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Andy's Articles

epsomred

Give yourselves the chance to be heros
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Toffees are becoming a rare thing in my everyday local shops. I don’t think the Coop, Marks, Tesco’s garage or even Aldi sell them anymore. If they were a animal, David Attenborough would make a weepy film them but because they are a sweet nobody gives a fuck.
 


Commando

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Looking forward to your article covering last night's game.
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
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Aug 22, 2019
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Hi, sorry I've not posted a piece for a while but been a tad busy! Maybe have a read of this and any feedback, at all, will be very much appreciated. Andy.

On This Day
Aston Villa v Liverpool
2nd of November, 2019
I had a couple of hours to spare.

This time I had pre-planned and was going straight down to Newport, no ‘passing-go’ and detouring to my house on the way, like a couple of weeks ago.

I mean, I had more time than usual. More time than usual because I was not going to see the Liverpool game – live, as Davie and Dean were, would you inconveniently (lol) believe it, still in Florida on their holly-bobs. I always watch ‘the match’ with them, being former Season Tickets holders, like myself.

So, I rocked-up in Newport Reference Library – for what was it, the third time? Why, well, you would have thought that it was something to do with Liverpool but it was not, not in a direct way anyhow. My purpose was to certainly copy match reports but not Liverpool ones, but in fact, Cardiff City ones. You see, what it is, in my dad’s voice, since July I have begun to fulfil one of my life-times ambitions – that is to try and research the football career of Leighton Phillips; my second cousin.

At first, I just got a brief synopsis out of one or two books and then the net. Yes, I was aware he played for Cardiff, Villa, Swansea and Charlton and even Exeter, plus over 50 times for Wales. This did not cut the mustard for me though – just an A4 sized summary, there had to be more.
So, I started.

I got books on Cardiff City – excellent ones but they did not have results in them like my LFC ‘Bible’ which has every reds result and line-up in it from 1892 to 2008-09 (plus there is no ever so convenient Cardiff City History.net on hand). The more I delved though, the more caught-up I have become, or engulfed more- like in a never-ending whirlpool. Wanting to know now, even individual match goalscorers for games Cardiff were playing when I was actually born (in 1968/69) season. But do you know, I am loving it. Can you imagine if I was researching Liverpool! So, I have spent a few hours copying old 50 year back-issues of the Western Mail and reading about a young Phillips making the odd sub appearance here and there as City strove to gain promotion to Division One with some chap called Toshack scoring in almost every game at the same rate that Mo Salah did in 2017-18! I wonder where that Toshack ended-up!

Anyhow, I got what I wanted and my memory stick was a marvel. This meant I could transfer all the reports I had got onto my pc and read them and cherry pick the ones I want to summarize. It is surprising how many names of past Cardiff players are now tripping off my tongue as easily as me saying the names of our double-winning team. The thing is, in a few years - time, I still won’t have to think too much about the names of our players! (Grobbelaar, Nicol, Hansen, Lawrenson, McMahon, Whelan, Molby, Gillespie, Rush, Dalglish Walsh – now that’s not bad in 5 seconds flat!!).

In my research I have contacted an Aston Villa fans forum and even though I held my hands-up, saying up front that I was a Liverpool fan, the response I’ve got has been nothing short of brilliant. Their fans have provided me with memories, anecdotes and photos and pointed me in the right direction and made suggestions to me which even now I have yet to take-up but intend to, as this project is not just a flash in the pan one – I feel now it’s going to be a long term one as I get wrapped-up in it not only in Leighton Phillips’s story but also the story of the teams he played for but even down to some individual matches which he featured in through a 16 year playing career.

Also, through contacting the Villa forum, I was lucky enough to have met-up, on line, with a lad called Neil. He not only is a Villa fanatic but one that is deeply into researching their history and lo and behold, going to his local library and copying Villa’s match reports. Now get this, he only offered to send me some for Leighton Phillips’ time at Villa, which spanned from September 1974 to November, 1978. I mean, again, in my dad’s voice (see, he lives on), ‘How lucky can I get?’. Therefore, on a regular basis, Neil sends me Villa reports which is just absolutely fantastic. I cannot, as you can imagine, thank him enough. Not only that if he spies anything on Leighton Phillips from past Villa programmes, he sends me these articles as well…. Just a breath-taking act of kindness. Not only that, I have already written-up my Villa chapter (without adding, at the moment any match reports but I will), and he has said that it was an enjoyable read. I just cannot fault him.

So, as you can probably tell, I am quite passionate about this project. One day I might complete it – probably when I am as old as Leighton is now, but hopefully well before that as my ultimate aim is to somehow send it to him so that hopefully it will rekindle old memories for him – that would mean the absolute world to me.

Well, anyhow, back at the ranch so to speak, I got away from the library, then followed my normal routine of having a coffee in Morrisons, as I made a mistake of ordering a bacon roll – which got stuck in between my teeth and deliberately not wanting to know the time.

I was trying to keep calm, calm, calm, like that mannequin dentist in the ‘Bygone’ museum near Torquay which is brilliant, and then you hear the scream of the woman with the open mouth in the chair as blood pours down her chin! Well, I was like that because when I got home it was four o’clock and we were 1-0 down and from what I read, we were playing rubbish!

All my chillingness had gone right out the window. I was gutted. I knew that it would not be an easy game versus Villa having taken a tad of an interest in them because of the way their fans have been to me. Every time I had seen them, they have always tried to play football the right way. They have just been un-lucky.

In this game they appeared to be riding their luck – at last their fans would probably say.

Obviously, I have seen the goal that was not given. Bobby Firmino’s goal should have stood. End of story. VAR – will it ever be consistent? I thought the whole idea of it was that it would be correct all the time. Bobby was not offside when Sadio Mane curled that delicious ball in from our left, with Firmino darting in, behind the Villa defender, to knock the ball in. It should have been 1-0 but it wasn’t.

Villa had scored from a header off a free-kick conceded on the right edge of our area and that was debatable. On side was the VAR decision. So, in effect, we were on the wrong end of two VAR blunders and we were a goal behind.

As in mid-week, I went straight to my lap-top and tuned-in to Radio 5 Live. Commentary straight away. I did not feel so bad when I heard Man City were losing but I urged the reds on even more saying, ‘C’mon’ in about thirty second intervals before I told myself to try and keep calm and not lose it just yet.

I found that Fabinho had not been risked. A wise precaution as he was on 5 yellows and one more and he would have missed the City game next week. Lallana was in that role – his new position and he lasted all game. A plus point. Other than that, it was the usual line-up which reads as easily as one, two, three, four etc.

My anxiety though mounted when I heard that Man City had inevitably equalised against Southampton. Aguero. Of course. It had to be him. He keeps taking a shine off that moment to end City’s 44 year wait for the title, every time he scores for them now, but I think I will always smile when I think back to his goal v QPR when he denied Man United a title they had almost wrapped-up in the March.

It was getting close; we were at last keeping hold of the ball. Slowly, slowly, strangling Villa, as they kept trying to cling onto their lead, which Trezeguet had given them. They were on their feet the commentator said.

Then it was over to the Ethiad. Of - course City had scored, just why did the female commentator say, ‘Would you believe it’ in such a screeching, surprised manner, I’ll never know. It was inevitable. It was a home banker that City would win. The surprise was that it had taken them so long to do it.

Quickly, in mili-second time, my heart was beginning to freeze, just like the Titanic’s hull when she hit that iceberg. It meant that City would be only 3 points behind and if they beat us next week, they would be ahead on goal difference and what made it worse was that we had had an eight- point lead not so long back, on them. I was feeling sick I don’t mind admitting.

‘C’mon’ I urged, again and again, as the gravity of the situation bit home. Liverpool’s title challenge was burning-up there and then not exactly in front of me but it may as well have been as I pictured the words the commentator was saying, in between the annoying score flashes from elsewhere. Why can’t they dedicate just one channel to score-flashes from Exeter to East Fife and have one exclusively to one which concentrates totally on whatever game they are commentating on.

It was what, three minutes to go. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had come on and Divock Origi. They had made a difference and had pepped-up the attack. Now Trent Alexander-Arnold stood over a free-kick which co-commentator Chris Waddle would no doubt would have relished. Trent’s effort though was charged down for a corner. From it, with the Villa crowd still audible, Mane put the ball in and all of a sudden the home supporters went quite and I heard an echoing roar, as though from inside a cave and just waited, waited, tensed-up as I was informed that Andy Robertson had stole in on Villa’s right to score with a header at the back post which went in past Tom Heaton.

It was 1-1 thank goodness and I was immediately relieved as whatever happened next week, we would still be ahead of City.
Liverpool had come back again.

They did not want to settle for that though – oh no!

This Liverpool team wanted all three points.

Another attack by the men in a traditional all white away kit which does not need to be messed about with – looking stunning with black shorts, as any time down the years. With less than a minute of what, four minutes added on, there was an even great, clearer, louder, explosion of noise which boomed out now from the Liverpool fans and instantly I knew we had scored but just needed confirmation.

I got it as I was informed that Sadio Mane had scored with a class header which I saw later appeared to come off the back of his head and go past Tom Heaton on his right post.

What a header. What a significant moment maybe.

I was thrilled. Going nuts if truth be told, in my best ‘Dave Coaches’ Gavin n Stacey, voice. Shouting like a mad-man, ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes,’ over and over as we kept our six- point lead over City. Liverpool had come back from the dead and had somehow managed to grasp a win out of the jaws of defeat…

I spared a thought for Neil and his mates. I bet they were gutted. Villa are a decent club and team with – as I have discovered, just great people following them.

However, I have a burning passion for Liverpool and it over-rides almost everything, again it burnt brightly as any fire work on this day…

3/11/19
2076
 



Commando

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Another great read Andy. You've articulated brilliantly the huge range of emotions that I'm sure every Red experienced on Saturday afternoon. Hope for a win and some nerves. Deflation when Villa scored. Anger when Bobby's goal was ruled out and Sadio was booked after being fouled. Relief when Robbo got the equaliser and hope again. Ecstasy when Sadio got the winner and Love for our mighty Reds that they just refuse to lie down.

All the best with your research into Leighton Phillips. Does he know about your project?

BTW did you have any sweets while listening to the game? :)

Keep the articles coming. It's always good to hear other fans' take on their match day experience.
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
189
Another great read Andy. You've articulated brilliantly the huge range of emotions that I'm sure every Red experienced on Saturday afternoon. Hope for a win and some nerves. Deflation when Villa scored. Anger when Bobby's goal was ruled out and Sadio was booked after being fouled. Relief when Robbo got the equaliser and hope again. Ecstasy when Sadio got the winner and Love for our mighty Reds that they just refuse to lie down.

All the best with your research into Leighton Phillips. Does he know about your project?

BTW did you have any sweets while listening to the game? :)

Keep the articles coming. It's always good to hear other fans' take on their match day experience.
Hi, thank you very much for reading the piece and also for your comments; much appreciated.

Every time we play I feel as though I may not be able to write something but then it just comes out!

As regards my project, I will continue my research and then maybe, if I can, contact him at all, I will do so sometime after Christmas now.
However, I was wondering, as he was part of the Villa team from 1974-1978 if it maybe worth posting something on our Forum, asking for memories of Our experiences playing Villa in that period - like the time they beat us 0-5 in 1976-77!!! I mean, they thrashed the future Champions of Europe!! It would be just great to be able to slip something about my beloved reds in there!