Ahead of the start of the 2012/3 Premiership season, Robert Hogg takes a look at some of the classic English top flight kits from days gone by - starting with Aston Villa’s magnificent Mita lace up number.
1992/93 was a season for mixed emotions in Birmingham. On the one hand, Aston Villa led the inaugural Premiership for much of the campaign, Paul McGrath won the PFA Player of Year Award and Dalian Atkinson scored the goal of the season.
But disappointment came with a late collapse culminating in a 1-0 reverse at Boundary Park against Oldham, and the end of Mita Copiers’ long and happy reign as shirt sponsors.
Aston Villa, Umbro, 1992/3
The season itself started out promisingly, the squad strengthened by Ron Atkinson’s adding depth to the frontline with a candid transfer strategy;
“We have about 40 names broken down to the A list, the B list, the C list and the Panic list.”
Whether Dean Saunders was on the Panic list is not known, but a man who certainly wasn’t was Ray Houghton. Houghton had been determined to move to London and join Chelsea, but Big Ron was able to persuade him otherwise, as Houghton says;
“There was this big thing about my wife wanting to go back to London. She did a bit but there is no problem. The manager and chairman took us around, showed us some nice places.”
Difficult to please Houghton was no doubt also swayed by some kind words from Atkinson, giving him the highest possible praise that he;
“stands comparison with Trevor Steven”.
By December, Norwich were top of the table with negative goal difference. Villa overhauled them, but didn’t quite have the legs to hold out till the end of the season. Speaking of missing body parts, Paul ‘no knees’ McGrath had perhaps his finest season, able to concentrate on playing by having his training participation reduced to collecting the balls.
McGrath is now working in Ireland, and why not have a listen to his recently released album?
The season came to an end with Villa finishing in a very respectable second place. And Mita went out on a high, having successfully ridden the short-lived wave of ‘lace up collar mania’ that had gripped kitrooms from Old Trafford to Villa Park.
On a final note, fans of watching the build up to matches might enjoy this Aston Villa versus Arsenal clip where analyst Andy Gray pinpoints the ‘interesting confrontation’ of Steve Froggatt vs Pal Lydersen as a key clash in the game.
Is this the greatest Aston Villa shirt ever? Lets us know through twitter @thefootballsc