Competition: League Cup Final.
Villa: Milosevic, Taylor, Yorke.
Aston Villa: Bosnich; Charles,
Referee: Mr R. Hart (
After his players had gone Howard Wilkinson sat
alone in the losers’ dressing-room at Wembley, a
disconsolate figure. Here was a man who had suffered a vicious verbal assault
from Leeds United fans at the home of football. It was difficult not to feel
sympathy for him. It was he that had restored the big-time to
It was an harrowing experience for the United boss and disenchanted fans let him have it with both barrels. They booed him long and loud as he walked around the perimeter of the pitch to the dressing room where he found little consolation. The volley of abuse he received which included chants of ‘Wilko out’ was something unprecedented at a Wembley final.
“Of course it hurt” he said, “It seemed very personal to me and I don’t think that anybody was left in any doubt about what they wanted. I’m the one who has to take the responsibilities when we win and when we lose but the biggest disappointment of the day was a massive one, we just didn’t take enough responsibility out on the field” he argued. “They say that your first time at Wembley passes very quickly, but it didn’t for me. I don’t think I will ever be able to look back and say I enjoyed it” he added.
Wilko explained that he had not been able to select the same side from game to game and that he had hoped the Wembley occasion would act as some sort of adhesive to gel people together. “But Villa got the important early goals, and goals turn games” he said.
Wilkinson had shocked fans with his team selection, agonising over who should be Tony Yeboah’s strike partner. After dismissing the claims of Swedish international Tomas Brolin, Brian Deane and South African Phil Mesinga, he shocked most by going for the relatively untried Andy Gray. In fairness it had to be said that the eighteen-year-old son of Frankie Gray looked cool, composed and experienced beyond his years and his display earned him United’s ‘Man-of-the-Match’ rating.
Tony Dorigo missed out with an hamstring injury and he was forced to play Gary Speed at left back, but it was the omission of Tomas Brolin that rankled with the supporters. “Why is Brolin on the bench” sang the fans as the match slipped beyond United. But Wilkinson who had already brought on Brian Deane for Mark Ford at half-time had already signalled for Tomas Brolin to replace Lucas Radebe. United’s £4.5 million record signing had only twenty-five minutes to drag United out of the mire, but they were already trailing by two goals and as United pushed men forward Villa grabbed a match-clinching third goal.
The inquests into such a heavy defeat in a showpiece
fixture began immediately and unrest in the United
camp surfaced, with Brolin quick to say he wanted
away. “If you cannot play in a big game like this one then I have to think
about my future. I think I will have to try and find another team” he said. Yeboah was not a happy chappy
either, and as Brolin flew back to
Carlton Palmer also rallied to the support of his manager. “I was very disappointed at the treatment the manager received, because he does not deserve it” he insisted. “I can understand the fans’ point of view but the defeat was nothing to do with the manager. It was down to a group of players, quite a few of whom did not perform on the big occasion”.
It was the beginning of the end for Wilkinson, for Yeboah and for Brolin.
United’s defenders are dejected. John Lukic, Gary Kelly, David Wetherall and John Pemberton
Mark Ford beats Andy Townsend watched by Gary Speed and Paul McGrath Mark Ford evades Paul McGrath
Gary Kelly beats Gareth Southgate and Andy Townsend
United Fans show their colours
Aston Villa 1995-96:
Back Row: Trevor Berry, Scott Murray, Phil King, Paul Browne, Michael Oakes Mark Bosnich,
Nigel Spink, Riccardo Scimeca, Shaun Teale, Lee Hendrie, Stephen Cowe.
Middle Row: Paul Barron (Coach), Bryan Small,
Neil Davis, Paul McGrath, Gareth
Ian Taylor, Ugo Ehiogu, Gareth Farrelly, Gary Charles, David Farrell, Tommy Johnson,
Jim Walker (Coach).
Front Row: Graham Fenton, Steve Staunton, Franz Carr, Mark Draper,
Allan Evans (Assistant Manager), Brian Little (Manager), John Gregory (Coach), Savo Milosevic,
Dwight Yorke, Andy Townsend, Alan Wright.
Back Row: David White, Brian Deane,
Mark Beeney, Philemon Masinga, Lucas Radebe, Paul Beesley.
Middle Row: Mike Hennigan (Assistant Manager), Matthew Smithard, Mark Ford, Noel Whelan,
Robert Bowman, Mark Tinkler, Andy Couzens, Kevin Sharp, Tony Dorigo, Nigel Worthington,
David O’Leary, David Williams (Coach), Geoff Ladley (Physio).
Front Row: Rod Wallace, Anthony Yeboah, Gary McAllister, Howard Wilkinson (Manager),
John Pemberton, Gary Speed, Gary Kelly.
Mark Bosnich was in goal Gary Charles and Alan Wright were the full-backs
Ugo Ehiogu, Paul McGrath and
Ian Taylor, Andy Townsend and Mark Draper were in midfield
Savo Milosevic and Dwight Yorke were the Villa strikers
John Lukic was in goal Gary Kelly and Lucas Radebe were the full-backs
Carlton Palmer, John Pemberton and David Wetherall were in central defence
Mark Ford, Andy Gray, Gary McAllister and Gary Speed were in midfield
Tony Yeboah was the lone striker Brian Deane and Tomas Brolin were the substitutes used