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5 reasons to attend Aston Villa v West Brom: Big Ron’s view, revenge mission, VP late show and much more

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5 reasons to attend Aston Villa v West Brom: Big Ron’s view, revenge mission, VP late show and much more

We host the Baggies on Saturday for what promises to be a cracking derby clash.

Check out our ‘5 reasons’ to attend below.

1] The “most competitive derby”

Aston Villa v Birmingham City is always a passionate affair. 

You can see it in the build-up to the Second City derby and in the emotion on show throughout each 90 minutes between the sides.

However, don’t underestimate the Baggies rivalry. 

Currently, it holds extra significance due to us both plying our trade in the Championship – but, historically too, it’s seen as a memorable matchup.  

BigRonBaggiesViewsBig Ron Atkinson, who managed both teams, certainly believes so.

He told us: "I've been involved in derbies in Manchester, Madrid and the West Midlands.

"Villa v Albion was always the most competitive. There was always a bit of bite around that game."

Club legend Ken McNaught is of that opinion, too.

"Villa against Birmingham was seen as the big derby but Villa against Albion was always the most competitive in my opinion.

"It always seemed more in the balance. West Brom were always very potent offensively. 

"We always knew we were tight as a football team and we could certainly defend. But we were always a bit wary against the Albion. We had some great battles with them."

McNaughtViewsIt’s a view shared from the other side, too.

"For me personally, Villa v Albion is the biggest of the lot," said Tony 'Bomber' Brown, record-goalscorer and appearance-maker at West Brom.

"I joined Albion at a time when both teams were in the top-flight. Wolves and Blues weren't in those early years when I started so the big game for me was Villa v Albion. Villa are the big rivals! They will always be for me. That's the big derby.

"Players from my era looked forward to that game more than any other. I think it's changed in recent times because our younger supporters probably see the Wolves match as bigger and the same with Villa and Blues. But for me it will always be Villa and Albion.”

Don't miss the latest instalment - you can snap up tickets now.

SmithBoltonGoal2] Promotion push

If we’ve looked back at historical significance, no-one can underestimate the importance of this game in the modern day, either.

Villa and Albion are pushing for promotion – and this is a pivotal game for both sides in the fight to return to the Premier League.

The Baggies are currently in fourth and looking to chase down Norwich and Leeds for an automatic spot.

Dean Smith’s men have lost very few games since his arrival although the Head Coach accepts we’ve had too many draws during that four month period.

We’re in 10th, seven points off the play-off spots – and Smith knows that victory is vital this weekend to keep the challenge on track.

Three points would be so, so valuable. 

And it would give us an extra shot in the arm, too, to snap up a maximum haul in a derby clash against one of our nearest and dearest.

Make sure you're here to back the boys - with tickets available to supporters with an appropriate booking history.

GreenSUFC3] The late show

You can’t say fans aren’t getting value for money this season at Villa Park – even if our promotion push isn’t in the very highest gear.

Our 5-5 with Nottingham Forest back in November 2018 with live long in the memory as will our 4-2 win over Birmingham City, with an Alan Hutton wonder goal thrown in for good measure.

But both of those were trumped this past Friday as we somehow rescued a point against high-flying Sheffield United, despite being 0-3 down with just eight minutes to go.

Tyrone Mings started the comeback on 82 minutes, although at that point you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was merely a consolation effort.

Tammy Abraham bagged his 20th league goal of the season on 86 minutes and then all hell broke lose in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Andre Green thumped home a heroic header to leave the Blades badly blunted.

What next in B6? Find out on Saturday!

DMooreBaggies4] Big Dave’s gift from ‘God’

Not many footballers can say they filled Paul McGrath's boots - but Baggies boss Darren Moore did.

There’s no question that Moore’s heart lies with the Albion after both playing and managing them with great distinction – and he’ll be looking to mastermind three points this weekend for his team.

But it didn’t stop him having huge affection for legend McGrath as a kid as he headed to Villa Park and The Hawthorns on alternate weeks as an aspiring young centre-half. 

He said: "When my career took off my brother David, who was at Villa Park as an apprentice, saw Paul in the gym one morning and told him: 'My brother absolutely loves you. He idolises you!'

"Paul asked what size boots I wore, found out I was the same, and said: 'Give your brother these.'

McGrathMooreViews"He came home and gave them to me. I reckon he'd have kept them if they'd fit him but he wasn't a size 10!

"I'm not exaggerating when I say I wore them the following season until they fell off my feet. I taped them up and all sorts. They were brilliant.

"They had his initials on the bottom. I treasured them. Honestly, one game my feet were coming out of the sides. They were great memories.

“Paul McGrath was my hero. I was a centre-half obviously and watching him really was a joy.

"He read the game so well and was total no-nonsense too. He had a deft touch but blimey, he was ferocious.”

Here’s to the current crop of Tyrone Mings and Tommy Elphick showing flashes of McGrath majesty as we eye derby joy this weekend. 

ElGhaziBaggiesDraw5] Revenge mission

Dean Smith will be demanding cool, calm heads from his team in the derby cauldron this weekend.

But there’s no question there’ll be a revenge mission of sorts in the air on Saturday as we look for payback from the corresponding fixture in December 2018.

On that night, Anwar El Ghazi looked to have earned the victory with a double from the Dutch winger. 

But one cross and one hand (or two hands) later and it was a dramatic draw for the Albion.

Victory in that game, the last to feature Jack Grealish this season to date, would have lifted Dean Smith's side into the Championship top six and earned us a third-straight away win.

Here’s to three points this weekend as we continue to chase down those play-off spots. 

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Paul Brown
By @paulbrownavfc 12th February 2019