Believe it or not, it has been twenty years since Villa fans last stood on the Holte terrace, a place filled with many magical memories.
As a disappointing season, in which Big Ron’s claret and blue army finished tenth in the table, drew to its close, the Holte’s last stand drew the biggest crowd at a league game in the 1993-94 campaign, with fans determined to bid the terrace adieu before a new £8 million two tiered stand was erected.
The Villans endured a miserable start to the game, run ragged by the visitors from Liverpool. When Robbie Fowler put the visitors ahead in the seventeenth minute, heads dropped.
It was Bosnich who kept the home side in the game, making a number of superb saves in the first half.
Atkinson substituted Stefan Beinlich and Tony Daley at half time and that was the last time either man played at Villa Park, with Beinlich moving to Hansa Rostock and Daley to Wolves in the summer. Their replacements were Bryan Small and Dwight Yorke.
Whatever Ron Atkinson said to his players at half time seemed to work wonders and they emerged after the interval as a team transformed.
Dwight Yorke, after only two starts all season, slipped from the shadows to bag the brace that won Villa the game.
After good work by Houghton, Yorke rammed home Saunders’ shot twenty minutes into the second half.
Hungry for more, Yorke scored the winner sixteen minutes later when he picked up a terrific through ball from Houghton.
With the Holte failing to comply with the requirements laid out in the Taylor report after the Hillsborough disaster, it was decided that it was not economically viable to install seating in the existing stand so demolition work began on the final day of the 1993-94 season.
Upon completion, the new two tier Holte End was the largest single end stand in Britain.
Twenty years on from the demolition of the terraces, Aston Villa is one club that has backed calls for safe standing areas to be introduced to English football grounds. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen but we still yearn for the terraced times when the atmosphere at Villa Park, and in the Holte in particular, really was legendary.
Last Saturday, many of you will have enjoyed the improved atmosphere in the Holte as fans marked the anniversary of the end of terracing and spurred the team to victory. Villa fan Andy, better known to many as @BruceRioch4, spread the word online that May 3rd, the closest game to the demolition of the terrace, should be ‘Get the Holte End Back’ day – and it’s clear his campaign was a success.
As yet another disappointing season ends, Andy plans to continue his campaign to restore the Holte End’s famous atmosphere next season and hopes that supporters in all stands will pump up the volume and get involved to ensure that Villa Park is rocking every game.