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HELLO ALBERT, HELLO SPION KOP!
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HELLO ALBERT • ISSUE 27  

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Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire


ARCHAEOLOGY CORNER – RETURN TO VILLA PARK

Twenty-five years on from Chester’s most glorious league cup run City returned to the scene of their semi-final clash with Villa.

The two sides met in the same competition but at an earlier stage and with an even wider gap in status between them. Back in 1975 Villa were pressing for promotion back into the top flight and Chester were looking for their first ever promotion from the basement division. Both achieved league success at the end of the season and, touchingly, Villa fans sent a telegram to Chester congratulating them on their elevation – albeit by 0.04 of a goal (This was the sophisticated era of goal average). The bond between the two clubs was forged by the humdinger of a semi-final when Chester eventually succumbed by the odd goal in nine over two legs.

As we filed our way back to the special train on that January night twenty-five years ago, the sympathetic greetings of the Villa fans rang in our ears. They were mightily relieved to have defeated a highly competent Chester team.

This time round the tie was a less close run encounter but at least one Villa fan took the trouble to send an email message to an unofficial web-site congratulating City fans on their support through the evening. Even when we trailed by five goals to nil the Chester chants rang round the stadium

There were no special trains this time either but eight or nine coaches bringing Cestrians to the Midlands. The crowd of 22,613 was less than half the number who turned up a quarter of a century ago. Villa Park has seen considerable improvements in that time. I seem to remember that we stood in an unsegregated crowd on the open Witton End of the ground. City fans were housed at the same end this season – now all seater of course – sandwiched below a bank of executive boxes. A giant TV screen at the Holte End gave a running visual commentary on the game. Unfortunately there was no replay of Luke Beckett’s penalty kick to see who it was that encroached in the area – rumour had it that it was a Villa player anyway.

Hats off to the superb programme kiosk inside the ground which had a fabulous display of old Chester programmes. I’d never seen anything like it.

Despite the progess into a brave new era of all-seater stadiums, there were still thousands of fans queuing outside the ground when the match kicked off. Villa’s computer ticketing system could not cope with the amount of people who came down on the night because of the reduced prices. Even City fans had to queue at one window to get a ticket before queuing up again to get through the turnstile. What ever happened to cash turnstiles in the Premier League?

On the next page or so you will see some of the cartoons from my yellowing copy of the Sports Argus League Cup Semi-final Special (5p) which previewed Villa’s meeting with Chester.

Albert


ISSUE 27 Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
 
© 1997-2008 Steve Mansley | User Stats | Technical | Webmaster
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