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Flashback 1992-93: Big Ron chases Larsen as Villa draw with Spurs

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Flashback 1992-93: Big Ron chases Larsen as Villa draw with Spurs continues its look at the week-by-week efforts of Ron Atkinson's exciting Villa side during the memorable 1992-93 season. Each week we will republish the newspaper articles from that exact time during the campaign. We continue with an entertaining goalless draw with Tottenham - and a transfer chase.

Paper: Sunday Mercury
Headline: Ron's Pisa The Action
Author: Unknown

Big-spending Villa boss Ron Atkinson has set his sights on £1m-rated Danish star Henrik Larsen.

Larsen, one of the stars in Denmark's shock win in the European Championships, is currently with Italian club Pisa - and Atkinson is ready to lean over backwards to get his man.

It is understood that the Villa manager has already had preliminary talks with Larsen and Pisa officials.

Larsen is unsettled in Pisa but the problem for Big Ron is that several Italian clubs are also showing an interest in the 26-year-old midfielder who played three times for Denmark in the European Championships.

Paper: Birmingham Post
Headline: Atkinson's overseas assessment
Author: Andy Colquhoun

Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson has been assessing two overseas players as he looks to build on his side's championship form.

Atkinson took the chance of the weekend match in Fiorentina to give a trial to South African midfielder Theo Kumali and has also been tracking Dane Henrik Larsen.

The 26-year-old Larsen joined Pisa from Lyngby BK two years ago but has since had a loan spell back at his former club.

He played three times during the European Championships in the summer and his £1m asking price looks a comparative bargain.

Kumali, a 22-year-old midfielder who plays for Johannesburg's Kaiser Chiefs, played in part of Villa's 2-1 defeat by Fiorentina.

He was returning to his club after the match pending Atkinson's decision.

Paper: Birmingham Post
Headline: Atkinson asks for more time with Kumali
Author: Michael Ward

Ron Atkinson, constantly on the look-out to reinforce Aston Villa's championship challenge, has asked Kaiser Chiefs to release their 22-year-old midfield player Theo Kumali on loan with a view to a £400,000 permanent transfer.

The gifted South African international flew back to Johannesburg last night after turning out for Villa in Saturday's friendly against Fiorentina and the plan is to bring him back for an extended trial next month.

"I have been in contact with his club and I hope we can get him to stay with us a bit longer," Atkinson confirmed.

"There was no point in hanging on to him. He picked up a hamstring injury in Italy and in any case the South African season has a few weeks to go.

"Kumali had had a quiet match in Florence but that was understandable after travelling from South Africa to England and then out to Italy in the space of a few days.

"I want to have a longer look at Kumali to see if he could be a useful signing for us."

Although Atkinson insisted last night that there was "nothing imminent", the Villa manager is also tracking Pisa's £1m-rated Danish international midfielder Henrik Larsen.

Paper: Birmingham Post
Headline: Larsen sold on a quick Villa move
Author: Andy Colquhoun

Danish European Championship midfielder Henrik Larsen intends to speak to his Pisa president on Friday in the hope of speeding his departure from Italy - perhaps to Aston Villa.

Larsen, in Belfast for Denmark's World Cup game with Northern Ireland, said: "I am not happy at Pisa. They dropped me from the team and when I turn up for matches now they make me sit in the stand. When I ask why they say it is because I am up for sale."

Paper: Sunday Mercury
Headline: Villa left feeling Thor
Author: Barry Churchill

Villa lit up a grey North London afternoon with a display that confirmed their championship potential.

With a little bit of luck they would have taken all three points as a just reward for their colourful display at White Hart Lane.

But they found Norwegian international goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt in sparkling form as he fought a virtual one-man rearguard action to keep Ron Atkinson's Premier League glory-hunters at bay.

Even when Villa managed to beat the strapping keeper twice they saw efforts hacked away off the line as Spurs grittily held on.

Paul McGrath was denied both times with headers that looked goalbound until Spurs Neil Ruddock intervened with important last-ditch clearances.

Paper: Sunday Express
Headline: Spink defies Spurs
Author: Pat Gibson

Dalian Atkinson lit up a dank afternoon with the pace and skill that could take Aston Villa to the Premier League title.

Atkinson and Dean Saunders could not add to their 15 goals in 11 games but a goal was all that was missing as Villa took their unbeaten run to 13 matches.

It was so wet and greasy that even a linesman slipped and fell full-length on the touchline but Villa and Spurs - unbeaten themselves in seven games - defied the elements by providing some cracking entertainment.

Atkinson provided the most dazzling moments with the control and acceleration that has already brought him nine goals and will continue to unlock the best defences.

Paper: Daily Telegraph
Headline: Much guile but no goals
Author: John Ley

The Premier League has produced 30 goalless draws this season.

None of them can have been as richly entertaining as this game, which confirmed Aston Villa as championship contenders.

With Tottenham continuing to display their newly-found confidence, the contest was allowed to flow from end to end, with goalkeepers in command and central defenders in elegant form.

Villa were the more controlled of the sides, with Paul McGrath and Shaun Teale - a bargain £300,000 from Bournemouth 18 months ago - outstanding in defence.

Paper: Birmingham Post
Headline: Cockneys all agree that Villa have the look of champions
Author: Michael Ward

Championships are won and lost on those grey, god-forsaken days when only the genuine contenders reveal their true colours under duress.

And the margins of this Premier League campaign are so fine that when the title and its accompanying riches are handed out in May, Aston Villa might well be in a position to treasure the point they earned here as highly as any victory.

Their class and resilience shone through the gloom of London, N17 like the beam of a lighthouse.

Villa are attracting large, appreciative audiences wherever they perform and 32,852 paying customers will vouch that this goalless draw was marvellous value for anybody's money.

Paper: Today
Headline: Big Ron's showing true grit
Author: Ben Bacon

If tough-guy Shaun Teale is Ron Atkinson's John Wayne, then virtually everyone else in Villa's team is a member of the cavalry.

No-one actually bellows 'charge' but seldom has a side attacked en masse with such dash, vigour and style and not been rewarded with maximum points.

Only a couple of desperate goalline clearances from Neil Ruddock and Paul Allen and fine goalkeeping from Erik Thorstvedt prevented Villa from romping to yet another victory.

No wonder Spurs rate them the best they have faced.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 19th November 2012
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