Monday, September 24, 2007

Aston Villa Football Club

Aston Villa Football Club
Aston Villa LTD, Villa Park, Birmingham, B6 6HE
Tel: 0871 423 8101
Founded: 1874 | Nickname: The Villans | Ground: Villa Park | Capacity: 42,593

The inaugural 1992/93 Premier League season saw Aston Villa miss out on their first title in 12 years when they finished runners-up to Manchester United. Although Villa got their revenge over the champions by beating them in the League Cup Final the following season.

Chairman Doug Ellis had been unimpressed by Villa's league form and replaced the flamboyant Ron Atkinson with Brian Little in 1993/94. The former Villa player led the club to a 3-0 win over Leeds United in the 1996 League Cup final.

In 2000, Villa reached their first FA Cup final since 1957 but were defeated by Chelsea. Although Villa remained a hard side to beat, the loss of several star names and further managerial changes did little to help consistency.

Matters came to a head in 2006 when manager David O'Leary left in acrimonious circumstances, but Martin O'Neill has been heralded as the man to lead them up the table. Aston Villa - along with only Chelsea and Blackburn - have finished in every position in the top flight.

Club Heritage

In 1874, a group of cricketers needing something to occupy them during winter happened to see a game of football in the park - thus Aston Villa was born. Their first match was unusual in that the first half was played under rugby rules and the second under football rules. Villa fast became the Midlands' dominant side, beating Small Heath Alliance - later to become arch rivals Birmingham City - 22-0 on one occasion.

Aston Villa were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888 and enjoyed instant success. In the 1890s, they won five titles in seven seasons. Villa were also the first side to do the league and cup double in 1897. A week later, they moved to Aston Lower Grounds, which the fans dubbed Villa Park.

Villa's winning ways continued into the early 1900s, but their fortunes dwindled and in 1937 they were relegated. After the Second World War, the team was totally rebuilt. But apart from a 1957 FA Cup win, previous levels of success was never achieved.

A new low was reached when Villa were relegated to the Third Division in 1971. The club's fortunes changed 10 years later when Ron Saunders led them to the league title, then the European Cup with victory over Bayern Munich in 1982.

Villa were relegated from the top flight in 1987 but bounced back at the first attempt. They finished Premier League runners-up under manager Ron Atkinson in 1993 and League Cup wins over Manchester United and Leeds followed in 1994 and 1996 respectively.

Premier League History

1992-93 - Premier League runners-up
1993-94 - Beat Manchester United 3-1 in League Cup final
1994-95 - Brian Little replaces Ron Atkinson as manager
1995-96 - Beat Leeds United 3-0 in League Cup Final
1997-98 - John Gregory replaces Brian Little
1999-00 - Reach FA Cup Final
2001-02 - Gregory quits in January. Former manager Graham Taylor takes over
2002-03 - David O'Leary replaces Taylor in May
2005-06 - At the end of the season O'Leary leaves. Randy Lerner buys a majority share in the club. Martin O'Neill becomes manager
2006-07 - Break club record transfer, signing Watford's Ashley Young for £9.65million

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