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Wednesday, May 19, 1999 Published at 21:41 GMT 22:41 UK

When Villa kept the cup in England

The Villa 16, with Spink third from left at the back

Aston Villa 1-0 Bayern Munich
Withe 67
26 May 1982, Feyenoord Stadium, Rotterdam

After Bayern had denied Leeds in 1975, English clubs had dominated this competition with the trophy going to Liverpool and Nottingham Forest between 1977 and 1981.

United's Euro Showdown
But like Leeds, Villa went into their showdown with Munich without the man who had built the team.

Ron Saunders had given way to his assistant Tony Barton midway through the season.

[ image: Tony Barton: Four months a manager before Euro win]
Tony Barton: Four months a manager before Euro win
And while Manchester United's final will be goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel's last appearance for the club, the story of Villa's big night revolved around a keeper or two.

Jimmy Rimmer was the experienced number one, an England international who was actually in the United final squad of 1968 at the age of 20.

But after watching that game from the sidelines, he was destined to play just 10 minutes here when a neck injury suffered in training two days beforehand forced him out of the match.

His replacement was a goalkeeping novice, who now had the task of stopping a German side including double European footballer of the year Karl Heinz Rummenige and veteran skipper Paul Breitner.

Nigel Spink went on to play 456 games for the Midlands club but this second first team appearance remained his most important.

[ image: With a shake of the head Rimmer accepts the inevitable]
With a shake of the head Rimmer accepts the inevitable
The 23-year-old had waited patiently for his chance with Rimmer usually overcoming minor knocks by matchday.

And the full extent of a neck injury sustained two days before the final was kept from the young understudy.

"I thought Jimmy being him, that he was going to be OK for the whole game," explained Spink years later.

"It wasn't until he came over and signalled to the bench less than a minute, two minutes before I came on that I knew I was going to be playing.

"I didn't have time to get nervous and that was the big factor on the night."

[ image: Rummenige: Won European Championship in 1980]
Rummenige: Won European Championship in 1980
Within minutes Spink had been forced into making an agile save, the first of a series in a rearguard action, although the keeper rejects the suggestion that Villa's win was completely against the run of play.

"We defended resolutely and I probably had half a dozen saves to make," he explained.

"In a game, which was supposed to be so one-sided it wasn't a great deal."

While Spink was the unexpected hero, Villa's goalscorer was more predictable, as were the men who supplied the chance.

Peter Withe, Gary Shaw and Tony Morley scored 48 goals between them in Villa's championship year and the attacking trio delivered on the highest stage, as Shaw fed a Morley run into the Bayern box.

[ image: Tony Morley: Winger provided ammunition for Withe and Shaw]
Tony Morley: Winger provided ammunition for Withe and Shaw
The winger twisted and turned Klaus Augenthaler before delivering a vicious ball across the area to an unmarked Withe.

Just six yards out, he actually came closer to missing the most famous goal in the club's history than he would have liked.

"It just hit a bobble and sat up a bit. I half hit it with my foot and half hit it with my shin," he explained later.

The result was a shot which struck the inside of the post and flew in to the net followed by the striker to salute 10,000 Villa fans at that end of the ground.

It had looked like a deliberate attempt to play a one-two with the post, and Withe believes it turned out to be perfect finish, because a shot to the centre may well have simply struck the keeper.

The Germans did have the ball in the net three minutes before time, although this time there was no doubt over an offside decision.

[ image: Dennis Mortimer lifts the trophy]
Dennis Mortimer lifts the trophy
Villa had overcome one of the great teams of European football, and captain Dennis Mortimer lifted the trophy for a team underestimated by the media and teams from across the continent.

So English fans could celebrate a rare win over the Germans although goalscorer Withe was forced to down his first beer of the night in a caravan with two Bayern players.

The group had been randomly selected for drugs tests, and the hot early summer night prevented any rapid deliveries of urine samples.

So there was no alternative but for all of them to drink to English football's sixth European Cup win in a row.

Aston Villa: Rimmer (Spink); Swain, Evans, McNaught, Williams; Bremner, Cowans, Mortimer; Shaw, Withe, Morley

Bayern Munich: Muller; Dremmler, Weiner, Augenthaler, Horsmann; Mathy (Guttler), Breitner, Kraus (Niedermayer), Durnberger; Rummenigge, Hoeness

Referee: Konrath (France), Attendance: 39,776

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