When Villa were Super…
There’s the old saying that it’s not where you’re from, but it’s where you’re at. Since Aston Villa’s ‘Bright Future’ seems to have been put on the back-burner for now, forgive us for looking at the ‘Proud History’ part of the Lerner administration’s mantra.
Last month was the 30th anniversary of Villa’s 1983 European Super Cup triumph when they beat Barcelona over two legs (3-1 aet), including a 3-0 second leg victory at Villa Park. Yes, that’s right young Villa fans, once upon a time, we beat Barcelona 3-0.
To belatedly honour the anniversary, as well as the highlights video below, we’ve scanned a few snippets of interest from the match day programme at Villa Park on Wednesday 26th January 1983.
A first point of interest is Villa manager at the time Tony Barton’s column in the match-day programme. It’s funny how the tables have turned in terms of the financial strengths of English teams compared to the European giants back then, although ironically, English teams have never dominated as much as they did back in the day.
Excerpt from Barton’s column:
“Although the crowd in Barcelona was low by their standards, it is significant to compare gate receipts. I imagine that they will make three times as much as Villa from their home leg of the Super Cup.
This is a valid point when looking at the achievements of English clubs in Europe. Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and, latterly, ourselves have won the European Cup over the last six years and others, like Ipswich Town and Tottenham Hotspur, have done well in other competitions.
Yet we do not compare in financial terms with a club like Barcelona, who, if they ever want to sign a player, can go out and spend £500,000 or even £ 1 m. That level is now beyond our clubs, and only the other day I saw that Bob Paisley, of Liverpool, was quoted as saying that £100,000 is hard to find these days.
Over the next five years, it’s likely that our clubs will find it more difficult to compete with the likes of Barcelona and Juventus. What has been achieved already has come with the financial odds stacked against us.
That’s why I believe it is a compliment to English clubs that we have matched them in performances and trophy-winning when they have so much more going for them. Their support is higher, their grounds, in general, are bigger and better, and accordingly, they can pay so much more in wages and transfer fees.
But rest assured, no-one in England is giving up the struggle and we hope to prove that tonight by rubbing out the deficit against Barcelona and winning the European Super Cup.’
While in light of 30 years of inflation, the late Bob Paisley could probably now ask Luis Suarez for a loan of his weekly wages to cover that hard to find £100,000, ticket prices have inflated accordingly, when you look (below) at the prices to see Villa play Juventus in the European Cup Quarter-finals. £2.50 to stand on the Holte? Yes, please. That Juventus team, with the likes of Boniek, Platini, Rossi, Gentile, Tardelli and Zoff, for my money, are one of the best teams to have ever visited Villa Park.
The sharp-eye reader will see on the left-hand side of the below picture that Deadly Doug was already taking precautions against rising inflation, by trying to get Villa supporters to work for him as ‘agents’!
While some supporters complain about Randy Lerner’s seemingly distant approach to running Villa, the Villa match day programme used to double-up as Ellis’s direct marketing mailer at times. In this Super Cup program there was two messages from the chairman. As well as the one above of him trying to enlist supporters to help him earn more corn, he also wanted them to save him a few bob too.
Reading Doug’s second message you’d be forgiven for imagining Villa and Blues fans were actually firing warhead missiles at each other. Maybe Doug was just getting dramatic as he was caught up with the backdrop of the Cold War and nuclear missiles at the time. Although by the sounds of it, that threat was nothing compared to the single toilet roll, which allegedly set Doug back £500.
If funny to look back at how times have changed, although Barton’s words still seem to echo true with Villa’s current plight in the Premiership. UTV
The Super Cup 2nd Leg Highlights
Ansells wishing Barca fans a warm welcome in the programme:
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