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Dee, 17/01/1940: Sports gossip
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-01-17 17:59:17
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
— Simon Dee | 17/01/1940 —
A valued correspondent, Mr. G. Barlow, in an interesting letter, revives memories of Howard Spencer, whose death was announced this week, and of his team, which must very nearly have been another team of "all the talents".
Spencer was one of the herous of my very youthful days, and although I can not recall so many memories of him as does my correspondent, I do remember Aston Villa of that time because it was the big team of my district, and the great full-back was regarded as the big gentleman-professional of the game.
I have seen it stated that he was never once warned by a referee, and certainly I have no recollection of seeing a foul given against him.
But here is Mr. Barlow. He writtes:
— I first had the pleasure of seeing Howard Spencer play in a cup-tie for Aston Villa v. Millwall Athletic on the old East Ferryroad ground, Isle of Dogs, which was the old ground of Millwall, prior to their going to The Den at New Cross.
What a great team Aston Villa was in the late nineties, when I first saw Howard Spencer in that memorable cup-tie. It was that match which caused them to be known as the Villains. They were: Johnny Whitehouse, Howard Spencer, Bill Evans, Jimmy Crabtree, Albert Wilkes, John Cowan, Charlie Athersmith, John Devey, Johnny Campbell, Freddie Wheldon and Steve Smith. Eight of that team were internationals.
Certainly the names mentioned also conjured up memories to others. I, too, recall most of them, and it has always been my opinion that Jimmy Crabtree was the best player of all-time, and for this reason: He was a star player in nearly every position on the field.
I have seen him play a great game in goal, and I remember on one occasion when he was playing at full-back and with his goalkeeper beaten, Crabtree pulled the ball out of the goal with his neck when many full-backs would have punched it out and given a penalty.
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