The end of another fotball season !!!!!

It’s happened again the football season for Non League clubs looks to have been brought to an abrupt end due to the pandemic.

All eyes were on the votes in the National League as to wether to continue which needed to be cast by the end of February. The League management have declared the result early because enough votes have been cast to give a result. This is before the Governments published road map to recovery due today which may have had some bearing on what would be the best course of action.

National League clubs continued playing with no supporters in the grounds after receiving government grants for a three months period. There are no longer any more grants but loans which the Government says was always the case but many clubs saying this is not how the future would be as communicated by the National League. This has meant a great deal of debate and angst amongst clubs whose articles of association would forbid them from puting their clubs at risk of financial risk. This impasse lead to the votes:

Resolution 1 that each step decides its own future was passed by 46 to 18 votes (National League 21 for 0 against, National League North 16 for 6 against, National League South 9 for 12 against). Resolution 2 that the National League (Step 1 Only) should declare the season null and void, 7 for 13 against. This resolution was defeated meaning the Step 1 National League would continue. Resolution 3 that the National League North & South would declare the season null and void. This resolution was approved by National League North 15 for 7 against and the National League South 9 for 12 against, a combined vote of 24 for and 19 against.

So in essence the National League Step 1 will continue but the national leagues North and South will cease.

However there may be more twists and turns:

18 Step 2 National League Clubs have signed a joint letter to appeal the decission and ask that the League explores ways to continue.

Some step 1 National League clubs have said they will continue playing but with `youth` team players because they have furloughed their senior playing staff. This ruins the integrity of the league results and has little consequence for clubs doing this as there is now no relegation to the step 2 leagues, North & South.

Mutterings from the EFL are saying that they will not need relegation from their Leagues to the National League because they are not having relegation from theirs.

Today , February 22nd 2021 Vacvcines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said “Outdoor sports – tennis, golf, outdoor organised team sports, grassroots football – will be back on 29th March.

Some club Chairs are stating they may ask for a judical ruling on all that has happened via the courts.

Lower step clubs still haven’t finalised their possition.

In essence what a mess. I feel that it shows that one of my own pet soapbox possitions is vindicated when I feel that the league structure below the EFL should be run by smaller groups that reflect their region and teams. Yes we need a pyramid system but one that is from the ground upwards rather than top down. The move to restructure the League again and increase the power of The Northern Premier League at the expence of the locally run Northern League will only increase the alienation felt by local communities.

The Turning Season


Written byMichael Wragg

Published by Pitch Publishing 2020

This is a great read in that it captures you in a journey back to the breaking up of the wall and frontier between the two Germany’s through the 14 football clubs that made up the then DDR-Obeliga. It then whisks you forward to tody and where those teams now fit into a unified German football system.

It is not just about football as it also charts what has happened to the towns, fans and players in the intevening years. It is sad to see that like in some British cities the de-industrialisation has meant a drift to more affluent areas and a feeling of left behind. However the left behind has some times meant new horizons or a longing for the past.

Michael Wragg gets across his own emotions in visiting the 14 grounds and the changes he sees. Of the 14 teams that were in the top East German League none are now in the top Bundeliga, 2 are in the second tier, 5 the third, 5 the fourth, 1 the sixth and 1 as low as the seventh tier. The crowds have also dwindled and the grounds have in some cases fallen away.

This book is a really easy read and when you get to the end you are sad that you have finished it, which tells me it was good.

Thank you Michael I will look out for your next journey.

My Football Food

Talking to my son recently we were reflecting on the snacks we have had together at football matches. It made me look back all those that have stuck with me.

My first memory of food at a football match takes me back to winter matches in the 1950’s when my Dad and I would visit a news agent/ tobacconist in St Peter’s Street, St Albans on our way to Clarence Park to see St Albans City. He would buy a quarter of winter mixture, stored in a glass jar and shovelled into a paper bag. I am still not convinced that I ever liked them but a sweet was a sweet. The black and white one’s were like humbugs and had a minty/menthol taste but the others were strong in taste of which I am still not sure of. These along with warming exercises seemed to do little to stem the bitter cold of the terraces. For some reason on the internet these are also called Yorkshire mix.

Wagon Wheels and Blue Riband biscuits with stewed tea come to mind on a cold January 10th 1959 for an FA Amateur Cup game between Vauxhall Motors (Luton) and Hendon. Hendon won 3-1 but there were other highlights. My father worked in the canteen at Vauxhall and we went early to prepare food for the game. After eating an amazing Telfers steak and kidney pie my father drove a Bedford CA van with sliding cab doors (I’m sure a feature a lot of delivery drivers would love today) to the match. It was also amazing because my Dad didn’t drive but most of the journey was within the factory grounds and only a short way on the road. The van was carrying tea urns and boxes of Blue Ribands and Wagon wheels.

At the ground a counter was made of bales of hay, those left over from covering pitch areas against the frost. Tea from urns always tasted stewed as it had milk added to it when made. The Wagon Wheel and Blue Riband masked the taste.

100+ Old Chocolate Bars ideas | retro sweets, old sweets, vintage sweets

The next memorable food that comes to mind was turkey sandwiches at a Tottenham v Chelsea match on December 30th 1961. Staying in North London I attended some Arsenal home games and stood on the the North Bank in my early teens and remembered the joys of Percy Dalton’s roasted peanuts. The peanut seller outside the ground was part of the show shouting ‘Peanuts, roasted peanuts, get your roasted peanuts,’ at the top of his voice. The mess left on the terrace after everyone had eaten them was horrendous and clubs today must be thankful this trend has gone by the wayside. To my surprise some years later a roasted peanut seller turned up at Villa Park and my son and I devoured them but on leaving realised the mess we had made. The seller never returned and I’m sure the fans who sat infront of us were pleased too because they were covered in nut husk dandruff where we had opened them.

Date unknown (the photo looks postwar).... - Born in the 40's, grew up in  the 50's, started a family in the 60's. | Facebook

Skip forward to the 70’s and like many others I remember the boiled burgers and onions served on a dry bun that was served at most grounds. Thank heavens we have moved on from such appalling food.

November 1975 and an evening game at Northampton saw my first wife collect me from work at Luton and we drove to Northampton. She had cooked burgers and chips at home and wrapped them in to foil and towels so when we ate them they were great.

Into the 80’s and the 1984 FA Cup final between Everton and Watford and I had joined the prawn sandwich brigade at the old Wembley Stadium. I hosted a table for work, eating a meal just prior to the match and watching the game from the box. The experience was downgraded by Watford’s defeat.

For the next nearly 20 years it was home and some away Aston Villa games. Lunch before the game was hot tomato soup from a flask with soft white rolls filled with deli counter luncheon meat, often Billy Bear embossed from Kwik Save. It was the enormous amounts of sweets that my son blames me for inducing a habit that makes him buy sweets at every petrol station he stops at and have contributed to his few extra pounds. At first it was Mars bars that being one of the first in to the standing only Holte End he was able to queue up to buy.

We moved on to Opal fruits, a bag of mis-shapes again from Kwik Save, Liquorice Allsorts, Wine gums and finally became avid M&M consumers, not all at the same match. But occasionally there would be food promotions at the game, Villa were sponsored my Muller for a time and we were all treated to Muller corners or two. The give away I remember best were curry flavoured Twiglets which I think was a new range? Having dashed to to Villa straight from work with no food I had more than one packet, only small ones but totally over faced myself, thank heavens I have never seen the flavour again.

But on evening games if not in a rush we would get a portion of chips and a pea cluster from a chip shop in Duston, Northampton, scrummy. If you have time visiting Villa Park the Villa Chippy on Manor Road is a well priced good quality offer which you will have to queue for and that tells all.

Villa Chippy - Fish And Chips Takeaway

More recently I have given up the sweets and instead had chips at the grounds visited, for research reason only for my chip league.

One interesting experience was a trip to Forest Green which only sells vegan food and I have to say the pie and chips were very good and an introduction to oaty milk was a pleasing surprise.

It was a complete opposite to being invited to Manchester City where the pre match buffet was an amazing spread in sumptuous modern surroundings.

My favourite football foods in the last 3 years have been at the kiosk at Crook Town (Only food and Sauces), the chips at Shirebrook Town (Winners of my chip League two years running), the Chip Bar at FC United (Mr Chips), the display of sauces at Halifax and hot pork pie and mushy peas at Pennistone Church. It’s not just about the football.

I also loved the photo of Chips at a French league ground.

Working Class Heroes

Working Class Heroes – The Story of Rayo Vallecano Madrid’s Forgotten Team

Written by Robbie Dunne

Published by Pitch Publishing2017

Robbie Dunne moved to Spain in 2016 following a Spanish girlfriend. As an avid sports fan and with an appetite to travel he found that a fascination with one of Madrid’s other teams Rayo Vallecano enabled him to immerse himself in the language and culture. He produced the book about the club that he strung together around their 2016/17 seasons games and has fashioned a career as a sports journalist.

Having been relegated the season before from La Liga there was great expectancy that they may swiftly return. On field troubles with players, three manager in the season and with a vociferous campaign against the owners it all goes badly wrong until rescued at the end.

That is the background story as Robbie tells a story of a club from Vallecas the last real Barrio in Madrid that holds on tenaciously to its working class heritage. The area was subsumed by Greater Madrid in 1950 but has resisted the gentrification that has gone on elsewhere.

Rayo Vallecano were formed in May 1929, and are known for its many ups and downs in the Spanish League system having been in La Liga a few times but mostly in the Segunda Division. It’s arguably best times were finishing 9th in the top league in the 1999/00 season qualifying for the UEFA cup through the Fair Play League. They did magnificently reaching the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup and as always with a limited budget but some inspired low price signings and loans.

Rayo’s working class credentials comes from the area but is also from a section of the fans called the Bukaneros who often display anti fascist, racism and the commercialisation of football banners and songs at games. There have also been players who have identified with the area and its working class struggle.

An example of the clubs social awareness was in 2014 when the Manager, Paco Jemez and the team hearing of the plight of a local 85 year old woman being evicted from her house clubbed together to ensure that the bailiffs did not evict her and covered her housing costs for the rest of her life.

During the time that Robbie Dunne was writing the book the Rayo management signed Roman Zozulya who lasted only one training session because of his alleged political views. I have used a piece from ‘Football Espana’ that I have highlighted in blue to explain much better than I could.

History between Rayo and Zozulya

Zozulya and Rayo Vallecano have history – the player was briefly on the books at Rayo in January 2017, when he lasted just half a training session before fans made it abundantly clear he was not welcome at the club. They attended the training session he took part in, and displayed a banner outlining that “Vallecas is no place for Nazis.” Very shortly after, the loan deal was terminated.

The fans at Rayo are proudly and strongly left-wing, and promote anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-homophobic, and anti-misogynistic values. When their club signed the attacker on loan in January 2017, the idea of seeing a person they believed to harbour far-right views wear the famous red sash jersey of Rayo was simply unacceptable.

In the build-up to the announcement of the signing, fans researched the background of the player, and found an abundance of evidence that links him with the far-right paramilitary organisation Azov Battalion in his native Ukraine. There are also many photographs of the player posing with Nazi, fascist, and white supremacy symbols and figures. Shortly after the incident gained national headlines, Rayo fans published a nine-page dossier on the historical ties between Zozulya and far-right groups and organisations, to explain to the world exactly the reasons behind their rejection of this signing. For his part, Zozulya completely denies the accusation he is a Nazi, and explains his political leanings and past involvement with paramilitary organisations as solely “patriotic.”

This was a Christmas present and a good one although I found reading it at night and trying to absorb all of the Spanish names a challenge. As yet Robbie Dunne has not published a further book, I am looking out for it.

GINGA – The Soul of Brazilian Football

GINGA – The Soul of Brazilian Football

DVD format released by Mr Bongo Essential World Football, 2014

Produced by Fernando Meirelles 

Directed by Marcelo Machado, Hank Levine and Tocha Alves.

Yes a DVD!, I have been saving them for some bad weather days when there would be no football and they have come in useful in these depressing times. As like so many of my book reviews they are charity Shop finds for anywhere up to £1, this one 20p.


This is a documentary about why Brazilian Football is regarded as one of the best and most fluent in the world. Seven young footballers from all over the country, from diverse social, gender, disability and ethnic back grounds are followed as they try to use their amazing skills to break into football at the highest level. Some express a view about Ginga that it is the, rhythm, music and movement that gives them an indefinable quality to be able to take technique with the ball and movement of their body to a level that is difficult for others to contend with. One person even proposes that it is now within the Brazilian DNA.

Certainly the ball control skill shown is breath-taking not least by the two females that take part.

But the undoubted ball skills are not enough as a coach in Sao Paolo says that technique is 30% but strength is 70%.

All of those who are followed seem desperate and driven to succeed and are fully supported by their families. More than once it’s said that they want to be successful to provide for their family which may be as big a factor as Ginga. Games are played on the beach, in the street, on waste land or in homes but most striking is ‘Court Football’. Court football is played inside in Brazil and there are leagues for all ages and genders everywhere. Leagues start at an early age up to senior level where you can earn a living. Because of the smaller size of pitch, ball control and quick decision making are needed to shine. I would suggest that these two factors go hand in hand with Ginga to fashion the outstanding players and teams that have thrilled the world.

The DVD is in Portuguese with sub titles, changes shot very quickly and has a continual music background that does make it hard to follow. No substitute for a real game but worthwhile viewing.

BOBBY ROBSON-more than a Manager

Bobby Robson; More than a Manager

Presented by NoahX, a Noah Media Group Production.

Written by Gabriel Clarke, Produced by Torquil Jones, John McKenna, Victoria Harrell

Released 4th June 2018

This British film documentary is a sympathetical commentary on a man Gary Lineka says was “the best English Manager of all time” and who would argue against that. It is superbly put together and captures your attention.

Although the film starts with the diagnosis and subsequent surgery for cancer in 1995 and Bobby Robson’s time as Manager of Barcelona it flashes back and forwards to highlight his playing, managerial and fund raising career.

Born in County Durham in 1933 he remained faithful to his roots and stayed anchored to the area until his death in in 2009.

It is a poignant but heart warming film for such dire times. Bobby Robsons humanity, drive, passion, integrity, dignity, honesty and love of football shine through and is honoured by the people he was close to.

Alan Shearer, “He saved my career.”

Pep Guardiolo, “After working with Bobby I wanted to be a manager”. He also wrote to Bobby offering to come and help him at Newcastle. “Nicest person he met in his life.”

Jose Mourinho (who worked as his assistant at Barcelona) talking of Bobby. “a man only dies when the last man who knows him dies.”

Ronaldo said, “I had a lot more to learn from him”, when Barca sold me to Inter Milan. Ronaldo loved Bobby because he trusted him to just go and play and bought him when young, risking his own career.

Terry Butcher, ” I’d go through hell and high water for him.”

Paul Gascoigne and Bobby Robson had a special relationship and it was Bobby who said of Gascoigne that he was “Daft as a Brush”. Gascoigne said of Bobby he was ” On a par with Mohamed Ali in football terms.”

Alex Ferguson, “Helped me when I was a young coach”.

Such comments by football people of the highest calibre say it all.

When you see his achievements, played for England, Managed Ipswich to European glory, England to a world Cup semi final, PSV to cup and league high spots, managed two teams in Potugal, Barcelona to a trebble and revitslised Newcastle you realise he was special.

Watch this film for motivation but be prepared to have a pack of tissues at hand and remember he always said, “Believe in yourself.”

They think It’s all over 2

I wrote a post on 28th March last year titled “They think It’s all over” which confirmed that all results for step three football leagues and below were to be expunged and unfortunately we are close to that again 10 months later.

The F A have confirmed that all step three and below league results for the 2019/20 season have been expunged. This followed a lot of media quotes from league and club officials who could not see a way to finish the season within time and financial constraints and the ethical position of the need to put all resources and time in fighting the pandemic. This is sad for teams like South Liverpool, Vauxhall Motors, Jersey Bulls, South Shields and others but these are difficult times.

With the Covid pandemic sadly still with us causing personal and economic tragedy and a national lockdown until mid February and most probably beyond, or replaced by a tier system, it has meant there has been little or no Non League step 3 and below games since mid December. With fewer than programmed games completed and none planned it looks impossible again to complete the season and all leagues and county associations are contacting clubs for their views although the organisers of the leagues just below the national leagues have stated their position that the season cannot be completed.

Football in general faces lots of issues that will be faced in 2021. Premier league media rights for 2022 to 2025 will be finalised this year and as so thoughtfully discussed by John Nicholson in his book ‘Can we have our football back’, there could be a reduction in bidding. This may well again lead to the super six looking for their own media rights deal or the often floated European League.

If fixtures are again ended and the F.A. do not implement their structural reforms, which should have been in place this season, will those league administrators of Leagues that were to be disbanded who agreed to continue for this season do it again for another year.

Is the public falling out of love with football, televised games are often sterile, the attempt to get extra income from fans to be able to stream their team only created resentment and anger.

Have a new generation been further inveigled by the games industry and not football. Has the game shown the wrong image during the pandemic.

Players have flouted Covid restriction rules, teams have gone away to Dubai, players continue group celebrations and fixtures are disrupted due to Covid outbreaks in squads.

There have been some positives to counter this, Marcus Rashford’s campaigns to counter child poverty a shining example.

The weekends F.A. cup tie round produced some high points, Aston Villa’s Louie Barry grabbing an accomplished equaliser for their youth team against a strong Liverpool before being overwhelmed, Crawley Town’s magnificent 3 nil win over Leeds, Jose Mourinho not devaluing the Cup by puting a very strong team out against the Marine minnows and Chorley defeating a Covid ravaged Derby County.

The big issue though is will all football clubs survive and a recent article by Simon Stone on the BBC Sport website gave an inside view, We cannot afford to lose a part of our community that ties us together and for many improves general welfare both physically and mentally.

Finally a report from the Derbyshire Times (Chesterfield), about a man being issued a Covid 19 penalty ticket and given a strong warning after being stopped in Lincolnshire and explaining that he had left his house the previous day and was touring football grounds.

payonthegate 2021

looking forward to 2021

Having reached my 150th blog in just over two years and slowly seen the number of people who read them grow from all over the world it’s a good time to reflect and look forward.

I have enjoyed passing on my current football experiences and sometimes looking back to explain what has moved me to be curious about football. What surprises and excites me is that it is not just a match that gains my interest but the journey of the club, its ground, players current and past, facilities and fans. Those who have read my match reports will know that I also have an interest in the chips which is a different angle on football ground food rather than pies which have had millions of words written about them. I have been contemplating also writing about tomato soup as this was the mainstay food for my son and I to eat with white bread rolls filled with luncheon meat before a Villa game. We did this for nearly 15 years (10 as season ticket holders) in the Holte End. This was brought back into focus as for a pre Christmas present my daughter presented me with a cache of different branded and supermarket tinned tomato soup. So far working through them I am impressed with Morrison’s value range. If I start to include tomato soup as well chips it will become a food blog rather than a football one.

So looking forward to 2021 the world is holding its breath hoping that the vaccines now becoming available world wide will stem the Covid 19 pandemic and reduce the disheartening death toll.

I cannot get entrance to watch a game at the moment which could last for a few months and expect the season, especially for Non League clubs to be extended to fulfil all of the fixtures.

Luckily I have built up a horde of football books and films to read and watch to sustain my passion along with a few televised games.

An entrance to a new world.

I look forward to creating more blogs in the coming year. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope you all stay well and achieve your own goals.

Festive Football

With having to self isolate due to a case of Covid in the family there was no festive football for me this year although with the tier restrictions it would have been difficult.

In the last few years I have seen the Boxing Day derbies between Buxton and Matlock, always a hard fought game with a good crowd and friendly banter.


Boxing Day derby between Matlock and Buxton 2019 with Ryber Castle looming out of the mist.

The first festive football match I really remember was Tottenham v Chelsea December 30th 1961.

Using a rover ticket with my Dad we took the number 84 from St Albans bus station to Arnos Grove and from there other buses to White Heart Lane Tottenham. What I remember as a 11 year old were the turkey sandwiches we had and being bought some blue stars with the pictures of Chelsea players in them. My particular favourite was Bobby Tambling but it ended in a 5-2 defeat. My Dad had watched Chelsea when he had worked in London and always retained an interest in their results. I also remember games being played on Christmas day which often seemed to end in some high and unpredictable scores.

One unusual match I attended was on Christmas Eve 1979 when Portsmouth played Wimbledon in a FA Cup second round replay at Fratton Park. The game ended 3-3 after extra time with Portsmouth going on to win the second replay at Wimbledon. It was unusual for a match to be played on Christmas Eve and the 7.30 kick off was queried in the local press with fans from the Isle of Wight having to leave early to catch the last ferry back to the island or miss Christmas Day. For me it seemed like a great start to Christmas.

A few years later I attended Luton v Watford on Boxing Day (26th December) 1986 when Watford won 2 nil. The interesting thing here was it was the first match I had taken my son to but he only lasted till half time and we spent the second half on the top floor of a multi storey car park with him on my lap steering the car around for amusement while I drove until his Grandfather met us from the game.

It would be a shame if these fixtures are eventually stopped for a mid season break or to give the players more rest time between games. If you research some of the highlights of games at this time of year you will find a great depth in iconic moments.

The one most written about is the football match between the trenches of the Germans and English at the first Christmas of the 1914-18 war. I was reminded of it again this year through a Christmas card that was sent to us. Whether it ever happened or not, it was a fact that at certain areas along the lines of conflict soldiers of both sides wanted to mark the time of year and demonstrate their friendship for each other in contrast to those who wanted the war.  


An amazing game took place on Boxing Day 1920 at Goodison park where circa. 53000 fans attended a women’s football match between Dick Kerr Ladies and Preston Rangers. This friendly was to raise money for wounded soldiers but was not unusual for women’s football to get such great attendances as their football had become very popular during the war. It has been thought for some time that the popularity was seen as a threat to the men’s game that was just getting going again and the FA banned women the following December supposedly because the game was “quite unsuitable for females”.

The women’s game also features in another key Boxing Day match when in 1917 a game was played on that day in Belfast between teams from England and Ireland. The crowd here was an amazing 20000 but because it was not recognised by the official governing body.

My final festive football thoughts go to those fans in Bury who are strongly reviving football in that town and I hope Bury AFC manage to gain promotion this year. They can look back and dream of some time soon repeating their 1925 exploits when they beat Manchester City 6-5 at home on Christmas Day and won the reverse fixture 2-0 at Maine Road the day after (Boxing Day).

Lastly from a Christmas cracker this year: ‘How do you keep cool at a football match — Stand next to a fan.

Lets hope we all have a much happier 2021 and we can look forward to the 2021/22 season having few if any restrictions.

‘A Lover’s Guide to Football Shirts’

‘A Lover’s Guide to Football Shirts’ Written by Neal Heard

Published by ‘A Lovers Guide Publishing’ 2016


This was again a Charity Shop find and what a find. Neal Heard has put together a book about football shirts that was 25 years in the making in his head. He had intended to write a book about the development and history of football shirts back to footballs inception but it has turned out to be his personal view of a subject he feels passionate about. It starts in the mid 1960’s when he explains that the viewing of football became a worldwide phenonium due to more televised games even if some were in black and white.

It is fascinating how the sports brands took over football shirts and tried for domination through changing styles, designs and the use of their own name and logo’s to further this cause. From the clubs getting income from the shirt brands came the bigger income stream of sponsorship on shirts. Football shirts have also been used to push political allegiances but the thing that came through to me was the designs that represented the times in which they were worn. Some have become iconic and hugely collectable and Neal points out that this is sometimes not due to the shirt but a specific game, season or individual.

Neal has also written a new book on shirts in 2017 and had previously published ‘Trainers’ in 2003.

Neal is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable people on football design and culture and is best described by himself on his Twitter feed.

“Brand Consultant – Pop Culture Historian – Author of: Trainers’ & ‘The Football Shirts Book – A Connoisseurs Guide’ – I’m not as boring as I make myself sound.”

To pick the best ever football shirts is all very subjective and everyone will have their own favourites often on partisan lines depending on who they support. The book made me think what my three favourites are and I have chosen the following.

No.1 Juventus 

I perhaps should have chosen Real Madrid’s all white strip of the 1960’s but to me the Juventus strip was top. This non branded, non logoed shirt states that they are Italian and the vertical stripes gave their players stature that reflected their no nonsense style of play. To me this says we are who we are.

No2 Huddersfield Town FC away kit !991/92

Huddersfield Town 1991/92 away strip is in Neal’s book. It just says to me flair, different, lets just be fun. Also worn in Disco’s of the time.

Classic Football Shirts | 1991 Huddersfield Town Old Vintage Soccer Jerseys

No 3 Aston Villa home and away kit 1993/94

Excuse me an indulgence in picking a season for my third choice Aston Villa’s 1993/94 season of which the black red and green one was my favourite. The claret and blue one will be remembered for Villa’s 3-1 League cup final win over Manchester United and the amazing semi final two legged 4-4 draw and a victory through penalties. The Villa fans at Wembley were in good spirits and put their more fancied rivals in the shade, this was brought to a higher level when they noticed Gary Shaw sitting amongst them just two rows down from me. As Gary Gary Shaw rang out he stood and waved to his adoring fans and all seemed good. Villa never looked back as the silky smooth Dalian Atkinson loped through on the right for the lead.

For me the most memorable part of the game was with the final whistle a bunch of jubilant fans went off on a Conga but with my ten year old son on one of their shoulders. My fear of how I would explain that I had lost her son to my separated wife was banished when in great spirits they returned him some minutes later.

Aston Villa 1994 Shirt | eBay
Aston Villa 1994 Away shirt | Aston Villa FC Retro Jersey | Score Draw

Great book Neal, great memories.