'Beautiful Game, Beautiful Memories' book launch


John Flanner MBE with Keith Wyness, CEO, Aston Villa

John Flanner MBE with Aston Villa CEO Keith Wyness

Aston Villa legend and former player Tony Morley joined John Flanner MBE, who as you may already know is a blind Solihull super-supporter, to celebrate the launch of John’s book about his memories of the game.

The book, ‘Beautiful Game, Beautiful Memories’, celebrates 60 years of magical moments of football heroes past and present and John’s memories of legendary matches that he continued to attend even after going blind at the early age of 19.

John Flanner said:

“I have been wanting to write this book for many years and can’t believe that so many people have turned out to support the launch, 60 years to the day since Aston Villa won the Cup Final in 1957.

“With great commentaries from friends, I continued to feel the magic of the Villa stadium and to be hooked on the beautiful game.  Not even being blind can take away the thrill and excitement of being at Villa Park on match days.”

Among the guests were Aston Villa CEO Keith Wyness, former Aston Villa player Tony Morley, from the team that won the first division Championship in 1981 and then went on to win the European Cup the next season, Malcolm Page, former Birmingham City Player and Head of the Former Players Association, and Colin Abbott who has written four books about Aston Villa.

The Rt Rev Dr David Carr OBE, who worked in football for many years and was Marketing Director for the Professional Football Association in PFA Financial Services, also attended the launch and said:

“The fact that John has been blind for the majority of his life has in no way diminished his passion for the game or Aston Villa. Read his book because it really gives you insight, from the man that hasn’t got sight. I recommend it to you -  great book, great man, great club.”

Brian Atwick, who used to commentate on games for John after he went blind, added:

“We have shared so many memories from about 11 years old when we played for the school football team together, Hastings Road. We went down to the Villa collecting autographs, Peter McParland, Johnny Dixon, every player we could get our hands on.”

Copies of the book will be available on Amazon and Kindle. 


John Flanner MBE with Aston Villa legend Tony Morley

John Flanner MBE and Aston Villa legend and former player Tony Morley.

John Flanner MBE with former Aston Villa player Ron Wylie's son and grandson, Nigel and George.

Malcolm Page with John Flanner MBE

John Flanner MBE with Malcolm Page, former Birmingham City player and head of the Former Players Association.

Brian Atwick, John Flanner MBE, and Jenny Atwick. Brian used to commentate on games for John!

Rob Bishop with John Flanner MBE

John Flanner MBE with Rob Bishop, former programme editor for Aston Villa.

Colin Abbott, author of several Aston Villa books, John Flanner MBE, and Mick Tilt, who kindly provided many of the photographs for the book.

The book table.The book table.

The cake - a retro shirt from the 1957 Cup Final game.

The cake - a retro shirt from the 1957 Cup final game.