Some things just stick in your mind; going down the Witton End with my dad is one. Harry Parks, Johnny Dixon, Charlie Aitkin and Bovril. I was so impatient to get to the match back then that sometimes I would go on my own an hour early. I’d run all the way from the Beeches Estate. Claret and blue scarves.
After the match dad and me would go to my Gran’s house in Perry Barr and listen to Sports Report on the wireless. 1500m LW at 5 o’clock; always the same intro “Out of the Blue”, the familiar voices: Raymond Glendenning, Eamonn Andrews, John Webster.
I remember the away matches in the old third division. We were like an invading army, completely swamping some of the smaller grounds: Shrewsbury Town, Walsall, Swansea, Notts County – where we kicked the back of the stand out. Pele. I once went to an away match at Leicester and watched Chris Nichol play a two all draw with himself.
When Ron Saunders left Villa to go to Small Heath I’d been in Spain for several months and didn’t know about it. I got back and was walking up Corporation Street and I saw a paper sellers A-board poster screaming about Saunders doing some transfer business for the Blues.
I remember laughing to myself at their mistake - laughing that is until I read the report in the Mail. I couldn’t believe it; the man was a legend. Rumour had it that Ellis couldn’t stand the competition to his ego and forced him out. If that is true, trust me, I will never forgive Ellis. Ever. Saunders was a diamond.
Some of you youngsters have never stood on a football terrace in the snow and rain. You haven’t lived. The Witton End was where the away fans went so we frequently mixed with them; never any trouble, even when “treatment” from Millwall came for a cup match.
A League Cup semi against Man U and I watched Charlton and Best (he was sublime). We beat them. Pity we can’t do it now.