Game | #3405 |

Season | 1975-76 |

Matchday | #26 |

League Match-week | #22 |

Manager Game | #81 |

Saturday, 20 December 1975

Football League | Division One | Away | Leeds United | Elland Road | 29,118 |

Game Summary |

Manager | Ron Saunders |

FT Result | Lost |
FT Score | 0-1 |

Last 5 Games | WDDWL |

Line Up |

GK John Burridge |

FB John Robson |

LB Charlie Aitken |

D Ian Ross |

D Chris Nicholl |

M Leighton Phillips |

W Ray Graydon |

M Frank Pimblett |

CF Andy Gray |

M Chico Hamilton | SUB OFF | 70' |

W Frank Carrodus |

Substitute |
LB Bobby McDonald for M Chico Hamilton | 70' |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 24.93 | 

Oldest Player | D Chris Nicholl | 29.19 |

Youngest Player | F John Deehan | 18.36 |

Unavailable |

CF Keith Leonard |
F Brian Little |
FB John Gidman |
F John Deehan |​

Match Report


*Monday 22 December 1975*
*Birmingham Daily Post*


Nicholl is Villa's latest casualty 

Leeds 1, Aston Villa 0 

Chris Nicholl needed three stitches in an ankle cut after this defeat and, along with John Gidman and John Deehan, must be considered doubtful for Aston Villa's matches with West Ham on Boxing Day and Derby the day after. Both Gidman and Deehan have hamstring strains and missed the Elland Road match. Villa missed them, too, and can thank Nicholl and goalkeeper John Burridge that Leeds did not score more. Even then, Duncan McKenzie and Allan Clarke missed chances. 

Faced with these two, arguably the most skilful pair of strikers in the First Division, Nicholl did admirably while Burridge was brilliant, having no chance with Clarke's goal, his 100th since joining Leeds. Burridge was watched by Don Revie, who must surely have noted his name for some form of representative honours. He saw the former Blackpool goalkeeper make three almost unbelievable saves all of differing types. The first was a leap to touch over a typically thunderous free kick by Peter Lorimer, the second was a sprawling dive to scrape McKenzie's header round a post. But the third was the best. He could only knock away McKenzie's swinging shot but he reacted with electric speed and considerable courage to block Lorimer's header from the rebound. 

"One of the best saves I have ever seen," said Villa's manager, Ron Saunders. Saunders also summed up the match neatly when he said: "In the first half we made them play, In the second we let let them play. And there's a world of difference." 

In the first half Villa might have scored two or three times. Frank Carrodus, pressed into action as a front runner because of Deehan's unexpected absence, and Chico Hamilton both ought to have scored while Paul Madeley cleared a shot from Ray Graydon off the line. 


But in the second half Villa often stood back as Leeds applied tighter pressure. Their passing was not so loose and in one patch McKenzie was magical. Even he, though, did not match the skills of Eddie Gray. It was the best performance I have seen from the richly talented but injury bedevilled Scottish winger since the Cup final with Chelsea. And I left Elland Road, as I have so often, wondering why, with players like Eddie Gray, McKenzie and the magnificent Madeley, they have to break the laws so often. For instance, there were three blatant over the top tackles in the first ten minutes - the inevitable Leeds' softening up process and even the home supporters were angry at the excesses. Leeds have always wondered why they have not received similar adulation to other all-conquering teams like. say, Manchester United. It must be part of the reason if they can make their own fans uncomfortable. 

Villa had a late rally when Andy Gray, otherwise held by Madeley, sent a powerful header over the bar and in the final seconds just failed to reach a chip from John Robson. But until they can show away from home the same belief they have at home they will continue to struggle on opponents' grounds. 

Post Match


*Tuesday 23 December 1975*
*Birmingham Daily Post*


Villa poised for £200,000 signing 

Aston Villa manager Ron Saunders said last night that he hopes to give the club's supporters a £200,000 Christmas present. I believe the “present" to be an international class midfield man and understand the deal a club record for Villa, could be concluded today. Saunders is keeping the name of his "present" firmly under wraps but it may be Tony Currie, the Sheffield United England player he has been interested in for some time. The problem here is that Currie only returned on Saturday following an appendix operation. Saunders has been anxious to strengthen his midfield for some time, as witnessed by the attempt to sign Manchester City's Rodney Marsh a couple of weeks ago.

Sammy Morgan, Villa's Northern Ireland international striker, travels to Brighton today after the clubs agreed a fee of £33.000. Morgan recently turned down a move to the South Coast club but the indications are that  he will sign today.

Post Match


*Wednesday 24 December 1975*
*Birmingham Daily Post*


Prudent Villa sign Mortimer 

Aston-Villa were quietly congratulating themselves yesterday on the economic foresight which enabled them to splash £175,000 on Coventry's Dennis Mortimer. Two and a half years ago they told their supporters that there was no money to buy players. The fans wanted them to ape other clubs and attempt to buy success and there was anger and derision when Villa said they preferred to balance their books. 

The next season they sold Bruce Rioch to Derby for £200,000, which also helped them move towards economic stability but brought them further criticism. Now prudence is fashionable, as well as necessary, and Villa are able to take advantage of falling prices by making offers which other clubs dare not refuse. The fee is a club record and second only this season to Leighton James’ £300.000 move to Derby. It is fair to say that had they tried to buy Mortimer two years ago when the transfer boom was at Its height they would have had to pay out around £225,000. This latest fee brought Villa manager Ron Saunders's spending on transfers this season to  £365,000. First he spent £90,000 on John Burridge and next £110,000 the previous record on Andy Gray. In his first season as manager he bought Leighton Phillips for £90.000 and Frank Carrodus for £80,000. 

The total is some £535,000 which, considering the success the club have already had under his managership, is not an excessive sum. It contrasts with Coventry's need to sell players and Saunders said: "The object is to build Aston Villa into the best club in Britain and we shall go on building. If players become available at the right price I shall continue to recommend them to my board." 

He is helped In that Villa's average gate is 38,279 the third highest In the First Division behind Manchester United and Liverpool whereas Coventry's is the lowest.




But It is now obvious that Villa have taken over from Coventry as the Midlands' most progressive dub. When Jimmy Hill took Coventry into the First Division he said there was only one dub he feared and that was the resurrection of Aston Villa. He was right and it Is a sad irony that Villa should be buying Coventry's best player so soon after Hill's return to the club as managing director. Mortimer himself is In no doubt which is now the Midlands top club. "This move must further my ambitions to play for England," he said. "It will throw me into the limelight more often. We weren't watched by very big crowds at Coventry.” 

Post Match


*Wednesday 24 December 1975*
*Birmingham Daily Post*

Morgan moves to Brighton 

Aston Villa recouped some of the fee involved in the Dennis Mortimer deal with Coventry yesterday when Sammy Morgan joined Brighton for £35.000 six weeks after turning them down.