Peter Withe

Peter Withe /wɪð/ (born 30 August 1951) is an English former football striker who played between 1971 and 1990. At Nottingham Forest he won the Anglo-Scottish Cup and Second Division promotion in 1976–77, First Division and the Football League Cup in 1977–78, and the 1978 FA Charity Shield. With Aston Villa he won the league in 1980–81 leading to scoring the only goal in the 1982 European Cup Final and winning the 1982 European Super Cup. He played for England 11 times scoring once and was a squad member at the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

Peter Withe
Withe in 1982.
Personal information
Date of birth (1951-08-30) 30 August 1951 (age 69)
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Position(s) Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1970–1971 Southport 3 (0)
1971–1972 Barrow 1 (0)
1972–1973 Port Elizabeth City
1973 Arcadia Shepherds 26 (16)
1973–1975 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 (3)
1975 Portland Timbers 22 (16)
1975–1976 Birmingham City 35 (9)
1976–1978 Nottingham Forest 75 (28)
1978–1980 Newcastle United 76 (25)
1980–1985 Aston Villa 182 (74)
1985–1989 Sheffield United 74 (18)
1987Birmingham City (loan) 8 (2)
1989–1990 Huddersfield Town 38 (1)
1991 Aston Villa 0 (0)
Total 539 (177)
National team
1981–1984 England 11 (1)
Teams managed
1991–1992 Wimbledon
1998–2003 Thailand
2004–2007 Indonesia
2012 Woodley Sports/Stockport Sports
(renamed in 2012)
2013–2014 PTT Rayong
2014–2016 Nakhon Pathom United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He has since worked as a manager, predominantly in Southeast Asia.

Playing career

Style of play

Withe was a big, tall, strong, powerful and imposing centre-forward. Dangerous in the air, his ability to shield the ball was also an asset to teammates.[2][3][4][5] His biggest successes were when paired with a sharp, quick strike partner.[6][7][8]

Club career

Early career

He started his career at Southport but left in 1971 after a handful of appearances. Late that year he made an appearance for the reserve team of Preston North End[9] but soon moved on to Barrow for whom he made one appearance (against his former club Southport on 1 January 1972).[10] After this he played in South Africa.

Withe played for Wolverhampton Wanderers in two seasons from 1973. In 17 league games he scored 3 goals.[11]

During the summer of 1975, Withe spent one season in the United States as a member of the expansion Portland Timbers of the North American Soccer League (NASL).[12] He scored 17 goals and added 7 assists in 22 games leading the Timbers to first place in their division and tied for the best record in the league at 16–6. Withe's goals that summer made him a Timbers fans favourite, who nicknamed him "The Mad Header" and "The Wizard of Nod."[13] In August the Timbers played two home play-off games in front of more than 30,000 fans each, numbers unheard of for US soccer at the time. They advanced to Soccer Bowl '75, the League Championship, in San Jose, California on August 24, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2–0.[14][self-published source?]

Withe returned to the West Midlands to join Birmingham City in 1975. He scored 9 goals in 35 league games in just over a season before departing early in season 1976/77.

Nottingham Forest

Brian Clough joined Nottingham Forest as manager in January 1975. In the summer of 1976 he was joined by Peter Taylor who had been his assistant at Derby County winning the 1971-72 Football League.[15] From Taylor's arrival Forest immediately went into upswing.[16] Forest signed 25 year old Withe to make his debut for the club on 25 September 1976. Withe scored on his debut in a 5–1 Football League Division Two home win v Carlisle United with strike partner John O'Hare also scoring. Withe was given a new strike partner on 3 November 1976 in an Anglo-Scottish Cup 2–0 win at Ayr United. Tony Woodcock was recalled to the first team bringing speed and anticipation to the front two to complement Withe's height, strength and power.[6] Withe and Woodcock both scored at Ayr. Withe ended the season as the club top scorer with 19 goals and Woodcock second with 17 and Forest's Player of the Year despite his November seasonal debut. Forest's first trophy of the Clough and Taylor regime was in December that season beating Orient over two legs in the Anglo Scottish Cup final. Withe played in the 1–1 first leg away draw on 13 December 1976 but then spent two weeks out the side missing the 4–0 second leg win. Forest won promotion at the end of the season to the top tier from finishing third in Division Two.[17][18][16]

Withe and Woodcock won the 1977-78 Football League First Division and 1977-78 Football League Cup with Forest. They ended the season as Forest's joint top scorers with 19 goals each. Withe scored in the 1978 FA Charity Shield 5–0 win against Ipswich Town on 12 August 1978. After playing in the 1–1 league home draw the week after against Tottenham Hotspur, Forest agreed to sell him for £225,000 just before his 27th birthday at the end of that month. Withe scored 39 goals in 99 competitive first team games for Forest.[17] This included 28 goals in 75 league games.[11] His place in the next 3 games was given to league debutant, Steve Elliott all of which ended goalless.[19] The number 9 jersey was then given to 22 year old Garry Birtles who promptly became regular first choice winning the European Cup with Forest this and the season after.[20]

Newcastle United

Withe joined Newcastle United[21][self-published source?] then in the Second Division for a transfer fee of £225,000.[14] He debuted in a 1–1 home draw v Luton Town[5] In just under two seasons he scored 25 goals in 76 league games.[11]

Aston Villa
Peter Withe (right) with Gary Shaw and Tony Morley after winning the 1982 European Cup on 26 May

Ron Saunders took him to Aston Villa on the eve of the 1980–81 season when the Birmingham club paid £500,000 for the club's record signing at the time. He was 29 at the end of the month that league season started. Withe was paired with Gary Shaw whose pace and anticipation gave Withe a strike partner with playing similarities to Tony Woodcock when Withe was at Forest.[7][8] Withe won a trophy in each of his first three seasons at Villa Park.[22] Withe scored 20 times in 36 games to finish joint-top scorer in the league with Tottenham Hotspur's Steve Archibald in that first season as Aston Villa won the Football League title. Withe and Spurs' Mark Falco both scored twice sharing the 1981 FA Charity Shield from a 2–2 draw.[23]

Withe scored the only goal in the 1982 European Cup Final win against Bayern Munich.[14] The season after Withe played in the 1982 European Super Cup 3–1 aggregate win against F.C. Barcelona.

He scored 90 goals in over 200 games for Villa.[22] After five years he eventually moved on in what he later described as "the biggest wrench of my career."

Later career

He joined Sheffield United scoring 18 goals in 74 league games in three seasons from 1985 to 1988. In his last season there he scored twice in eight league games on loan back at ex-club, Birmingham City. He ended his senior playing days scoring once in 38 league games at Huddersfield Town between 1988 and 1990.[11]


His England debut was in a 1–0 home friendly defeat by Brazil on 12 May 1981. His first four England caps were all without victory with a draw with Wales and defeats by Scotland and Norway.[24] Capped by England 11 times, Withe scored once, and was the first Aston Villa player to be selected in an England World Cup Finals squad (in España 82). His goal was against Hungary on 27 April 1983 in his 7th cap. His last cap was on 14 November 1984 when Turkey were beaten 8–0. Withe ended his international career with 5 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats.[24]

Managerial career

Withe had a brief spell as manager of Wimbledon, being brought in from the position of reserve team coach at Aston Villa in October 1991 following Ray Harford's resignation. Withe's time in charge was not at all successful, winning only one game out of thirteen in the league,[25] and he was replaced after just 105 days at the helm by the club's youth team coach Joe Kinnear.[26]

Withe went into management and, after propelling the Thailand national team towards some success, managed Indonesia until 18 January 2007. He was sacked due to his side's inability to go past the first round of the ASEAN Football Championship, the tournament which he previously won with Thailand in 2000 and 2002, then finished as the runner-up with Indonesia in 2004. He was given a brief touchline ban as manager of Thailand for wearing shorts during an international match against the United Arab Emirates. The head of the Thai Football Association said he should be wearing a suit.

He managed English non-league club Stockport Sports from April to November 2012.[27][28]


His brother, Chris, played for Bradford City. Withe's son, Jason, also became a footballer, coach and manager.[29]

Career honours

As a player

Portland Timbers
Nottingham Forest
Aston Villa

As a manager



  1. Rollin, Jack, ed. (1980). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1980–81. London: Queen Anne Press. p. 54. ISBN 0362020175.
  2. "The Peter Withe Autobiography – All for the Love of the Game"
  3. "Peter Withe" The Observer, 6 February 2005
  4. "Blue-eyed boys – Peter Withe"
  5. "Player Details Peter Withe" toon1892
  6. "Arsenal's original 'Fox-in-the-box" – Highbury Hero Tony Woodcock"
  7. "Gary Shaw: A true Aston Villa legend" Express and Star, 27 February 2017
  8. "We are the Champions: 1980-81- Aston Villa" 25 November 2016
  9. Preston North End v Bristol City football programme, 27 December 1971, p12 – this confirms Withe had appeared for the reserves
  10. Rothmans Football Yearbook 1972–1973 (published 1972), p87, Queen Anne Press
  11. Peter Withe on Neil Brown's player website
  12. Matthew Horner (2009). He Shot, He Scored: The Official Biography of Peter Ward. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-0-9562769-0-2.
  13. Michael Orr (21 November 2011). The 1975 Portland Timbers: The Birth of Soccer City, USA. The History Press. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-1-60949-466-7.
  14. Paul Peters (8 February 2015). Aston Villa The England Story. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-1-326-16557-4.[self-published source]
  15. "Derby County Club History"
  16. "History of NFFC – Nottingham Forest"
  17. "The City Ground – Peter Withe"
  18. "The City Ground – Tony Woodcock"
  19. "SEASON: 1978–79" The City Ground
  21. Kev Fletcher (26 June 2015). The Toon's Greatest 100 Players...EVER!. pp. 113–. ISBN 978-1-326-29685-8.[self-published source]
  22. "Peter Withe" Aston Villa Football Club
  23. 1981–82 Charity Shield
  24. "Peter Withe" Sporting Heroes
  25. Ken Ferris (1 March 2013). Football Fanatic: A Record Breaking Journey Through English Football. Mainstream Publishing. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-1-78057-801-9.
  26. Culley, Jon (20 January 1977). "Football: ...Old boys..." The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  27. "Peter Withe appointed Woodley boss". 25 April 2012. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  28. "Club Statement". Stockport Sports F.C. 19 November 2012. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  29. Thompson, Steve (18 March 2012). "Son of a gun, Jason Withe: Title-winning coach eyes 'unfinished business'". Retrieved 25 April 2012.