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

observation post…………

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!

Keith Bracey ‘Villain’



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