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Ian Taylor blog: Brian Little return, League Cup win and Cruyff memories

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Ian Taylor blog: Brian Little return, League Cup win and Cruyff memories

First off, I've got to say I'm delighted with the return to the Club of Brian Little.

It's fantastic news - he's got all the credentials.

He's a former player, former manager and he's done a host of jobs here off the field too during his association with the Club.

I think he can bring a lot to the set-up here at Villa.

His passion for Villa is terrific and I think it's important to have that connection with the football Club behind the scenes.

He was our last manager to have picked up a major honour - the League Cup in 1996 - and I think it's great to have someone like him at the Club.

What will be bring? Great contacts in the game. He's been in the game for a long time, knows how it works and has a wealth of experience at all levels.

And a knowledge of that Club ethos - knowing about what the Club stands for, what it means to people, where it can go.

I think he will bring a lot to the Club and I'm sure he's excited about the new challenge ahead.

In terms of Brian as a manager, he didn't rant and rave and didn't particularly shout.

He didn't go into dressing rooms blazing - he had other people to do that!

He was a great thinker and a scholar of the game.

The side we had in that 1995/96 season was a great mix of players and characters. That's something that Brian strived for in his team.



The arrival of Brian as an advisor to the Board coincides with the creation of a Football Board, as an offshoot of the main Board of Directors.

I'm fully supportive of that move. 

I think it's been well documented that we've lacked that football kudos over the past few years so it's something that Steve Hollis, the new Chairman, has looked at and identified soon after his arrival.

We've had some big hitters come in - none more so than David Bernstein.

His experience with Man City and the FA will be invaluable as well as his contacts - and again he knows his way around the game at Board level.

I think having someone of that ilk on the football side of things, allied with the likes of Steve Hollis on the business side, will stand us in good stead.

There's been some very good moves made for the future of the football Club - people with a wealth of experience.


League Cup

Scoring on my home debut at Villa Park in front of the Holte End will always be my No.1 moment in football.

But winning the League Cup in 1996 comes a very close second - and it's 20 years since we lifted that trophy. How time flies!

Not many playing football - even at the top level - can say they have won a major football honour but I have and I'm immensely proud of that. It's great to know you're in that exclusive group.

I still have great memories of that day - I certainly remember my goal. It was an Ian Taylor left-footer - a collector's item! You don't see many of those. But, to be fair, it doesn't matter how they go in.

They were all cracking goals to be fair, all three, particularly the one from Savo, which flew in.

It was just a great performance from the lads, one of those where you look back and think 'what a performance' in a big, big game.

We were brilliant on the day and Leeds, who had great players themselves, simply couldn't live with us. Everything went well.

I remember the goals and I remember walking up the steps to collect the trophy - I don't recall much else, particularly the evening!


On to the present day and I think Jack Grealish could be the one to watch for us next season.

I think he could be a huge asset for us.

He's struggled this season, due to a host of reasons including niggling injuries that have kept him out of games.

But, as we all know, he's a good prospect and a good player.

I think next season could be the making of him.

There's still hope we can survive and while that's there we've still got to believe.

But if we do go down, Jack could be a nightmare for Championship defenders.

I think he could be the talisman. Fans are always looking for that local hero and Jack could be that for us.

He's had a grounding lower down through his experiences with Notts County and since then he has shown some very bright spots in claret and blue.



Finally, I was very saddened to hear of the loss of Johan Cruyff, who died of cancer this week.

Simply put, he's a huge loss to football - he played the game so beautifully, such a true entertainer, it looked effortless.

He was one of the great, great players - always up near the top in any list on the world's best-ever players.

Players and ex-players will be asked over the next few days if they ever tried the Cruyff turn when they were kids on the playground.

Of course! And never mind that, I tried it when I was a lot older too!

When you've got a famous football move named after you, you know you've made it!

RIP Johan!

By @AVFCOfficial 25th March 2016
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