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Cavernous Kop, keeping right on, on wet
Tuesday nights in February. Ghosts of Hall
Down the flanks, memories of Merrick and
Hibbs, goalies of old in the royal Blue. So,
Remember that penguin kit – based on Ajax,
A seventies throwback worn by Superboy
Trev and big Bob Latchford – they reached
Two Cup semis in three years, not bad going.
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It was quite a trek to get there; down Digbeth,
Turn left and under the railway bridge. That long
Climb up the hill past food stands and programme
Sellers to the waiting gates, then a step back in time
To wide open terraces, a quirky big clock in the
Far corner and in the distance that Rotunda skyline.
Blues News in hand you shiver, as the play unfolds;
To and fro action from Railway End to the Tilton Road.
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Have to say it was a grim, but strangely endearing
Ground to visit – always filled by a loyal lot, their
Support way out of line with an endless lack of
Silverware. But they carried on singing that old
Lauder hymn of endurance and hope – a club of
Proud artisams to the aristocrats in Aston. Now,
They have Gold-en owners – St. Andrews almost
Rebuilt, but success still eludes the Brummie faithful.
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Vintage Claret and blue, an aristocracy of sorts
In the transitory world of football – Edwardian
Civic splendour in the shadow of Aston Old Hall,
A stadium worthy of the name, trophies adorned
The red brick edifice, but they gathered dust and
Cobwebs; Walker, Hardy, Barson, Waring – names
Redolent of a bygone era, and fallow years followed.
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Fifties failings, sixties shortcomings – still, there
Was always a Semi to bring in the pennies. Uncle
Joe went grey trying his best, Doog went bald of
His own accord; Despite the World coming in ’66,
The Villa Lion was not prepared for Tommy Doc
And Deadly Doug – then came ignomy in the Third.
Imagine Her Majesty moving into a semi-detached.
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But they rallied; forty eight thousand plus fanatics,
Rocking for a crunch match versus Bournemouth –
That’s support worthy of the name…so, the long road
Back began – Little, Gidman (both capped for England);
Graydon, Cumbes (the cricketing keeper)…Claret and
Blue to the fore again – two League Cup triumphs, then
A long-awaited title under Saunders, led by Mortimer.
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The crowning glory followed; Aston Villa, Division 3
To European Champions in ten years – hard to believe,
Then – and now; Ellis came back, and rolled on, and on.
Not a lot to shout about since, until the Yank and the
Prof arrived; now, Villa Park renewed; that Trinity Road
Facade no more, the Holte End seated, those ‘AV’ lights
Long gone. Tradition swept aside, but pride lives on…