WITHE BACK­ING HIS OLD CLUB TO

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Rugby Union - EX­CLU­SIVE BY JOHN WRAGG

AS­TON VILLA hero Peter Withe got £2,500 for win­ning the Eu­ro­pean Cup. Now he’s pray­ing Villa land the £180mil­lion Pre­mier League jack­pot.

The Cham­pi­onship play-off fi­nal with Derby is the big­gest game Villa have had since Withe’s goal beat Bay­ern Mu­nich 1-0 in Rot­ter­dam 37 years ago to­day.

To­tal bonus pay­ments for the 16 Villa play­ers on duty in the Feyeno­ord Sta­dium came to just £40,000 – that’s £15,000 less than Dwight Gayle gets per week in the West Brom team that Villa beat in the play-off semi-fi­nals this month.

“Noth­ing is on a par with win­ning the Eu­ro­pean Cup,” said Withe.

“But with re­gards to the sup­port­ers, the fans, ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with As­ton Villa, then this play-off fi­nal is mas­sive, to­tally mas­sive.

“They say, ‘Don’t look back at the past’ but I think you should re­mem­ber the past. You take it in the con­text of, ‘What’s next?’. This chance is be­ing pre­sented in front of you to re­build the club, start again.

“It was pre­sented to the club last year and As­ton Villa didn’t take it. Are you go­ing to take it this time? Are you go­ing to take up the reins now?”

Villa were on the verge of go­ing bust 10 months ago be­fore Nassef Sawiris and

KINGS OF EU­ROPE: Peter Withe cel­e­brates with the Eu­ro­pean Cup af­ter Villa’s 1982 win

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