As we approach the Russia World Cup in 2018 here are my memories of attending a game involving two of the World Cup’s chief protagonists, Argentina and Germany at Villa Park in the 1966 World Cup
As an 8 year old I went with me Dad Les Bracey a Villa Fan from a long
line of Summer Lane Aston Villa fans to Villa Park for a group game in
the 1966 World Cup between West Germany and Argentina which ended in a
nil-all bore draw on a grey Birmingham Saturday afternoon.
My memories of the day were that an Argentine was sent off in a
bruising game between a tough Argentina team, later dubbed ‘animals’
by an irate Alf Ramsey after the quarter-final against England and a
muscular German side
The other memory I have is that usually at Villa Park games my Dad
would hoist me up to sit me on the bright red metal stanchions which
covered the terraces in those days and then place his arms either side
of me to protect me from the ebb and flow of the swaying crowd
This day Villa Park was the fullest I had ever seen it and I was a
veteran having first been taken to Villa Park as a tiny 4 year old in
We always travelled to Villa Park on the number 11 Outer Circle bus
from the King’s Head in Bearwood, my home town, through Bearwood,
Rotton Park, Summerfield, Handsworth, Perry Barr and Witton and got
off in Trinity Road Aston where we made our way to the Holte End
We usually stood on the huge grass bank that was the Witton End and
this was the first time me and me dad had stood on the Holte End.
I stood there as a 22 year old 14 years later in 1980 with me Dad as
we watched a late Peter Withe goal secure a 1 nil win for the Villa
over the Albion and the Football League title for the only time in my
55 years as a Villa Fan.
My dad Les was unfamiliar with the Holte End and arriving late we
could not find my usual stanchion vantage point
Naturally as an tiny 8 year old all I could see was the back of the
crowd’s legs standing on the concrete steps of the terrace
There was nothing my Dad could do in a packed Holte End however a
friendly Birmingham City Policeman, seeing my plight as I sobbed
quietly, spoke to my Dad who said to me that I had to be brave as I
was going to be passed over the heads of the crowd down to the front
of the Holte End terrace where I could watch the game from the police
Before I could say no my Dad picked me up in his arms and passed me in
front of him to some stranger who, prompted by the copper passed me to
another stranger in front of him…..
Before I knew it I was sitting on the wooden plank floor of the police
command post which was held together by metal scaffolding, a temporary
police control measure for such a big game at Villa Park
I had a fantastic view of the action and loved every minute of my
little adventure…..I can’t recall how my Dad reclaimed me at the end
of the game……thinking about it we probably left before the end of
the game as it was so poor…..a defensive stalemate
That football experience at one of the biggest games ever at Villa
Park has stuck with me over the years
One thing is for certain……it wouldn’t happen nowadays!
Up the Villa!
Come on you Lions!