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Memoravilla: Focus on old Youth Cup programmes

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Memoravilla: Focus on old Youth Cup programmes

Throughout the summer, Dave Bridgewater will be looking at various aspects of Villa memorabilia.

From books to board games, magazines to newspapers, CDs to top trump cards, he'll be looking at a host of claret and blue collectibles.

This week, he looks back at Youth Cup programmes from the past.


1] Villa v Albion 1954 

Let's start at the beginning. Villa have a decent record in the FA Youth Cup but the club's debut was one to forget - a 7-0 home thrashing at the hands of West Bromwich Albion in 1954.

In those days, Villa produced full programmes for all games, regardless of the anticipated attendance.

This second round tie - Villa had been given a bye in round one - kicked off at 11am on a Saturday morning and was followed by a Central League game against Preston Reserves at 2.45pm.

2] Villa v Pegasus Juniors 1956 

After falling again at the first hurdle in 1955, this time to Walsall, Villa recorded their first FA Youth Cup victory in October 1956, beating Coventry City 4-0 in a first round replay.

That result earned them a second round home tie against a Hereford-based club called Pegasus Juniors, who were only in their second season.

Once again, the game was played on a Saturday morning before a reserve game, which meant another "double-header" programme incorporating the Central League fixture against Liverpool.

The programme notes wished Pegasus "nothing but happy memories of their first to Villa Park."

Villa promptly ran up a 15-0 scoreline - our biggest win in the competition.

3] Villa v West Ham 1959

This is an interesting item. In 1958-59, Villa enjoyed their best run so far in the competition, reaching the fifth round.

The match against West Ham must have been arranged in a hurry because only a single sheet was produced. In those days, Villa always afforded visiting clubs the courtesy of printing their line-up at the top of the page - and the West Ham team shows Moore at number five and G Hurst at number six.

Just over six years later, Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick for England in the World Cup final against West Germany at Wembley - and Bobby Moore received the trophy from Her Majesty the Queen.

On a March evening in 1959, Moore and Hurst had to settle for a 1-1 draw against a Villa team including Alan Deakin, Harry Burrows and Mike Tindall, although the Hammers won the Upton Park replay 3-2.

4] Villa v Liverpool 1972

The Villa News & Record was an award-winning publication by the time we reached our first final in 1972 - and that was reflected in the excellent 12-page issue for the first leg against Liverpool.

The Merseysiders were the major force in English football at the time, while Villa were in the old Third Division, so a landslide Liverpool victory was envisaged.

But John Gidman's penalty gave us a 1-0 win at Villa Park - and a fighting chance in the return leg at Anfield.

5] Liveprool v Villa 1972

Fighting chance? Villa showed absolutely no fear at Anfield, beating Liverpool's young hopefuls 4-2 to complete a 5-2 aggregate and give us our first FA Youth Cup triumph.

Liverpool also produced a good-quality version of their Anfield Review.

I wonder if Gidman, Brian Little, Bobby McDonald and their team-mates still have a copy?

6] Villa v Crystal Palace 1978

Only once has an FA Youth Cup final been staged as a one-off game at a neutral venue, and Villa were involved.In 1978 our youngsters reached the final for the second time and the game against Crystal Palace was played at Highbury.

Our team that night included Gary Shaw, Colin Gibson, Gary Williams, Brendan Orsmby and Ivor Linton, who would help Villa to European Cup glory four years later.

On the night, though, they were unable to prevent a 1-0 defeat the hands of the young Eagles.

7] Villa v Man City 1980

Our second Youth Cup triumph was equally emphatic, a 3-1 success at Maine Road being followed by a 1-0 success at Villa Park.

Strangely, though, the quality of the programmes had dipped during the intervening years.

City produced only a single-sheet for the first leg, and the Villa issue amounted to just four pages, albeit one which included a couple of action photos from the semi-final victory over Millwall.

8] Villa v Everton 2002

In recent times, Youth Cup finals have been FA publications covering both legs of the final.

That was the case when we beat Wayne Rooney's Everton 4-2 on aggregate in 2002, and again when we lost 4-0 to Middlesbrough over 180 minutes in 2004.

The programme for the games against Boro included a photo of an up-and-coming young striker named Gabby Agbonlahor.

9] Chelsea v Villa 2008

Both clubs produced smart programmes for the 2008 semi-final, which Chelsea won 3-2 at Villa Park following a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Better still, both of these classy issues were handed out free to supporters.

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AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 20th June 2012