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God Bless you Ernie Rogers


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By Richard

It was in the 1970's that I was to meet a man who was to have such a major impact on my life and change it forever.

Funny but neither of us really knew it at the time, he was just a mate really. Well if a kid can have a 50 yr old bloke as a mate. Especially one who was a customer in your Dad's pub.

My old man was a publican at the time you see and I used to mix with the blokes with the best of them. I think they used to like me because I was good with numbers and they needed someone to do the Darts marking.!

Anyway not long after moving into the pub I got to know Ernie, nice bloke who didn't talk to me like I was a kid but on equal footing.

"So which team do you support" he asked one day. Well that was a good question. My old man and his mate used to go to the Villa. My Dad's mate actually used to do Villa one week and sha the next as some did in the 50's it seems. My brother was a sha fan and my other brother used to float between Spurs and Villa when it came to subbuteo, not sure about the real thing. So it was no surprise that my answer was "Dont know"

Well this was like a red rag to a bull to Ernie. "Well you're a Villa fan now. In fact there's a match next week that you can come to, semi final of the league cup" We went and that was it.

So thanks a million Ernie. Not sure if you are still with us old lad as we lost touch, as often happens when you are in the pub trade. But that one cinversation had a mjor impact on my life

It led me to have some really brilliant times, so fun and enjoyable memories. Some gut wrenching ball ache timesof desperation as well but enough about Villatalk!

Point is I'll never forget why or how I am a Villa fan. What they stand for for me, why I support them. The friendship and togetherness you get as Villa fans. The ups and downs the turmoil and tumult you suffer and enjoy whilst following your beloved

I sometimes think all that gets forgotten in the passion of football.

It shouldn't, I know Ernie never forgot it

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Good read my friend.

My Grandad used to do the Villa/SHA switch, although he told me that he used to be willing the away side on at SHA. :)

He never really had a choice, as his Dad's brother (so that would be my great-great uncle) was a Villa player, so it was Villa all the way!

Play football in the morning, watch it in the afternoon, play again Sunday morning then again in the afternoon. In the summer he had a similar set-up with cricket.

What a dude my Grandad was!

Sorry for the :offtopic:, just would have been my Nan & Grandads 51st wedding anniversary today so my Grandad is on the brain, and that made him spring to mind...

But I digress... very enjoyable Richard, you should do some more front pagers fella!

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Nice article Richard.

My Ernie is a man called Tommy Powell. Tommy was a friend of the family and when my parents split, he made sure I was going to get a proper football education. My dad was a Wolves fan, but Tommy made sure I stayed on the straight and narrow.

Tales of Villa Park were music to a young boys ears, and this coupled with the packets of toffoes that came with them meant I would be transfixed whenever he visited.

Tommy loved his football and ran a team in Aston for a while that I think were called the Aston Celtics (or similar.)

Sadly Tommy passed away last year, but I still take the scarf he gave me 30 years ago to every game,and I know he'd have loved the way the clubs headed.

Let's hope that one day Richard, there will be Villa fans out there that remember us as fondly as we remember the men that helped us with our first footballing steps. I can think of no better legacy.

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