By Graham Hill
IT was February, 1972, Villa hosted Bournemouth on the old Third Division – and it was on Match of the Day!
That was when the BBC’s flagship football programme only showed two of the games that had taken place that Saturday.
It was virtually unheard of for such a lowly game to make it on to Saturday night TV.
But there was a reason – a record crowd for the third tier of English football, 48,110 – even Saturday’s long awaited Premier League return against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth will not see that figure repeated.
That number has only been surpassed since by the Sheffield derby. But 47 years ago, both clubs were heading for promotion.
For Villa, it was the step back to a promotion that had eluded them the previous season – although that had reached the League Cup Final where they lost to Tottenham at Wembley.
But the Bournemouth game was part of a bigger picture – and the attendance reflected that.
Villa would go on to win the Third Division title – but Bournemouth missed out on promotion to Brighton.
On this day, Villa ended up as 2-1 winners with goals from Geoff Vowden and Andy Lochhead – now 78 years old.
Villa had to come back from a goal down though after Bournemouth took the lead through danger man Ted MacDougall – a man who once scored nine goals in an FA Cup tie. Take a look at the video for MacDougall’s superb diving header.
These were heady days at Villa Park after the shock of being relegated to the third tier of the English game two years earlier. And their next home game was against Pele’s Brazilian side Santos. The crowd? 54,437!