RIP Dalian Atkinson: A man of big goals and big smiles

16 Aug

He then sends the most audacious of chips flying into the net and celebrates with Saunders on his shoulders under the ‘protection’ of an umbrella passed to him by a jubilant fan.


In that one iconic moment, Atkinson’s career was summed up – big goal, big smile.

It was that familiar No. 10 that got Villa up and running in the 1994 Coca Cola Cup final victory over Manchester United at Wembley, Atkinson scoring the opener in the 3-1 win.

If there’s one thing that fans will remember him for it would be his ability to run with the ball, not only elegantly, but at blistering pace.

I live only a couple of miles from where Atkinson lived – and died – in the early hours of Monday morning.

I recall him being a name on the local scene of kids to watch out for and knew he must be good when a local schoolmaster Bob Ellis took him to Ipswich.

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