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Author Topic: Class of Ten  (Read 785 times)

Online dave.woodhall

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Class of Ten
« on: October 14, 2020, 03:30:23 PM »
In December 1950 the directors of Aston Villa finally bowed to the inevitable and appointed a new manager. Sixteenth in the league and with only two wins in their last twenty games, they had to admit that after seventeen months since Alec Massie resigned they could no longer trust themselves to go it alone. The loss of Trevor Ford to ambitious Sunderland may have been the tipping point

As their saviour the directors turned their eyes towards Newcastle United and persuaded their then-manager, George Martin, to change allegiance. The bait was a guarantee that unlike his predecessors at Villa Park, he would have complete control over the playing staff.
George had been with Newcastle for over three seasons having guided to the first division in his first season, when his team finished runners-up to Satan City. He took over at Villa Park on 20th December, when he inherited an interesting experiment

At the time Stan Lynn, newly acquired from Accrington Stanley, had made only one first team appearance, at left back away to Huddersfield (2-4) Ironically the reserves were flying high in the Central League being in second place behind Wolverhampton Wanderers. Director Norman Smith, who usually accompanied the second team on their travels, made what he hoped would be an inspired choice when he put Stan at centre-forward in the reserves at home to Derby County. Stan scored the second and made a major contribution to the other goals.

At the same time George was getting his first sight of the Villa when he saw us go down at the Hawthorns (0-2) for the first time for seventeen years, but all was not lost. He discovered that their centre forward, who had put in a transfer request a few weeks earlier, was still available so lo and behold a short time later Eire international Dave Walsh became an Aston Villa player. All to the surprise of clubs and player, so much so that when his photo appeared in the Villa News Walsh was still shown in his Albion shirt.

Meanwhile, when it came to selecting his first team for the first time George had to go with the flow and with very few options chose to bring Stan Lynn into the first team at number nine. He scored the equalising goal after 22 minutes but the score stayed that way, 1-1.  It's not always easy to drop a goalscorer so Stan stayed around for the Christmas Day and Boxing Day matches against Charlton Athletic (2-2 and 0-0) and in all played three times as leader.

Then with Walsh now in harness George recognised that Stan's best position was at right back, from where he could go on to frighten the daylights out of the opposing right winger and take the penalties, as he did against Fulham (3-1). George enjoyed the new manager syndrome, drawing three and winning two of his first five games including a difficult cup tie at home to Burnley. Then five consecutive defeats had us questioning the abilities of the new boss, not least because at the time no fewer than ten of the other 91 clubs were managed by former Villa players.

The league had just been extended by four clubs with the addition of Colchester United, Gillingham, Scunthorpe and Shrewsbury Town so from the others we had a very wide choice. The notable ten were Major Frank Buckley (Leeds United) Eric Houghton (Notts County)
Billy Walker (Nottingham Forest) ex-goalkeeper Cyril Spiers (Cardiff City) Bob Brocklebank (Birmingham City) Jimmy Allen (Colchester United) George Stephenson (Huddersfield Town) Gordon Hodgson (Port Vale) Ernie Blackburn (Tranmere Rovers) Alec Massie (Torquay United). With Jimmy Hogan still flitting about on the Continent teaching the rest of the world how to play football, ageism apart we could have put a half-decent team into the field.

But eventually George came good and an unbeaten run saw us rise to a flattering fifteenth place.

John Russell


Offline JD

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Re: Class of Ten
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 08:08:50 AM »
Very interesting and insightful article (as usual) John.

Offline exiled on the wirral!

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Re: Class of Ten
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 09:53:15 PM »
Love these articles John..thank you.

Offline ChicagoLion

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Re: Class of Ten
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2020, 05:29:44 PM »
Thanks John.
My Dad told me about Stan the Wam penalty technique.
Any one else know about it?

 


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