Date:Thursday October 16 2008
Chix goes undercover to uncover some startling, not too politically correct, tongue-in-cheek facts about this week's opposition. Davilla
Earlier this week I glued on my false bushy eyebrows, placed my dark glasses firmly on my fake plastic nose, pulled up the collar of my raincoat, jumped on a train and took a wander around the Aston area of Birmingham in an attempt to dig up some unusual pieces of information about our forthcoming opponents Davilla.
Past Players & Violins
I must admit, prior to embarking on my walkabout I had very little information about Davilla other than; a list of players who had transferred between the clubs: Aspinall, Berger, Merson, Crouch, Stone, Whittingham etc. and the fact that they had that geeky looking, strange speaking, violin twiddling, Four Seasons type bloke, who is not Frankie Valli or Vivaldi, but whose name always escapes me, as their No.1 supporter. Luckily it didn`t take me long to dig up a few more 'interesting' snippets.
Did you know for example, that Aston Villa won the inaugural League Cup in 1961, beating Rotherham (yes, Rotherham) 3-2 on aggregate in a mid-week, two-legged, floodlit final ? I'm not sure how many teams entered the competition but it surely could not have been many … Rotherham, I ask you ! No wonder Davilla fans don't shout about that success as much as their famously boring European Cup triumph
European Cup or Bargain Bucket?
Talking of the famously boring European Cup (I feel I have to before they do) I think we can safely claim that had it not been for the influence of a couple of Pompey old boys Davilla may have never had won the blessed trophy. It all started back in 1973 when ex-Pompey goal scoring supremo Colonel Ron Saunders was appointed manager of a declining Davilla side, but within three and a half years 'Old Misery Guts' had taken them back to the top flight and secured European football. The Colonel even took them to the last of their seven (yes seven .. now that's some haul) league titles in 1980/81 but surprisingly, after a fall out with the Chairman, quit midway through the following season. At the time, Davilla were only two 'finger-lickin' games away from that appearance in the European Cup Final.
Enter another Pompey old-boy Tony 'Dick' Barton. Famous for being Pompey's first ever substitute, Barton took the reigns and guided Davilla to a trophy securing 1-0 victory over Rotherham in Munich (Or was it Munich in Rotterdam?). To this day, thanks in part to a fluffed penalty by 'arry's Nephew Frank, Davilla remain one of only four English teams to have lifted the famously boring trophy. Oddly enough is a fact which any Villa fan will happily tell you within five minutes of meeting them.
Who are ya ?
Anyway, back to my snippets. I had always jest that Aston Villa FC must have acquired their name from some kind of building, a couple of rungs down on the property ladder from Crystal Palace perhaps. Well as it transpires I was actually not that far out. The 'Villa' part of their name originates from a Chapel, 'The Villa Cross'. The 'Aston' part stems from the area where the Chapel is situated (funny that!). I'm still trying to find out what the 'FC' stands for so if anybody has any ideas please mail me!
I Name This Ship
Now here`s an interesting fact. I'll wager you didn't know that in the 1930's Aston Villa had a ship named after them. No it wasn't 'HMS Relegation' or 'HMS Leaky Defence' (Villa were notoriously poor in the '30's) and in truth it wasn't really a ship. It was actually a trawler (not much bigger than Sea-Juicers I'm told) but all the same it was requisitioned by the Royal Navy no less, for use as an anti-submarine vessel in the war. Now I'm no Wartime Historian or Professor of Warfare Techniques but a trawler versus a submarine, that's hardly a fair fight surely. Makes you wonder how our Fathers and Grandfathers won the war doesn't it - Votch out Fritz, zhey hav ein trawler !
Two Shillings, Two Bob, 10p? - Worthless!
In case you've forgotten, I should mention at this juncture that Davilla won the European Cup in 1982 and indeed lifted the Super Cup the year after, but how many of you knew that they also won the Inter-Two-bob Cup in 2002 beating FC Basle 5-2 on aggregate in the final. Apparently Rotherham didn't enter the competition that particular year - Villa fans must've been well relieved.
Pick of the Pops
Another strange fact about Davilla is that unlike the Manchester United's, Chelsea's Leeds and Spurs of this world they can't claim to have had a No.1 record in what my Granny used to call the Hit Parade, But… Aston Villa can actually go one better as they have a band named after them! Yep Aston Villa is a French 'pop' band named after the club. If you get five minutes download their album Strange Marginal, it's well worth a listen, or so I'm told!
A Worthy Cause
A more up to date fact is that Davilla do not have a commercial kit sponsor this season. Instead they advertise the charity 'Acorns Children's Hospice' across their shirts, which all joking and banter aside, is a nice touch which I think they should be applauded for. Let's hope that other premiership clubs follow their lead and advertise 'more worthy' organisations across their chest.
Who Do You Think You Are Kidding?
My final snippet this week involves a hit TV Series. Who remembers Dads Army ? (The logo of which we nicked for our European Tour T-Shirts). Well, for those that do you will no doubt also remember 'Pike' whose role was played by Ian Lavender (later to become Pauline Fowlers live in grey-haired gay lover type bloke thing in Eastenders). Anyway the story goes that when filming began Lavender was allowed to choose Pike's scarf from the BBC wardrobe. Apparently he chose the now infamous claret and blue one as he was a Villa fan.. Stupid Boy!
Well, that's you lot for this article, there's an interview about the life and times of being a Davilla fan with 'The Fear' (leader of the notorious 'Vital Villains') to come in the next day or so but in the meantime I'm off to the City of Liverpool to see what I can dig up ahead of our next away match … Maybe I`ll try and get myself a new stereo while I'm there ! ….Calm down, calm down.. I'm only joking…. I know they're not NEW !
Date:Thursday October 16 2008
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