GABBY AGBONLAHOR: Class of 82' is what it takes to be an Villa legend

GABBY AGBONLAHOR: Aston Villa’s Class of 82′ showed what it takes to become a legend at Villa Park with their European Cup heroics… but this team under Unai Emery gets the juices flowing

  • Aston Villa are flying high in the Premier League and sit four points off the top
  • Unai Emery has transformed the club and overseen 14 home wins in a row 
  • It will do Arsenal no harm at all to have Arteta out of sight at Villa Park – It’s All Kicking Off 

I was at the local tip the other day, getting rid of an old bed, some cardboard and bits of mirror when I bumped into Peter Withe. Now, there is an Aston Villa legend.

A member of the 1982 European Cup winning team. Winning that trophy is the definition of a big club. How many have Newcastle won, remind me…

To be a legend at The Villa, you have to have been part of that team. When I was coming through the academy, from the age of 12, the exploits of Gary Shaw, Tony Morley, Gordon Cowans – one of my coaches – and Peter were drilled into us. How they beat Bayern Munich against all the odds, what it meant to the city, the standing of the club. The big time.

I stood talking with Peter, I was asking him about that team. We talked about the good old days, but also the good new days that Unai Emery is bringing back to Villa Park.

It’s been a bit barren, one League Cup win, since ‘82. I looked at West Ham with some envy last season when they won the Europa Conference League. I’d take Villa winning it this season and a trophy parade around our city over finishing in the top four, but I’d like to be greedy and desire both.

The famous Aston Villa side who won the European Cup in 1982 are all legends at Villa Park

Our great club has endured a barren time since but now the good times are coming back

Your browser does not support iframes.

Our club has been waiting for this time. Not just being the best in the Midlands, but taking on and beating the best in the country and beyond. 

The win against Manchester City this week was the best performance I have ever seen from a Villa team. City are the best team in the world, the treble winners, but only had two shots on goal and the last one in the game was on eleven minutes. Then Villa took over.

This manager has got us all dreaming. There is a style and a purpose to the manager’s play, but also a trust from the supporters. With each game, there is something different in his tactics, but there is a total buy-in from the players. Like a Pep Guardiola team, they look well-drilled.

The home form is as good as it can be and there is no reason to fear Arsenal. His team plays with no fear. It is such a joy to watch.

The win against Man City was the best performance I have ever seen from a Villa team

Unai Emery is working his magic and the Spaniard has got everyone at Villa Park dreaming

The best I did at Villa was three top six finishes in a row under Martin O’Neill. I look back at that time with regret. We were disappointed with our work and thought we should have finished higher. We should have made the top four and the Champions league, so we weren’t really interested in the lesser European competitions, we didn’t take those opportunities seriously. I am sorry for that.

My Villa hero was Gareth Barry, who never seemed to give the ball away. And the stories of the ’82 team. They have a lounge named after them at the ground.

This team, with this manager, the support from the owners – who are staying in the background – and the support from fans who have been waiting for times like these have created a swirl of excitement. Who knows where they can end up? Come on The Villa.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

Your browser does not support iframes.

Source: Read Full Article