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Shirt swap - after 36 years

Villa legend Nigel Spink at the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt

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Even though sadness can linger after defeat in a final, time is proverbially a great healer – and a visitor to the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt on Friday brought back fond and nostalgic memories. Almost 36 years to the day after Aston Villa beat FC Bayern in the European Cup final, former goalkeeper Nigel Spink called in at the club museum on an important mission. He brought with him the shirt worn by then Bayern keeper Manfred Müller – and in return was given the shirt he swapped after the 1-0 win in Rotterdam on 26 May 1982.

“This shirt means an awful lot to me – not just because of the trophy but also the very special personal story I associate with the final,” said the 59-year-old when he took the shirt in his hands again. That night in the Netherlands turned out to be an unforgettable experience for the European Cup winner-to-be, who was Villa’s reserve keeper at the time. Two and a half years after his only previous appearance for the Birmingham giants, Spink came on for injured first-choice shot-stopper Jimmy Rimmer ten minutes into the match. He proved invincible as he succeeded in keeping out the FC Bayern attack led by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Bernd Dürnberger. The only goal of the game was netted by Aston Villa’s Peter Withe midway through the second half.

Withe also swapped shirts at the Erlebniswelt

The Villa centre-forward from back then was also a relatively recent visitor to the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt when he too arrived on a similar mission to his team-mate Spink. Nearly two years ago, Withe was involved in a shirt exchange with his opponent in 1982 Klaus Augenthaler, and they were both more than happy to take a trip down memory lane together. As Manfred Müller was unable to be at the museum on Friday, FC Bayern Erlebniswelt director Petra Leufstedt presented the shirt to Spink. “Over and over again, at meetings like this, you relive the wealth of stories worth telling and the outstanding exhibits we have here from the history of the club,” she commented.