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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Peter Withe

Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)

Shaw; Williams prepared to venture down left. There’s a great ball played in for Tony Morley. It must be. It is! Peter Withe!

We all know the fabled commentary from that night, but we might not know much about the man who scored the goal. Peter Withe released his book ‘All For The Love Of The Game’ today, which is available to purchase through his son, Stephen Withe on his Facebook page.

Inside is all you need to know about the man who scored the goal that secured our only European Championship.

But until then, you can get an insight of what Peter is like with our exclusive The Claret and View interview:

Hi Peter – in a long and fruitful career you played for one of Villa’s biggest rivals – Birmingham City. What were the key differences that you could attribute to Villa’s success at the time?

The reason for our success at Aston Villa was simple – we had a bunch of players who had a great camaraderie – and we believed in ourselves.”

It’s a question you’ve probably been asked a thousand times. But how did scoring the winning goal against Bayern Munich feel?

“It’s everyone’s dream to score goals. But in such an important match, like any final, it can only be described as special. All that this team had worked for and then coming up against one of the best teams in Europe and beating them? Fairy tales are made of this.”

What can readers expect from your new book ‘All For The Love Of The Game’?

Interesting anecdotes and stories about my life and growing up, and then making it in the big world of football from a humble background. Exploring what I could do best, which was play football. With stories about over fourteen clubs and twenty-five managers to talk about, it certainly makes interesting reading.”

When you signed for Aston Villa in 1980, at the age of twenty-nine, you became the club record signing – do you think this kind of faith shown by Ron Saunders helped your career in Claret & Blue?

“When I met Ron at the Metropol Hotel in the NEC, he proved to me he had a vision of what he wanted to achieve and the way that the club could win more trophies. He said I was the final piece in his jigsaw, and we had a team that was ready to do just that. So although it was a record fee, it never crossed my mind. That was what Newcastle wanted and Ron was prepared to pay it. The rest is history.”

The terrific commentary of that fateful night still hangs from the stands, and you’re considered one of the best forwards in Villa’s history. Who do you think Villa’s best forward in the last decade has been?

“I would have to say Christian Benteke. He was so good in his time at Aston Villa. He scored vital goals to keep the club in the Premier League.”

Only fourteen players were used during the whole of the 1981 title winning campaign, how did you keep wining despite playing such an abundance of games?

We were old school. All the players wanted to play every game and had such an appetite to not only play, but to win as well. In those days, players played with injuries. We also had players who played in multiple positions, like Des Bremner played midfield but also centre half, and Garry Williams who played across the defence. We had a very versatile team.”

You were the first Aston Villa player to be selected in a England World Cup Finals squad. A number of current and former Villa players have represented England since – which of these would you have liked to play with the most?

“Probably Darius Vassell. It just so happened that I signed him for Aston Villa when he was at the Academy. Great talent.”

In the past, you expressed that you’ve dreamt of one day managing Aston Villa. Has this ship now sailed?

In this game you never say never. I still have the same passion I have always had for the game and still think I have something to offer. The knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years will always be there, and passing that knowledge on is something I’m good at. 

 

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