My Favourite Villan: Tom Tyler on Dalian Atkinson
I'm not sure if my style of music would be to Dalian Atkinson's liking - but his brand of football was right on song as far as I'm concerned.
Maybe I subconsciously wrote my current single Shooting Star with him in mind!
Dalian produced what you might call champagne football.
When he was on form, he sparkled and fizzed; at other times, often when we least expected it, he went flat. Maybe that's what appeals most about him - the artistic temperament which made him so unpredictable.
A journeyman footballer he most definitely wasn't. Do you remember that amazing goal against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park early in the 1992-93 season?
I will never forget the way Dalian collected the ball deep in his own half and skipped past one challenge, then another - then another.
He ended that long, surging run with as delicate a chip over the keeper as you will ever see. Then we had the surreal sight of a Villa supporter stepping on to the pitch and sheltering Dalian with his umbrella!
The guy shouldn't really have done that, of course, and if it happened today I'm sure he would be kicked out of the stadium, rather than writing himself into Villa folklore as the "Rain Man".
But the photo of him holding his brolly above Dalian's head is one of football's enduring images.
Not surprisingly, Atkinson's spellbinding effort was voted goal of the season. Nearly 20 years down the line, I certainly haven't seen anything better, either from a Villa player or anyone else in the Premier League.
Mind you, his opening goal in the 1994 League Cup final against Manchester United was also pretty special.
That was more of a team goal, with Graham Fenton, Andy Townsend and Dean Saunders all involved in the build-up before Dalian almost caressed the ball past United keeper Les Sealey. What a crucial moment.
That was the goal which set us one the way to a 3-1 victory, when no-one gave us a chance.
Dalian is my favourite Villan for those two goals alone. On his day he was a genius - yet if he got out of the wrong side of the bed he was useless!
But I love the flashes of brilliance that come from that kind of temperament.
As a songwriter, you have moments when everything comes together very quickly. Some of the best songs on my album Silence were written in three or four minutes; at other times you labour for ages and the inspiration just isn't there.
Whether that was the case with Dalian, I'm not sure.
I suspect he knew he was very good because he had such nonchalance about him. He always seemed totally relaxed, as if he knew he could turn it on when he needed to.
That obviously made him a frustrating player, because the question was always there: Why doesn't he do it more often?
One of the reasons was that he picked up an injury a couple of months after that wonder goal against Wimbledon.
At that stage, he and Dean Saunders were scoring for fun. If he hadn't been out of action for so long, Villa might easily have been champions.
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