Video of the Day: Portsmouth vs Aston Villa, January 1986
This year’s FA Cup Third Round replays kick off this evening and it’s unlikely that the results of this week’s matches can be as moribund as they were the first time around. One of the teams replaying this week is Aston Villa, who have now taken four points from their last two Premier League matches and are starting to show signs of being a football team again. Thirty years ago this month Villa were also away in the Third Round of the FA Cup, this time against Portsmouth of the Second Division, Pompey were undergoing something of a revival, having sunk to the Fourth Division for the first time in the club’s history in 1978. They won promotion two years later, and in 1983 they were the champions of the Third Divsion. The previous season, they’d missed out on promotion to the top flight on goal difference to Manchester City.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, were on the slide. The team had finished in the top six in the First Division once since winning the league title for the first time in a little over seventy years, in 1981. Ron Saunders had long gone and even the memory of the club’s 1982 European Cup final against Bayern Munich was already starting to fade at the edges. Villa went into this game having not won the FA Cup – indeed, having not reached an FA Cup final – since 1957, so there was all to play for at Fratton Park. Note a reducer of a tackle by Portsmouth’s enforcer, Noel Blake, in the opening action of the match, as well as the presence of a by now extremely veteran Mick Channon up front for them. Commentary for this match comes from Martin Tyler.
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