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My Favourite Villan: Daniel Meredith on Dwight Yorke
Feature series continues.
11th Feb 2013
My Favourite Villan: Daniel Meredith on Dwight Yorke


We have asked members of the claret and blue family - celebrities, fans, journalists, staff - to give us their all-time hero.
Villa marketing manager Daniel Meredith reflects on the Calypso Kid who was in tune with Villa supporters.

The windows were wound down, the sun roof was open and our scarves were blowing in the breeze.

Along with my mum, dad and sister Olivia, I was travelling to the 1996 League Cup final.

And the cassette blasting out from the car stereo was on repeat play.

"Start spreading the news, he's playing today..."

The tune was New York, New York, the song made famous by Frank Sinatra. But this version was dedicated to my hero.

Dwight Yorke had made such an impact at Villa Park that a song had been recorded in his honour, and we loved it. So did thousands of others.

Approaching Wembley, we were stuck in a traffic jam in which every vehicle seemed to be carrying Villa supporters, all with windows wound down and claret and blue scarves hanging out.

Suddenly my dad turned the volume even higher - and everyone in the queue joined in as we sang "it's up to you Dwight Yorke, Dwight Yorke" at the top of our voices.

The lad must have heard us.

With time running out against Leeds United and Villa leading 2-0 through Savo Milosevic and Ian Taylor, Dwight arched his back and sent the ball thundering into the roof of the net.

He generated tremendous power simply by the way he shaped his body and it was almost as if he was saying: "Get in!"

That was one of many magical moments from the Calypso Kid.

My favourite Yorke goal was a magnificent diving header at the Holte End from Steve Staunton's deep cross against Ipswich Town in February 1993.

With his feet together, he launched himself for a horizontal contact which left keeper Clive Baker helpless.

The build-up was beautifully flowing, too, with Steve Froggatt and Garry Parker also involved, and it was voted Match of the Day's Goal of the Month.

Dwight could score every type of goal - volleys, instant reaction strikes, shots from outside the box, tap-ins, headers, cheeky chip penalties before anyone else had ever thought of them.

He read the game brilliantly and was always in the right place at the right time.

That was never more evident than the match against Liverpool on the final day of the Holte End as a terrace in May 1994.

The Merseysiders threatened to spoil the party by leading through Robbie Fowler at the interval - until Dwight Yorke went on as a second half substitute and scored twice in front of that vast bank of more than 19,000 supporters to clinch a 2-1 win.

He always played with a gleaming smile on his face, too, and I loved the way he wore his shirt collar up.

Whenever I played football, I did the same because I wanted to be just like him.

And what about those tricks?

Watching him juggle the ball all the way from the tunnel to the Holte End before the pre-match warm-up was amazing.

Then balance it on his forehead all the way back to the dressing room.

He certainly knew how to play to the crowd and it still pains me when I recall the animosity which surrounded his departure to Manchester United and the fact that he later played for Birmingham City.

But I prefer to remember his shining brilliance.

I met him once at the annual awards night and he was such a humble, pleasant guy.

Snap up match tickets for Man City clash.

 

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