#60 Ron Saunders Aston Villa Legacy is Very Much Alive But Why Did Villa Let it Slip So Badly?

Ron Saunders Legacy

Over the past couple of weeks, MOMS has randomly received three messages from Aston Villa fans honouring former Villa boss Ron Saunders and his achievements and signing off ‘RIP’.

This may have something to do with the minutes applause at the recent Leeds game at Villa Park in his honour, when his image came on the big screens on the 81st minute, which left many Villans confused by what was happening. Such applauses are normally reserved for those who pass away.

Saunders, now 86, while a long-term suffer of dementia is still very much with us. The former Villa boss and Howard Wilkinson (of Leeds) are the only surviving English managers to have won the First Division or Premier League title. An alarming statistic in itself, which shows you the magnitude of Saunder’s achievement at Villa Park.

Buy Villa’s League Winning Shirt

The burning question from Aston Villa supporters looking back at the late 1970’s and 1980’s, is why after winning the league title and European Cup, the club were unable to build a longer period of legacy?

Instead, they got relegated within five years of being the Champions of Europe. How very Aston Villa…

Was it simply a case of Ron Saunders leaving the club?

One man, Richard Sydenham, decided to write a book called Ticket to the Moon about this puzzling period of Villa’s history and get to the bottom of what went wrong in what was the club’s all too short golden era.

Villa’s Golden Years

Since it’s a period close to MOMS’ heart we decided to get Richard on the My Old Man Said podcast to discuss the period of Villa history and some of the stories behind the book – from having access to Villa boardroom minutes and memos to going to Doug Ellis’s house to interview him for the book.

There’s some interesting discussion including little known snipers like how Brian Clough nearly became Villa manager and why Ron Saunders resisted the England national team job.

It’s a very well researched book that is built on the research gained from Richard interviewing many of the players and managers involved in the period that covers Villa’s rise under Ron Saunders in the late 1970’s to their demise in the mid-to-late 1980’s.

The book also has the insight and blessing of both Ron Saunders and Tony Barton’s families.

The podcast episode is a good solid hour of reminiscing and discussing of the era, that is the bedrock of many a fan’s best memories of their club.

Below you can both listen to the podcast episode and also enter a competition to win one of three copies of the book.


Ticket to the Moon Competition

MOMS has three copies of the book Ticket to the Moon: Aston Villa – The Rise and Fall of a European Champion to give away to readers.

Simply answer the following easy question and email your answer to contact@myoldmansaid.com under the subject ‘Ticket to the Moon’

MOMS Patrons will automatically be entered.

COMPETITION QUESTION: Who was the Villa manager when they lifted the European Cup in Rotterdam?

You can buy the Ticket to the Moon book at the best price around, here – https://amzn.to/2Rdn4y7

Episode 60 Notes

MOMS #60: Aston Villa – The Rise and Fall of a European Champion

My Old Man Said’s David Michael interviews Richard Sydenham, author of Ticket to the Moon: Aston Villa – The Rise and Fall of a European Champion, to discuss the book which charts Villa’s golden period and rise to the pinnacle of European football and then why it went so wrong, so quickly.

The interview includes Sydenham’s experiences of talking to many of Villa’s players from the period, a trip to the late Doug Ellis’s house, winning the trust of the Ron Saunders and Tony Barton families, as well as his interviews with ex-bosses like Graham Turner and Ron Atkinson.

Also, he tells the My Old Man Said podcast how he got access to the club’s boardroom notes and memos, which makes the book an authority on the club’s most fascinating and glorious period, and why it didn’t turn into a longer legacy of success.




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For more details and to become a Patron, click here: Join MOMS Patrons

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David Michael – @oldmansaid 

Richard Sydenham – @BigStarRich

Producer/Editor – David Michael

My Old Man Said – https://myoldmansaid.com


  1. Separate subject I know but I’m personally very pleased and want to say fair play to Tammy Abraham showing loyalty to us and now Chelsea have backed it up by announcing a £50m valuation on him which has effectively served two purposes its shut the crazy journos up and priced the player out of the market. I’m just a fan but I can say without any doubt. Tammy Abraham’s is a villa player for the rest of this season, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we can manage to get promotionthat our mega rich owners might be able with help from John Terry negotiate a deal with Chelsea to sign him on a permanent contract. Let’s see what happens.

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