Smith: ‘I saw Villa games for free’

By Graham Hill

DEAN Smith has revealed he used to watch Aston Villa matches for nothing as a young fan.

The Villa boss will lead his side to Wembley on Bank Holiday Monday for the Championship Play-off Final against Derby County.

But it is far cry from the days when he and his brother would help clean the seats at Villa Park.

Smith’s father was a steward at Villa – and the man who was to go on and manage the club used to help out.

And that earned him a free spot on the Holte End.

Smith told BBC Radio WM’s Football Phone-In: “I use to clean the seats.

“I cleaned them in the Witton Lane Stand and in the North Stand.

“Sometimes even the Trinity Road. My old man was a steward and three or four of use – my brother included – used to go down there early and get the dust off them.

“And I could go up the Holte End for nothing then.”

But there was one game that Smith was not allowed to go to – Villa’s biggest game ever – the 1982 European Cup Final.

Smith added: “There’d been a bit of trouble in the first leg of the semi-final against Anderlecht.

“The old man thought it was a little bit dangerous for an 11 year old boy to go over there with his brother. He left us both at home and I don’t think my brother ever forgave him!”

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