Aston Villa may have endured a difficult season on the pitch, but fans can always take solace in the proud history of their side, now recorded in this new book, When Football Was Football: Aston Villa.
The book offers a vivid celebration of over a century of life at this founding member of the Football League, rightly regarded as one of the most established names in the English game.
Drawing on the vast photographic archive of the Daily Mirror it features rare images - many of them previously unpublished - that detail some of the key chapters in Villa's history since its formation by a group of cricketers under a gas lamp in 1874.
A glorious selection of black-and-white pictures cover these early days of the club, whilst also taking in the various successes that made Villa England's most successful side in the first 50 years of the Football League.
Also included are images of Villa's FA Cup heroics of the famous 1957 Final, action from classic matches of the 1930s, plus scenes from the days when crowds of 60,000 and 70,000 would regularly cram into Villa Park. The ground's many changes over the last 100 years are also documented in fine detail.
Detailed profiles of iconic players, such as Billy Walker, Charlie Aitken, Gordon Cowans, Dennis Mortimer, Tony Morley and Tony Daley are accompanied by sections on the great Villa teams of the 1970s and 1980s too.
Amongst these, the famous European Cup winning side of 1982 take pride of place - allowing Villa fans to relive that famous night in Rotterdam when their heroes joined the elite band of British clubs to have captured the club game's biggest honour with a memorable victory over German giants, Bayern Munich.
Just as intriguing as these glorious triumphs are the day-to-day pictures of life at Villa and those of the ordinary fans whose loyal support helped make the Holte End one of the most imposing terraces in the country for visiting sides.
These are now brought together in a detailed tribute to the institution that is Aston Villa, helping readers relive the days before modern all-seater stadia, multi-million pound transfer deals, corporate sponsorship and satellite television.
These were the days when players and supporters were equals and shared in the ups and downs of life at their club. This latest title in the 'When Football Was Football' series, When Football Was Football: Aston Villa, harks back to this bygone era when life - and the game - seemed much simpler.
Graham McColl saw his first Aston Villa match in the mid-1980s and has previously chronicled the club's history in The Illustrated History of Aston Villa. He has written several other books about football, including How To Win The World Cup; '78 - How A Nation Lost The World Cup; England - The Alf Ramsey Years, and Dreamland - A Scottish World Cup Success Story. He also contributed to Motson's National Obsession, a collection of quirky stories about the game, and compiled Visions of Football, which brought together evocative football pictures from around the world.
He has written articles on football for numerous publications, including The Times, FourFourTwo, When Saturday Comes, and Champions magazine.
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