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My Favourite Villan: Matchday host Andy Congrave on Alan McInally
Feature series continues.
25th Mar 2013
My Favourite Villan: Matchday host Andy Congrave on Alan McInally


We have asked members of the claret and blue family - celebrities, fans, journalists, staff - to give us their all-time hero. Matchday host Andy Congrave gives his verdict on Rambo.

I would recommend any Villa supporter to check out the clip on YouTube.

Alan McInally's second goal against Millwall in a 1988 League Cup-tie surely ranks as one of the best ever scored at Villa Park.

Collecting the ball in his own half, the Scottish striker turned sharply and embarked on a powerful run, brushing aside three challenges before firing low past the advancing keeper.

No wonder they called him Rambo.

In that sort of mood he was unstoppable. And shrugging off three opponents was no big deal.

I once saw him hold off a couple of hundred!

That was also at Villa Park, during an open day just before the start of the season.

Alan got the ball on the half-way line, and even though around 200 young fans were trying to get the ball from him as he ran towards the North Stand, they simply couldn't dispossess him!

Those are my two enduring memories of the Scottish striker who served us so well during two seasons in claret and blue.

Dribbling was his main asset; when he was on the ball, opponents always found it difficult to knock him off it.

He was strong in the air, as well, and although he was here for only a short period, and made a relatively modest 71 league and cup appearances, his scoring record was impressive.

Rambo, to be fair, didn't have the most impressive of debut seasons.

Signed from Celtic for £225,000 he was injured during a pre-season trip to Sweden, missed the first 10 games and contributed only four goals to our Second Division promotion campaign.

But his all-action, wholehearted approach made him a firm favourite with the fans - and he was amazing in his second season, when he hit a total of 22 goals, including 14 in the league.

You could argue that his scoring prowess kept Villa in the top flight.

Most of his league goals came before Christmas and they almost always secured important points which ultimately helped Villa dropping straight back into the Second Division.

Two of them were in an early-season 2-2 draw at West Ham.

I will never forget him standing with his arms raised in the air at Upton Park, waiting for his team-mates to celebrate with him.

Another two came in a 3-3 against Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park in December, then there was another brace in a 2-1 home win over Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day - and all the time his reputation was soaring.

While he was immensely popular with the Villa faithful, though, his scoring achievements didn't go unnoticed elsewhere.

When Bayern Munich came in with a £1.1m offer - four times what we had paid for him - it was simply too good for the club to turn down.

But even though he was only here for a short time, he clearly has an affinity for Aston Villa.

I frequently see Alan when he is covering our games for Sky TV.

Obviously he has to cover other matches too, but I think I can safely say that when you see him on your TV screen reporting from another game, you can bet he would rather be at Villa Park!

Make sure you snap up tickets for Villa v Liverpool.

 

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