From the Archives: Greatest Villa Park photograph ever?
There have been many great images of Villa Park from past and present years but this must go down as the most evocative of all of them.
It was taken from the aquarium tower on March 30, 1907 as a 28,000 crowd - every one of them apparently wearing caps - watch Villa beat Liverpool 4-0.
As Simon Inglis points out in 'Villa Park 100 Years', The Trinity Road wing roofs, added in 1899, can be clearly seen on the right, as can the newly-installed viewing areas on the cycle track behind each goal.
Even the distant roof of the Holte Hotel is visible, between the church and Aston Hall on the far horizon.
Sheffields had clearly been busy selling advertising in the ground, but who, nowadays, would have thought that amid the hoardings for Palmer Tyres, Oxo, The Hippodrome, Gaiety and Empire Theatres that the most prominent ads of all would have been for the Rowton House working man's hostel.
Notice also that even in those supposedly halcyon days policemen were needed to patrol the crowd, particularly to watch out for pickpockets. In those days Villa paid 1s [5p] for each constable on duty.
This splendidly evocative image was actually captured by Albert Wilkes, who had been a regular in Villa's half-back line until three years earlier but was now establishing himself as a photographer in the West Midlands.
Intriguingly, Wilkes, then aged 33, would make one further appearance for Villa just three weeks after he took this photograph, before being transferred to Fulham in the summer.
After 1909 he became a full-time photographer and in 1934 was elected as a director of Villa.
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