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From the Archives: Do you know where you're going to?
Paul Brown looks back at three intriguing transfers.
30th Oct 2012
From the Archives: Do you know where you're going to?


By Paul Brown

I think it was Meatloaf who said two out of three ain't bad - and when it comes to a trio of unusual claret and blue transfers he's spot on.

Villa signed wing-half Jimmy Gibson from Partick Thistle in April 1927 and inside-forward Joe Beresford from Mansfield Town the following month.

Both men were excellent purchases and gave many years of fantastic service to the club.

Gibson, almost 6ft 3in tall, teamed up with Alec Talbot and Joe Tate to form a giant half-back line nicknamed 'wind, sleet and snow.'

He was at home in several positions and was also called upon as emergency goalkeeper.

With his long legs, Gibson was able to bring the ball under control from the most acute of angles and, despite his size, he was an excellent ball player and a fine dribbler.

Beresford's contribution to the cause during Villa's heady days of the 1920s and 1930s was invaluable.

Beresford was regarded as the team's engine because of his incredible work-rate.

An inside-forward or centre-forward, he also possessed a powerful right-foot, which meant he always weighed in with his fair share of goals.

Amazingly though, neither player knew who they were joining when they signed for the Villa!

Gibson was heavily influenced by his father and his club Partick were so desperate to receive the agreed fee that they informed Gibson Snr - former Scotland star Neil Gibson - who forgot to tell his son that he was bound for the Midlands.

Not until meeting chairman Jack Jones and secretary Billy Smith in Glasgow prior to signing did Jimmy think to ask which club he would be joining.

Strange though this story is, Beresford went one better.

The boards of Villa and his then-club Mansfield arranged the deal and Joe was called into the boardroom at Field Mill and told he was being transferred.

Only after the formalities had been completed did Beresford think to ask the name of his new club.

However, as he stayed with Villa until 1936, he must have been satisfied with his decision.

Over 71 years later another intriguing transfer story hit the headlines.

On July 24, 1998 Villa signed David Unsworth from West Ham for £3m.

He appeared to know exactly who he was joining but five days later he asked for a transfer and two days later he agreed to join Everton for the amount Villa had paid for him.

Manager John Gregory stated that Unsworth wanted to leave Villa because he hadn't realised how far Villa Park was from his home and that his wife didn't like him being away for so long.

So they you go - two players who didn't know who they were joining turned out to be club heroes. Another who did know he was heading to B6 received abuse from the Villa Park terraces for years!

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