Aston Villa Football Club
Aston Villa Football Club was founded back in 1874 and are based in England’s second-largest city, Birmingham. They were one of the founding members of the Football League back in 1888 and have spent the vast majority of their history playing in the top flight of English football. Their traditional claret and blue strip are one of the most recognisable kits in English football. Villa began playing at Wellington Road and remained there until 1897 when they then moved into their current home Villa Park, which now has a capacity of 42,785, though there are plans to increase this to 50,000 in the near future.
Aston Villa boasts a proud history, although most of their success came prior to the Premier League era, which began in 1992. Between 1894 and 1981, the club won seven First Division titles, which places them fifth in the all-time leaderboard of First Division winners behind only Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton. Only Manchester United and Liverpool have finished as Runners-Up on more occasions than Villa also, who have 10 times been beaten to the post by just one other team. Despite the modern-day success of financial powerhouses Chelsea and Manchester City, both clubs still trail Villa in their number of league titles and the latter are still yet to match Villa’s European achievements.
Aston Villa Honours
In 1982, one year after what was the club’s last First Division title win, the club then won the European Cup, beating Bayern Munich 1-0 in the final. Peter Withe scored the game’s only goal in that game, making himself immortal in the eyes of all Villa fans by doing so. Villa joins Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Chelsea in being the only English clubs to win the European Cup/Champions League. Villa’s domestic cup record is also enviable in the eyes of many of their competitors, having picked up 7 FA Cups and 5 League Cups in their esteemed history.
In the Premier League era, the closest Villa came to winning the title was in the inaugural 1992/93 campaign, where they finished as runners-up to Manchester United. They then went five consecutive years of finishing no lower than 7th between 1996 and 2000. In the 21st century, Martin O’Neill enjoyed the greatest spell of success as Villa boss, guiding the club to three consecutive 6th-place finishes between 2008 and 2010, while also getting the club to a League Cup final. That team included stars such as Gareth Barry, James Milner, Ashley Young, John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor, as they just fell short of bringing a return of Champions League football to Villa Park.
Aston Villa Relegation
However, recent times have not been so fruitful for the club. After 24 consecutive seasons in the Premier League, Aston Villa was relegated from the Premier League in 2016 and spent the next three campaigns in the Championship. Within that time, the club the 2018 Playoff Final before finally reigning successful at Wembley 12 months later under the guidance of Dean Smith. A boyhood Villa fan, Smith’s appointment sparked a resurgence in the club’s form and he, along with another Villa fan in captain Jack Grealish, led the club to promotion after beating Derby County in the final.