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Millwall v Villa in the FA Cup 1986 and Paul Birch


mervpayne
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Hello, I'm a Millwall supporter (not the most inviting of introductions I admit). I write the occasional article for Sabotage Times (there's a link below) and I'm currently doing a piece about a particular night in the FA Cup back in 1986.

Millwall, then a struggling second division side, drew Villa in the FA Cup 4th Round, we somehow managed to get a draw at Villa Park and the replay at The Den ended up going down in Millwall fan folklore, not because of a famous night of cup giantkilling, but because of the stick dished out to the late Paul Birch.

For those of you that weren't there, it started as nothing more than a few silly wolf whistles, brought on by Birch's trademark blonde locks, but escalated to such an extent that Graham Turner eventually subbed him.

If you were there I was hoping you might be able to provide a few memories of the night from a Villa perspective as well as some stuff about Birch.

Obviously it goes without saying that the piece will be respectful to Birch as I know he remains something of a Villa legend. In a perverse way, the way he took the stick he got that night endeared him to Millwall fans too.

Somehow I can't quite see there being the same magic on Friday night the (new) Den as was experienced back then in the old one but I'd really like to relive the match, the atmosphere and provide a Villa fan's angle too.

Here's some of the other stuff I've written for ST: http://www.sabotagetimes.com/author/merv-payne/

Hope that's OK - oh, and good luck against Bradford.

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Hello again, I'm probably even less welcome on here now than I was last week(!)

 

However, I wanted to share the article I wrote for Sabotage Times about the last time Villa travelled to Millwall for an FA Cup tie.

 

In the pre-sanitised, pre-Premier League days when we somehow scraped by without Twitter and mobile phones, a legend was created at The (old) Den, not just in terms of a great night of giantkilling and the indominatable twelfth man's influence on the atmosphere, but for the way the target of the home fans' humour took it on the chin and attained his very own cult status every bit as admired by Millwall supporters who were there that night back in 1986 as the great occasion itself.

 

I hope you enjoy it, and I (genuinely) hope you stay up this season:

 

http://www.sabotagetimes.com/football/millwall-remembering-aston-villas-paul-birch-and-his-shirley-temple-blonde-locks/

 

Cheers,

 

Merv Payne

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