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Inter wonderland! 20 years on from Villa's famous European night...

Byline: Mat Kendrick @matkendrick

"THE whole nation was on its tiptoes late last night in tribute to one of the great European dramas starring magnificent, dauntless Villa.

Phil King, fair-headed joker in the Villa pack, was the man who dispatched the UEFA Cup holders from the competition, cool as Bob Hope at a royal command performance.

And how aptly named the left-back is. Villa were kings on a night that rivalled any in their European history in excitement (if not importance)..."

Those were the words of the Mail's Villa man Leon Hickman 20 years ago this week, but anyone who watched Villa defeat Inter Milan will have their own memories of that famous night.

Chances are Phil King's thrilling shoot-out penalty at Villa Park will feature highly among them. But there were a whole host of memorable moments and interesting occurrences relating to that match. We've selected five of them....

1) LEE HENDRIE PHOTO-BOMBED THE CELEBRATORY PICS SADLY we couldn't locate the original copy of this photo which appears in the Birmingham Evening Mail the day after E the triumph, so apologies for the quality of the reproduced picture (above).

However, on closer inspection, it is still possible to make out the unmistakable facial features of Lee Hendrie, beaming with joy next to Ron Atkinson and Jim Walker.

Back then Hendrie was a 17-year-old youth-teamer yet to make a name for himself. Which possibly explains why our report simply refers to him as "boy fan".

"The delight reflected on the faces of physio Jim Walker, manager Ron Atkinson and a boy fan caught the emotion of a nation held enthralled by the match in a million."

2) PHIL KING'S MEMORIES STILL BURN BRIGHTLY GHTLY GHTL Unfortunately, the penalty king, Phil King, lost most of his treasured momentoes of that famous night during a garage fire at his home several years ago. His playing shirt, match programme and cuttings from a host of newspapers were among the memorabilia ruined by the blaze in Bristol.

shirt, match Fortunately, King's recollections of the UEFA Cup victory over Inter remain so vivid that he does not need possessions to bring memories of the occasion flooding back.

King was invited back to Villa Park as a guest of honour when Villa hosted Inter Milan in a pre-season friendly in the summer of 2007.

3) PAGL P IUCAIS A VILLA FAN We didn't know it at the time, but the goalkeeper trying, but failing, to stop King was of a claret and blue persuasion - and still is.

Only in the past 18 months has it emerged that Inter Milan and Italy legend Gianluca Pagliuca actually supports Villa. He recently revealed that he developed an affection for the club when they won the title in 1981 after falling in love with the "beautiful" and "unique" shirt.

Asked to recall the UEFA Cup tie, he said: "I was happy because it meant I was able to play at Villa Park, but it was very strange to face the team that I supported.

"The second leg in that beautiful stadium was emotional.

"I remember that we were ahead in the penalty shoot-out, and I saved from Guy Whittingham. But we missed our last two penalties before Phil King scored the decisive goal."

4) DEE DEE NAA NAA NAA The match was on a Thursday night, but it was Saturday Night by Whigfield that was at No.1 in the singles charts. "It's party time and not one minute we can lose," sang the Danish popstar among the lyrics to her kitsch hit. How right she was!

5) KEVIN KEEGAN LOVED IT THAT VILLA BEAT INTER, LOVED IT It wasn't just the 30,533 crowd who enjoyed witnessing Villa's late-night Italian feast, so too did Kevin Keegan, as Ron Atkinson would explain in his book Big Ron: A Different Ball Game. "Up on the gantry that night was Kevin Keegan in his role as television pundit.

"At 11pm on that famous Thursday, Kevin was still commentating on Villa's heroic deeds in the knowledge that by 3pm on Saturday his Newcastle team would be playing us.

"He must have loved every minute of our attempt at allnight football. Just for the record we played very well against the Geordies but eventually lost 2-0 when there was just nothing left in the energy tank for the Villa players."

loan This was not just a great result for Aston Villa. It was a great result England. I cannot remember enjoying a result so much in all my career

CAPTION(S):

Ray | Houghton (left) and Steve Staunton at Villa Park

a in Jubilant Villa fans and (below) Phil King, Dalian Atkinson and Ray Houghton |
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 1, 2014
Words:780
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