhaps we'll see current members of the club up there also.

But, talking of 'dusty old history books', it was that feeling I had that there's so much back in time that needs revealing that for the past 8 or 9 months I've been researching the past deeds of Villa, from their very earliest days, up until 1915. And that research will continue yet a few months before I publish. From what I've gleaned, I think there'll be many of you that will be glad to read more about the old famous names such as Archie Hunter, and how the Villa Lion came about etc. etc.

Up the Villa!

John Lerwill

My Villa History Website

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Would definatley like to see some memorials, there have been so many people at the club worthy of it. Also, i think those memorials at other grounds add to the whole atmosphere, ambience and general impression of 'greatness'. They make you aware that the club is something much bigger than just what it is now.

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Guest Lew_Chatterleys_Lover

You can't create folk heroes. They either are or they're not.

Some recognition to those pioneers is due no doubt - but not 'Shankly Gates' style.

And sorry to diss Tony Barton but he was just a decent backroom chap - never a manager

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I'd like to see a soviet style wall mural at Witton station, with the faces of Ramsay, Rinder, Grierson, McGregor, Saunders and Barton in a line just like the old USSR ones of Marx, Engels and Lenin. I think it would look really good and would "theme" Witton Station. After all, even Walsall F.C. have their "own" station, why can't we? The stadium looms large in the area and is the biggest presence at that station - it is impossible to kiss it.

A nice statue/memorial of the group would be nice too.

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I firmly believe we have every right to embrace the past of AVFC, which is unique.

I also believe a memorial in the form of a statue is lacking.

But I don't believe the two are necessarily conducive.

I still believe the best way that AVFC can show our earlier history is through a proper museum/hall of fame area. Preston's Museum for Football is an excellent example of what can be done. I have always wanted something along those lines at VP.

As for a statue, my preferred option is something that relates to the 1982 cup truimph. A simple but effective one for me is either Dennis Mortimer holding the Cup aloft or Ron Saunders. My personal preference is Dennis Mortimer holding the cup aloft.

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I firmly believe we have every right to embrace the past of AVFC, which is unique.

I also believe a memorial in the form of a statue is lacking.

But I don't believe the two are necessarily conducive.

I still believe the best way that AVFC can show our earlier history is through a proper museum/hall of fame area. Preston's Museum for Football is an excellent example of what can be done. I have always wanted something along those lines at VP.

As for a statue, my preferred option is something that relates to the 1982 cup truimph. A simple but effective one for me is either Dennis Mortimer holding the Cup aloft or Ron Saunders. My personal preference is Dennis Mortimer holding the cup aloft.

I think a museum is very apt, however there are already plans to build a hall of fame. I hope RAL hold forums with fans to decide what to put in it, and what to leave out (Doug Ellis).

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I firmly believe we have every right to embrace the past of AVFC, which is unique.

I also believe a memorial in the form of a statue is lacking.

But I don't believe the two are necessarily conducive.

I still believe the best way that AVFC can show our earlier history is through a proper museum/hall of fame area. Preston's Museum for Football is an excellent example of what can be done. I have always wanted something along those lines at VP.

That I believe is already in hand - at the Holte Hotel.

As for a statue, my preferred option is something that relates to the 1982 cup truimph. A simple but effective one for me is either Dennis Mortimer holding the Cup aloft or Ron Saunders. My personal preference is Dennis Mortimer holding the cup aloft.

That's an interesting choice. Though that particular captain and success is one that's very vivid, surely John Devey and the 'double' success of 1897 is equal to it, and Villa's 1887 first Cup success under Archie Hunter. Would 1982 be as relevant in another 50 or 100 years?

An interesting conundrum, and hence why I'd be looking more to have a visible memory of those that had a fundamental and long-lasting affect on the club. If you have enough money to throw around, then Hunter, Devey and Mortimer as well, by all means, but then you start thinking of Eric Houghton and Graham Taylor, and ...

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Villa was there at the start of it all as a result of some pioneers from the midlands.

Why there isn't a National memorial somewhere and not least at Villa Park is beyond me.

Only four English clubs have won the European Cup to date and Villa happens to be one of them!

Despite this fact I agree with John, why isn't there something more than just old history books? Living in the past is utter bullshit, the game of football in the UK is there not because of Man U or Chelsea or Liverpool or Arsenal. The League is what it is today as a result of the work by McGregor, Ramsay and Co.

Man U didn't become the club it is like Villa has, it was made famous by a tragic event.

Think about it, Chelski, Liverpool and Man U are generally disliked by everyone except their supporters. The same can't be said for Villa & Everton or Preston & Wolves.

Some trivia from the Wiki:

Aston Villa is one of an elite group of 7 clubs that has played in every Premiership season.

Aston Villa have scored more FA Cup goals than any other club.

Aston Villa have provided more England internationals than any other club, 63 to date.

Jozef Venglos became the first manager not from Britain or Ireland to take charge of a top-flight club in England. (Not Aston Villa surely)

Villa Park was the first English ground to stage international football in three different centuries.

And guess what a new era is now beginning for this great Club so the stats will keep growing. More League Cups and more FA cups. More Premierships, more goals and more International players.

Living in the past my ass... heres looking to the future and building on a great tradition. Villa Players should know what they are representing when they put the Claret & Blue on. Maybe a few Statues on the way to the hollowed ground might remind them who they are playing for.

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Do Villa own the "park" opposite the Witton Lane stand or is that owned by the council?

If we do own it, we could turn that into a garden of statues, with a nice walk through it

I'm sure the council if they own it would be amenable anyway what have they got to lose?

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:o

Glad to say I've this afternoon had an e-mail response from Steve Stride saying that he will put my comments to the "new Chairman". He copied the message to a couple of other high-flyers around RAL, so perhaps he's serious.

That doesn't mean it's a done deal, though!

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I wonder, I just wonder if with Ellis no longer in the driving seat the greatest manager this club ever had could be persuaded to come out of his seclusion and accept the love and gratitude that those of us who remember him would so much like to show him.

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:o

Glad to say I've this afternoon had an e-mail response from Steve Stride saying that he will put my comments to the "new Chairman". He copied the message to a couple of other high-flyers around RAL, so perhaps he's serious.

That doesn't mean it's a done deal, though!

good news John and do keep us informed, is it possible to reproduce the e-mail you sent ....

so that we can all sign up to it ??

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Ian - the e-mail I sent was essentially a crib from the previous Villa Talk posting I did about Lerner and the memorials, with a brief intro.

I think now it's probably best to see what action (if any) is taken. I'd like to see the formation of a "Friends of the Villa" association formed, composed of fans and RAL's representative(s) to discuss actual requirements and to discuss costs and how much RAL is willing to stump up.

How does that sound?

If we don't hear anything more, then perhaps we can talk about a petition on the lines you've suggested?

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with the added help of great men such as J.J. Bentley, J. Campbell Orr, Charlie Crump and John Lewis (er, another John Lewis!).

Thanks for the mention John, are you sure it's not me? I am getting on now.. :winkold:

Great news that the club is taking your suggestion forward in the past this would have been one for the waste paper basket whilst the former chairman waited for someone to suggest he have a statue made of himself. Still that is now in the past. We have a past and men from that past that I'm sure Randy and the new board will want to recognise and we also now have a future.

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Ian - the e-mail I sent was essentially a crib from the previous Villa Talk posting I did about Lerner and the memorials, with a brief intro.

I think now it's probably best to see what action (if any) is taken. I'd like to see the formation of a "Friends of the Villa" association formed, composed of fans and RAL's representative(s) to discuss actual requirements and to discuss costs and how much RAL is willing to stump up.

How does that sound?

If we don't hear anything more, then perhaps we can talk about a petition on the lines you've suggested?

John, I would not advocate a petition at all but to show Lerner and the guys there is a substantial support for your idea.

I like any body that gets the fans and club talking together and speaking about things off the field that can and should be improved, Friends of Villa sounds good to me.

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And sorry to diss Tony Barton but he was just a decent backroom chap - never a manager

:shock:

Tony Barton was instrumental in bringing in most of our signings during ron saunders

Tenure and had we been relegated when Tony Barton took over in the February( i think), would that have been Tony Bartons team or Ron Saunders team. I have the highest regard for both of them, but having had the pleasure of Tony's company one evening, the man was extremely knowledgeable about the game and a total Gentleman to boot.

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Personally I would like to see some sort of mural on the back of a redeveloped North Stand, encompassing iconic Villa images, such as DM raising the European Cup, JD receiving the FA Cup from the Queen.

Alternatively single, large images like the ones detailed outside the corners of the ground.

I find large images on the side of tall buildings extremely striking.

Presumably the cost could be tied in with a new kit sponsor?

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