Watch: News report on Aston Villa behind closed doors on this day in 1982

John Reid September 15, 2020
Watch: News report on Aston Villa behind closed doors on this day in 1982
Photo by Reavenall/Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Playing behind closed doors is something that all football teams have had to get used to in the last few months.

Sadly the pandemic doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, and for at least another few weeks games will need to be played behind closed doors.

One of the teams that is affected by this is Premier League side Aston Villa.

However, this isn’t the first time that Villa has had to play games behind closed doors. In fact, they did so 38 years ago today.

Photo by Gerry Armes/Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Villa began their defence of the European Cup with a 3-1 win over Besiktas played on this day in 1982.

Unique game played due to crowd trouble

The game was played behind closed doors, reports the Guardian, due to crowd trouble in Villa’s semi-final against Anderlecht the previous season.

Now footage from that day has emerged, thanks to YouTube account Neil Miles.

Miles has uploaded footage from ITV News on this day in 1982. The news report features a story from outside Villa Park, and helicopter footage from above Villa Park as the game was going on.

Interestingly, fans gathered near the stadium to listen to the game on the radio. Obviously, that can’t happen during these current socially distant times.

Nowadays if a European Cup/Champions League game was played behind closed doors if would be shown live on television anyway. That wasn’t the case back in the early 1980s, where live football was a rarity, not the expectation.

Fans had to listen on radio

There is no way that fans would have to listen to such an important game on the radio. Football seems to be a far bigger game now than it was in the 1980s. Especially when it comes to media coverage.

Photo by Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Still, Villa weren’t put off by the situation. They defeated Besiktas and ended up reaching the quarter-finals of the tournament before losing to Juventus.

That is a more than respectable defence of the European Cup. Football really was a different game in the early 1980s, and this story is just an example of that.

Still, it is interesting to see that for very different reasons than now, Aston Villa were playing behind closed doors on this day in 1982.

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John Reid is an experienced journalist, specialising in Scottish football for a number of years.