Six decades of Cardiff City v Aston Villa matches.

Something a bit different this time. Back in 1980, City had one of their better FA Youth Cup runs. From memory, they made it through to the Quarter Finals (or possibly the last sixteen) before their run came to an end with a 5-2 defeat by eventual winners Aston Villa at Ninian Park.

Six of that Villa team went on to have careers that saw them make a substantial number of senior appearances – can you identify them from the clues below and there’s also a City related question at the end (I’ll post the answers tomorrow).

Player One.

Although he only made around twenty appearances for Villa, this full back received a medal for appearing in their side which beat Barcelona 3-1 on aggregate to win the European Super Cup in 1982. He went on to play for Brighton, Birmingham, Shrewsbury and Hereford, making almost three quarters of his two hundred and fifteen senior appearances for the last named – despite his name, he was not eligible for Wales.

Player Two.

This Bristol born centreback never played played for Villa, but went on to make more than three hundred and fifty appearances in a career split almost equally between a dark stream and some stripey cats.

Player Three.

There must have been times when Villa regretted letting this centreback go after playing just four times for them. By the time he retired, he had clocked up over six hundred appearances, representing Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Leeds, Stoke, Bradford City, Dundee and Exeter after leaving Villa Park – he also managed one of these sides.

Player Four.

A winger who managed to score a goal for Villa in one of his three senior appearances for them. He’s another whose career prospered at the second city’s other club – he’s a member of the Birmingham City Hall of Fame, having made more than a half of his three hundred plus career appearances for them. Besides these two, he also played for Man City, West Brom, Shrewsbury and Colchester – he also has an somewhat embarrassing claim to fame, as it was his own goal which led to the First Division side he was playing for being knocked out of the FA Cup by a non league team.

Player Five.

This midfielder did better at Villa than those mentioned already in that, besides coming on as a sub for that team which overcame Barcelona in 1982, he also made more than a hundred and seventy appearances for them before making the short journey to Wolverhampton where he played almost that number of matches again. After that, his career wound down at Preston, Doncaster and Exeter before he retired, having played just short of four hundred matches – he was another who got involved with Birmingham City, as he was a coach there for a while before his death at the age of just forty six in 2009,

Player Six.

The only one of the six to play for his country, this winger was a one cap wonder. He had a scoring rate of nearly a goal every four matches while making almost two hundred appearances for Villa and improved on that during his one hundred plus games with some light blues from the north. The goals never came so regularly after that during spells at Liverpool, Stoke, Wolves and Southampton and his career looked to be on it’s last legs when he left the Saints at the age of thirty two , but  he was to log up another couple of hundred matches down west with Swindon and Bristol Rovers and retired with six hundred senior appearances to his name.

Player Seven.

In that Final thirty seven years ago, Villa beat another team of northern light blues whose side included someone who also managed to get past the six hundred career appearances mark, with just under a hundred of them being for City during a senior career that, besides his spell in Wales, was almost entirely spent not too far from the Scottish border. Can you name this player who is. justifiably, viewed as something of a legend by fans of a current Premier League team?

Answers.

  1. Mark Jones.
  2. David Mail.
  3. Noel Blake the former Exeter manager.
  4. Robert Hopkins whose own goal gave Altrincham an FA Cup win over Birmingham at St.Andrews.
  5. Paul Birch.
  6. Mark Walters.
  7. Gary Bennett.

 

 

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