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My Favourite Villan: Dave Woodhall on Brendan Ormsby

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My Favourite Villan: Dave Woodhall on Brendan Ormsby

We have asked members of the claret and blue family - celebrities, fans, journalists, staff - to give us their all-time hero. Here Heroes & Villains fanzine editor Dave Woodhall salutes the man who became his hero, just for one day.

Heroes come in many forms. Some leave a lasting impression while others, in the words of the David Bowie song, are heroes just for one day.

Brendan Ormsby might not have been one of the best-remembered players of his era, but, just once, he left a memory that will never be forgotten by any Villa supporter who saw it.

Brendan was a product of Villa's youth system, which rolled players off the Bodymoor Heath production line as remorselessly back in the seventies as it does now.

In fact Brendan was captain of the side which reached the 1978 FA Youth Cup final and featured future European champions Colin Gibson, Gary Williams and Gary Shaw.

Unfortunately, he found further progress blocked by the considerable figures of Ken McNaught and Allan Evans, although by the time the 1984-85 season came around Brendan had become a first team regular.

Then came the day when Brendan should have written his name into Villa Park folklore - February 23, 1985 and a trip to Upton Park for a routine First Division game between two mid-table sides.

West Ham were a goal up at half-time and the small group of Villa supporters who'd made the journey didn't expect much during the 45 minutes to come.

Midway through the second half, though, Villa equalised through Dennis Mortimer with almost our first attack of the game.

A couple of minutes later we got a corner. It was the usual set-piece play - a couple of defenders stopped back to keep an eye on whoever West Ham had left up front.

I can't remember who it was, probably Tony Cottee. The corner comes over, gets knocked out, and the ball bounces towards the half-way line.

I know time exaggerates memories, but Brendan couldn't have been far from the centre circle when he gained possession.

He should have carried it forward and sent another aimless punt high into the box for Peter Withe. That's what central defenders did then, all of them.

The away end, or rather corner, at West Ham was on the left-hand side of what was then called the South Bank.

So we had the perfect view of what happened next.

Brendan let fly in the direction of the net. The first reaction from us supporters was "What the hell you done that for?"

But rather than screwing high, wide and not very handsome, the ball rocketed towards us.

It wasn't deflected. It wasn't wide. It just kept coming, unerringly, in our direction. If the net hadn't got in the way that ball wouldn't have stopped until it reached France.

Power and precision from 45 yards.

Never, at any level of football, have I seen a shot hit so perfectly.

If Roberto Carlos or David Beckham had been the scorer it would have been replayed forever.

Then again, if they'd scored it the reaction of their team-mates might have been different.

Rather than jubilation, there was a stunned silence. I swear Gary Williams started laughing.

Earlier I wrote that Brendan SHOULD have entered Villa Park folklore.

Twenty years later he certainly would have. But, and supporters who have only grown up with the Premier League may find this the most incredible part of the story, there were no TV cameras at Upton Park.

The attendance was 14,485, and I doubt there were more than 400 away fans present.

We were the only Villa supporters to witness one of the greatest goals ever scored by a Villa player.

The team finished the season in 10th place. Brendan was sold to Leedsa year later. A hero, just for one day.

Pick up your tickets for West Ham.


By @AVFCOfficial 6th February 2013
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