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Where Are They Now? Villa’s 1982 European Cup winners

By Neil Fissler

TONY MORLEY insists Aston Villa knew they were the best team in Europe 12 months before the greatest night in the club’s history.

Morley set up Peter Withe to score the only goal of the final against Bayern Munich in Rotterdam, as Villa rounded off their first season in the competition by lifting the trophy.

It was the sixth consecutive year the cup would remain in the hands of an English team after Liverpool won it three times and Nottingham Forest twice.

Morley says that, at the time, you needed to be the strongest team in Europe to be crowned champions of England, which Villa were in 1981.

“We were the outsiders. It was the first time we had been in the European Cup but we didn’t fear anybody. We knew, over two legs, we had a chance of beating anybody.

“We were nervous because we had never been there before.

“It was new territory. We were outsiders but Forest had done it over the previous couple of seasons.

“To win our league, you had to be the best in Europe. The European Cup had been in our league for a long time. If you won our league you were going to compete in Europe.”

“Shaw, Williams, prepared to venture down the left. There’s a good ball in for Tony Morley. Oh, it must be and it is! It’s Peter Withe.”

Brian Moore’s commentary is now immortalised on a stand at Villa Park and Morley says he knew he would only need one chance to create something.

After 67 minutes, Morley got his opportunity and he made the most of it but laughs that Withe certainly didn’t mean to score with his right foot.

“It was my one big chance of the game. I’d had a couple on the halfway line, but it was different because they double marked. I knew I’d get a decent chance and I was confident that, if I got the ball one on one 20 yards out, I could create a goal.

“I saw Peter coming in, so I pinged the ball across. It hit a divot. We all know if he’d caught it cleanly on his right foot, it would have gone over the stand.

“His right foot was for standing on, but it hit his ankle and went in off the post.

“The most famous goal in Villa history came off his ankle!”
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  1. Terry Bullivant: A midfielder who went into coaching and has managed Barnet, Reading and Crystal Palace. Now, the chief scout at Millwall.
  2. Tony Morley: A winger who has worked as a salesman, coached kids and works for Villa doing commentaries on the club website.
  3. Jimmy Rimmer: The England goalkeeper became a keeper coach at home and in China. He now lives in Gowerton, Swansea in retirement.
  4. Ken McNaught: A centre-half who was head of events at Gleneagles hotel and general manager of a gold mine as well as the Villa Former Players Association.
  5. Pat Heard: A midfielder who has been a publican and stage hypnotist, sold overseas property and confidential phone lines to stars. Now, a driving instructor.
  6. Jim Williams: Went to work at the Droitwich Knee Clinic and was there for 22 years until retiring in 2010.
  7. Gary Williams: A left-back who settled in Yorkshire, where he worked in the pub trade and then the computer industry.
  8. Colin Gibson: The left back has been an independent financial adviser, players’ agent and is now managing director of his own investment firm.
  9. Gary Shaw: A striker who has been a sales executive in Hong Kong, coached kids and a brewery rep. He has also worked for the Press Association news agency in the Midlands.
  10. Mark Jones: A right-back who settled in the Shrewsbury area, where he runs his own plastering and dry-lining firm.
  11. Gordon Cowans: The England midfielder went into coaching at Burnley, before returning to Villa Park where he has worked with the youth, reserve and first teams.
  12. Roy Maclaren: Former assistant manager whose son Bruce had a spell at the club. Lives in Melbourne, where he ran a coaching school.
  13. Des Bremner: The Scotland midfielder, whose brother Kevin played for Millwall, has worked for the PFA players’ union and is now a financial adviser in the West Midlands.
  14. Allan Evans: The Scotland centre-half has managed WBA, Morton and Plymouth Argyle’s youth team. He’s now living in Saltash, Cornwall, and works as a driving instructor.
  15. Kenny Swain: A right-back who managed Wigan Athletic and was director of football at Thomas Telford School. He has also worked for the Football Association.
  16. Tony Barton: He went on to manage Northampton and was a scout before his death in August 1993 following a heart attack, aged 56.
  17. Dennis Mortimer: The midfielder worked for the PFA as a coach in the Midlands and has also been director of football for Wolves Ladies. He has also worked for Villa Radio.
  18. Peter Withe: The England striker managed Wimbledon and Stockport County and has also managed Thailand, Indonesia and PTT Rayong. He now works in the media.
  19. Andy Blair: A midfielder who ran a chain of sports and schoolwear shops in Coventry and then scouted for Stoke. His son, Matty, has just joined Doncaster Rovers.

NOT PICTURED

Nigel Spink: The England goalkeeper was a keeper coach and managed Forest Green Rovers. Now a partner in S&M Couriers in Sutton Coldfield.

David Geddis: The former striker went into coaching has worked for the FA as a scout for the senior England side and the Under-21s.

Brendan Ormsby: The central defender settled in Leeds, where he was a postman and has written a column for a Leeds newspaper.

Terry Donovan: A striker who now runs his own mortgage advice company, Cleethorpes.  His father, Don, was an Ireland international.

Ivor Linton: A midfielder who still lives in his native West Bromwich, where he is working as an electrician.

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