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Aston Villa Football Club

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Aston Villa Football Club play at Villa Park in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. They currently play in the FA Premier League. Aston Villa were founding members of Football League in 1888 and of the Premier League in 1992. It is one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in England.

History

Formation by Villa Cross Cricketers

Aston Villa Football Club was formed in March 1874 by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Aston, Birmingham. Members of the Aston Villa cricket team were looking for a way to stay fit during the winter months and decided to adopt the new sport of football. The 'Four Founding Fathers' were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villa's first match was against the local Aston Brook St Mary's Rugby team and as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under rugby rules and the second half under football rules. Villa managed to hold St Mary's to a scoreless draw up to half time and in the second half won the historic affair by one goal, scored by Jack Hughes. Villa won their first honour, the Birmingham Challenge Cup in 1880, under the captaincy of Scotsman George Ramsay.

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Rise to prominence

The club won its first FA Cup in 1887, under the captaincy of another Scotsman, Archie Hunter. English football had become professional in 1885. However, the Scottish draper and director of Aston Villa, William McGregor had become frustrated with one-sided friendly matches and low attendances for all games but FA Cup ties. He saw that in order to keep interest in the game alive the top teams needed to play each other in a league much like American baseball teams did. So he wrote to the twelve leading clubs in England proposing the formation of a league. The reason the Football League was never called the English League is because McGregor intended Scottish and Welsh teams to join eventually. Welsh teams, most notably Cardiff City, did so but Scottish teams did not. Naturally, Aston Villa were one of the dozen teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 finishing runners-up.

Victorian and Edwardian golden age

It didn't take long for Villa to lift their first League Championship trophy, and this was achieved in 1893/94. This would signal the start of Aston Villa's 'Golden Age' and by the start of the First World War the club had won the League Championship six times and the FA Cup five times, including in 1896/97, a League and Cup Double, a feat which would not be repeated for more than 60 years. The captain during this era was John Devey.

Villa attracted such big crowds that a new ground was needed. The club could regularly expect 25,000 people to attend home games, at a time when the FA Cup Final would attract only about 20,000. The League and FA Cup winners had previously played at Wilson Road (Birchfields), then in 1878 moved to Perry Barr, where they stayed until 1897. In 1897, they moved to their current home ground, the Aston Lower Grounds. It would be a number of years before it was officially known as Villa Park.

Footballing Giants of Inter-War Years

Although they remained a major force after the war, winning their sixth FA Cup in 1920, the club began a slow decline. This can be attributed in large part to a complacency which culminated in the unthinkable, the most famous and successful football club in the world being relegated to the Second Division in 1936. However, throughout the 1920's and into the 1930's the club had many fine international players (in 1933/34 Villa had no fewer than fourteen full internationals) and continued to challenge for honours, Villa were FA Cup runners-up in 1924 and second in the League in 1931 and 1933. Throughout this period the Villa Park crowds were entertained with attacking football and goals galore, in season 1930/31 Tom 'Pongo' Waring scored 49 of Aston Villa's 128 league goals, however Villa were denied the title by the sensational Arsenal team of the 30's.

The unthinkable relegation

The club's decision to appoint their first manager coincided with relegation for the first time in 1935/36. This was largely due a dismal defensive record, they conceded 110 goals, 7 of them coming from Arsenal's Ted Drake in the infamous 1-7 defeat at Villa Park. However 'The Grand Old Man' of football was crowned Second Division Champions in 1937/38 under the guidance of Jimmy Hogan; Aston Villa were back where they belonged by the outbreak of The Second World War. Seven seasons were lost and many careers were finished due to the conflict and Aston Villa went about rebuilding the team under the guidance of former player, Alex Massie. The remainder of the 1940s and the 1950s saw Villa try to re-establish themselves as a top team. However, Villa could only be described as average during this period, although they had some good players and attendances were high. Season 1956/57 saw Villa go on an unexpected FA Cup run that would culminate in them defeating the 'Busby Babes' of Manchester United in the final. It was Aston Villa's first trophy for 37 years.

Mid-century mediocrity

However this success proved to be a false dawn with the team finishing 14th in the league the following season. Eric Houghton was sacked (after refusing to resign) when relegation loomed in 1958/59. His successor Joe Mercer was unable to prevent the club being relegated for the second time in 1959. Again a complacency had set in at the club, the famous Aston Villa had won the FA Cup for a record seventh time, this only served to fuel the belief that Villa were too good to go down. A return to the top flight was assured however in 1960 when Villa were crowned Second Division Champions. Season 1960/61 saw Villa win the inaugural League Cup and finish respectably in the league, this was achieved with an exciting nucleus of youth players who became known as 'Mercer's Minors'.

1960's: Decline and fall

The slow decline continued throughout the 1960s due to a deep seated malaise; the club had failed to adapt to the new football reality, they had a non-existent scouting network, coaching was conducted in the same way as it had been 40 years earlier and the 5 man board contained 3 members over the age of 70. It was the board who decided that they couldn't refuse offers for their two most valuable players, Phil Woosnam and Tony Hateley. Without their goals Villa were in real trouble and were relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967. The fans' calls for the board to resign became more and more urgent when Villa finished 16th in the Second Division in 1968. In a desperate attempt to avert total disaster, relegation to the Third Division, the manager, Tommy Cummings was given £200,000 to spend on new players, and with supporters boycotting Villa's home games in protest at the board, debts mounted. Events on the pitch came to a head in November 1968, with Villa lying at the bottom of Division Two; the board sacked Cummings and within weeks the entire board resigned due to overwhelming pressure from fans. After much speculation, control of the club was bought by London financier Pat Matthews, he also brought in Doug Ellis as chairman and Tommy Docherty as manager.

However, despite breathing new life into the club and initial success, Docherty was unable to lift the team out of the danger zone and he was sacked after just a year in charge. His successor Vic Crowe, was unable to prevent Aston Villa from being relegated to the Third Division for the first time in its history. Amazingly the following season Villa reached the League Cup final after beating Manchester United in the semi-final. They were eventually defeated in the final by two late Tottenham goals.

Vic Crowe rescues Villa

The only way was up for Villa and in 1971/72 they were crowned Third Division champions at the end of a brilliant season. The team narrowly missed out on a second successive promotion when they finished third on their return to Second Division football in 1972/73. However the following season Villa struggled and Doug Ellis sacked Crowe replacing him with Ron Saunders.

Two cups in three years

Aston Villa's centenary season provided the double success of a League Cup final victory over Norwich and promotion to the First Division after an absence of eight seasons in 1974/75. Villa were back and due to their League Cup success were in Europe for the first time. Although Villa were knocked out in the first round by Antwerp, Saunders was assembling a team that would go on to win the European Cup seven years later. Villa won the League Cup again in 1977 by beating Everton after two final replays. The following season saw Villa reach the quarter-final of the UEFA Cup where they held their own against Spanish giants, Barcelona. That night, at the Nou Camp, the nightmare of the previous 10 years were finally laid to rest ; Aston Villa were back amongst the footballing elite.

Title triumph in '81

Villa won their first League Championship for 71 years, fighting off competition from Liverpool and Ipswich, in 1980-81 under the managership of Ron Saunders. It was a side brimming with talent such as midfield dynamo Gordon Cowans; skillful winger Tony Morley; Captain Dennis Mortimer; and the skrikeforce partnership of Peter Withe and local lad, Gary Shaw. To everyone's surprise, Saunders quit halfway through the 1981-82 season, (after falling out with the chairman), with Villa in the quarter final of the European Cup. He was replaced by his softly-spoken assistant manager Tony Barton.

Champions of Europe

In May 1982, just three months after being appointed manager, Barton guided Villa to a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in Rotterdam. While Peter Withe scored the winner in the 67th minute, the key player that night was Nigel Spink, the 23-year-old reserve goalkeeper who had only played one match for the club in five years since joining from Chelmsford City. First-choice keeper Jimmy Rimmer suffered a shoulder injury and was substituted after just 10 minutes. But Spink went on to make a number of fine saves in the game from the lethal Bayern strikeforce, which included Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Other key players in this Villa side included Des Bremner and Gordon Cowans. Barton remained in charge for two seasons after the European Cup triumph, and was sacked at the end of 1983-84 after Villa had finished tenth in the First Division. In came Shrewsbury manager Graham Turner as his successor.

Turner's decline

Graham Turner was unable to reverse the decline at Aston Villa in 1986 they narrowly avoided relegation to the Second Division. A terrible start to the following season saw Turner sacked halfway through September.

Relegation

McNeill's reign at Villa Park was even more difficult and short lived than Turner's reign. He was unable to save Villa from relegation and they went down to the Second Division in bottom place, just five years after winning the European Cup. McNeill handed in his notice and moved to Celtic just after the end of the season. Chairman Doug Ellis persuaded Watford manager Graham Taylor to take over the reins and set about bringing good fortunes back to the club.

Taylor revives Villa

Taylor's first season at Villa ended in automatic promotion as Second Division runners-up, being pipped to the title by Millwall. A key player in the promotion-winning side was 22-year-old midfielder David Platt, a former Manchester United reserve who had been signed from Crewe Alexandra for £200,000 just after Taylor's arrival. Platt's impressive goalscoring record and Taylor's managerial know-how ensured that Villa avoided relegation in their first season back in the top flight, and the following season (1989-90) they emerged as surprise contenders for the title. For a few weeks during the second half of the season, Villa led the league but eventually finished in second place - nine points behind champions Liverpool. Taylor then departed for the England manager's job and was succeeded by Czech coach Jozef Venglos - the first foreign manager in the First Division.

Venglos disappoints

Jozef Venglos - the first manager not from Britain or Ireland ever to take charge of an English top-flight club - spent one season as manager of Aston Villa (1990-91). He stepped down after they finished just two places above the First Division relegation zone and David Platt was sold to Italian side Bari for £5 million. Aston Villa's new manager was Ron Atkinson, who had achieved considerable success with West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United and more recently Sheffield Wednesday. Villa progressed to finish sixth in 1991-92 and book their place in the new Premier League.

Title bid and Wembley triumph

Atkinson spent heavily, making expensive additions to the squad including Earl Barrett, Dean Saunders, Andy Townsend, Dalian Atkinson, Kevin Richardson, Ray Houghton and Shaun Teale. The policy nearly paid off in 1993 when Aston Villa finished runners-up to Manchester United (Atkinson's old club) in the inaugural Premier League. During that season, the strike partnership of Saunders and Atkinson was an instant hit with the Villa Park faithfull and established itself as one of the most feared in the Premiership.

Villa gained their revenge over United with a 3-1 League Cup final victory the following season (which prevented United from winning a unique domestic treble) to secure a second successive UEFA Cup campaign. It was fine compensation for Atkinson's men, who had finished tenth after a slump in league form. Atkinson was dismissed (many believe prematurely) in November 1994 following a poor start to the season, just 18 months after they had almost won the league championship, secured a UEFA Cup place secured their first trophy in a decade.

League Cup triumph

Atkinson's successor Brian Little did well to keep a demoralised team in the Premiership and in the summer of 1995 reshaped the squad by selling most of the club's older players and buying in many younger players. New arrivals included Alan Wright, Gary Charles, Ian Taylor, Mark Draper, Savo Milosevic, Gareth Southgate and Tommy Johnson. Several home grown players were also progressing well, especially striker Dwight Yorke and defender Ugo Ehiogu.

Aston Villa made huge progress in 1995-96 under Brian Little. They won the League Cup, reached the FA Cup semi finals and finished fourth in the Premiership. Dwight Yorke was now established as a world class striker and other players like Ugo Ehiogu and Gareth Southgate were already gaining international recognition. Villa's form dipped slightly in 1996-97 and they finished fifth, but still qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Villa's League Cup triumph in 1996 saw them equal Liverpool's record for the number of successes in the competition.

Wembley finalists and UEFA Cup participants

Brian Little quit in February 1998 with Villa standing 15th in the Premiership, and his successor John Gregory, a former Aston Villa coach who had left to take charge of Wycombe Wanderers 18 months earlier, revitalised the club's fortunes and they finished seventh in the Premiership and qualified for the UEFA Cup; due to the progress of other teams in the top seven it was the first time that a seventh placed club has automatically qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Despite the £12.6million sale of Dwight Yorke to Manchester United in August 1998, John Gregory had guided Aston Villa to the top of the Premiership by the middle of the 1998-99 season. New signings Paul Merson and Dion Dublin were proving to be worth the money, while 18-year-old defender Gareth Barry was easily the most competent young player in the Premiership that season. But Villa's form slipped during the final weeks and they finished sixth - not even enough for a UEFA Cup place.

Villa reached the FA Cup final in 2000 (for the first time since 1957), but lost 1-0 to Chelsea in a poor game. 2000-01 saw Villa finish eighth in the Premiership, although they did eventually qualify for the UEFA Cup after a successful campaign in the Intertoto Cup over the summer of 2001. Gregory quit the club in January 2002 with Villa occupying an increasingly familiar place around the middle of the Premiership.

Taylor returns

Chairman Doug Ellis made a surprise decision to appoint Graham Taylor as manager for the second time after Gregory's sudden resignation in January 2002. Villa finished the 2001-02 season in eighth place, which was similar to most of their other Premiership finishes.

Taylor quit as manager for the second and final time after the end of the 2002-03 season. Villa had just finished 16th in the Premiership, losing twice to arch rivals Birmingham City. Only their fine home form had saved them from relegation.

O'Leary fails to succeed

David O'Leary, who had taken Leeds United to the semi-finals of the 2000-01 Champions League, was drafted in as Taylor's replacement. After a poor start to the season, O'Leary transformed the team's fortunes and by Spring 2004 they were in contention for a UEFA Champions League place. But a 2-0 home defeat against Manchester United saw them finish sixth in the Premiership and narrowly miss out on a UEFA Cup place. Since then, though, Aston Villa's fortunes have dipped and they only finished 10th in 2004-05.

Pacy striker Darius Vassell moved to Premiership side Manchester City on 27 July, 2005, for a reported fee of £2 million, and was replaced within a month by Euro 2004 Golden Boot winner Milan Baros, who arrived from Liverpool for a fee of £6.5 million (with a further £0.5 million dependent on appearances). Influential winger Nolberto Solano left the club prior to the transfer deadline to return to Newcastle United. James Milner was a part of the transfer and was on loan at the club for the 2005/2006 season -- a decision on whether to make the move permanent is pending and is looking in doubt due to the stalling of the £1 million sale of Mathieu Berson to Auxerre after their manager was sacked. Off the field, the club's future is uncertain, and elderly chairman Doug Ellis, who was treated for cancer in 2005, is seeking to sell his stake.

Frustration within the club appears to be coming to a head. On 14 July, a group of Villa players took the unprecedented step of criticising the chairman's alleged parsimony and lack of ambition in an interview with a local newspaper. The club immediately dismissed the report as "ridiculous", but it emerged over the following few days that a group of senior players had indeed instigated the move, possibly with O'Leary's backing.

The following week, David O'Leary left the club by mutual consent after three years as Aston Villa manager and his assistant Roy Aitken became caretaker manager. Alan Curbishley, a former Villa player, was linked the managerial vacancy but said that he wasn't interested. Martin O'Neill's name has also come up among the possible candidates but a formal offer has yet to be made.

Takeover talk

After 24 years of control, Doug Ellis has finally decided to sell Aston Villa. This is a decision welcomed by many Villa fans, who feel that fresh blood and better investment is needed to recapture the glory years. The decision was likely to have been prompted by Ellis' health. In September 2005, the club was put up for sale.

Initially, the only serious potential buyer was local businessman and self-professed life-long Villa fan Michael Neville, with a consortium backed by Irish property developers the Comer brothers. The talks lasted several months, but eventually fizzled out when the Comer Group pulled the plug. Ellis was allegedly concerned that the Comer Group would merely asset strip the club. Neville then went in search of new backers.

After the infamous "Villa Statement" in July 2006, which ended with the dismissal of Villa boss David O'Leary, Villa reiterated their desire to sell the club, stating that there were several interested parties, "which may or may not lead to an offer for the club". The hunt for a new manager was put on the back burner as the bidding started.

Of hearing this news, Neville said that he had "accelerated plans to buy the club", and that he believed he "had backers". But another interested party emerged in the form of the NFL's Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner, who expressed interest on the 24th July. Lerner reportedly pulled out of the bidding two days later, apparently after disagreements with Ellis who apparently asked for extra money on top of the original £64m asking price, though some believe he retains an interest in purchasing the club and his "withdrawal" is a tactical move. Reasonings behind the apparent Lerner pull-out range from Ellis wanting to remain on the board, to the Villa chairman wanting assurances over future funding. The situation only went further to damage the relations between the chairman and supporters groups/shareholders.

On 26 July, Neville officially placed a bid for the club believed to be in the region of £64 million (around US$117 million). In an interview on the local news, Neville stated that he had a "Three-year plan" to turn Villa into a major force in English football again. He also hinted that Martin O'Neill would be his favoured choice as team manager.

It now appears that Neville and his new consortium (the formation of which he is still to reveal) are front runners to buy the club, though Sven-Göran Eriksson's agent Athole Still is thought to be considering a bid with his own consortium believed to be backed by Arabian investors.

A UK-based consortium known as "AV06", led by deputy High Court judge Nicholas Padfield, is another interested party. Padfield claims that his bid is backed by several life-long Villa fans.

Club Honours

  • European Cup 1982
  • European Super Cup 1983
  • Inter-Toto Cup 2001
  • FA Cup 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957
  • League Cup 1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996
  • First Division Champions 1893-94, 1895-96, 1896-97, 1898-99, 1899-1900, 1909-10, 1980-81
  • Second Division Champions 1937-38, 1959-60
  • Third Division Champions 1971-72
  • FA Youth Cup 1972, 1980, 2002,

Club colours & crest

The club colours are claret shirt with sky blue sleeves, white shorts with claret and blue trim, sky blue socks with claret and white trim. They were the original wearers of these famous colours and other teams, notably West Ham and Burnley, adopted the same colours. Villa's colours at the outset were generally comprised of plain shirts, either white or grey or a shade of blue, with either white or black shorts. For a few years after that (1877-79) The team wore several different kits from all white, blue and black, red and blue to plain green. By 1880 black jerseys with a red lion embroidered on the chest were introduced by William McGregor. Some believe Villa legend George Ramsay played a part in the introduction of the Scottish 'Rampant Lion'. This remained the first choice strip for six years. On Monday, 8 November 1886, an entry in the club's official minute book states: Proposed and seconded that the colours be chocolate and sky blue shirts and that we order two dozen. Proposed and seconded that Mr McGregor be requested to supply them at the lowest quotation. The chocolate colour later became claret.

Local rivalries

Aston Villa's arch-rivals are Birmingham City, games between the two clubs are known as the Second City Derby. Villa's other local rivals include West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Coventry City. As of season 2006-07 Villa will be the only Premiership club in the Midlands. The club's nearest Premiership rivals will be Sheffield United, who play approximately 100 miles away!

Managers

Secretary/Committee Period
George Ramsay Aug 1884 - May 1926
W J Smith August 1926 - May 1934
Manager Period
Jimmy McMullan June 1934 - October 1935
Jimmy Hogan November 1936 - September 1939
Alex Massie August 1945 - August 1950
George Martin December 1950 - August 1953
Eric Houghton September 1953 - November 1958
Joe Mercer December 1958 - July 1964
Dick Taylor July 1964 - May 1967
Tommy Cummings July 1967 - November 1968
Tommy Docherty December 1968 - January 1970
Vic Crowe January 1970 - May 1974
Ron Saunders June 1974 - February 1982
Tony Barton February 1982 - June 1984
Graham Turner July 1984 - September 1986
Billy McNeill September 1986 - May 1987
Graham Taylor May 1987 - July 1990
Jozef Venglos July 1990 - May 1991
Ron Atkinson July 1991 - November 1994
Brian Little November 1994 - February 1998
John Gregory February 1998 - January 2002
Graham Taylor February 2002 - May 2003
David O'Leary May 2003 - July 2006

Captains

Captain Period
George Ramsay 1876 - 1884
Archie Hunter 1884 - 1891
John Devey 1891 - 1898
Jimmy Crabtree 1898 - 1902
Howard Spencer 1902 - 1906
Joe Bache 1906 - 1914
Andy Ducut 1919 - 1921
Frank Moss 1921 - 1927
Billy Walker 1927 - 1933
Alec Talbot 1933 - 1934
Eric Houghton 1934 - 1936
Tom Griffiths 1936 - 1937
Alex Massie 1937 - 1938
George Cummings 1938 - 1949
Dicky Dorsett 1949 - 1951
Danny Blanchflower 1951 - 1955
Johnny Dixon 1955 - 1959
Vic Crowe 1959 - 1964
Alan Deakin 1964 - 1966
Charlie Aitken 1966 - 1973
Chris Nicholl 1973 - 1974
Ian Ross 1974 - 1976
Leighton Phillips & Chris Nicholl 1976 - 1977
Dennis Mortimer 1977 - 1984
Allan Evans 1984 - 1989
Paul McGrath 1989 - 1992
Kevin Richardson 1992 - 1995
Gareth Southgate 1995 - 2000
Steve Staunton & Paul Merson 2000 - 2003
Olof Mellberg 2003 - present

Greatest Players

1880s

  • Archie Hunter (Forward)
  • George Ramsay (Forward)
  • Howard Vaughton (Forward)

1890s

  • Charlie Athersmith (Winger)
  • James Cowan (Midfielder)
  • John Devey (Forward)
  • Howard Spencer (Defender)

1900s

  • Joe Bache (Forward)
  • Harry Hampton (Forward)

1910s

  • Sam Hardy (Goalkeeper)
  • Clem Stephenson (Forward)

1920s

  • Frank Barson (Midfielder)
  • Tommy Smart (Defence)
  • Billy Walker (Forward)

1930s

  • Frank Broome (Forward)
  • Eric Houghton (Forward)
  • Tom 'Pongo' Waring (Forward)

1940s

  • Danny Blanchflower (Midfielder)
  • George Cummings (Defender)
  • Trevor Ford (Forward)
  • Harry Parkes (Defender/Utility)

1950s

  • Vic Crowe (Midfielder)
  • Stan Lynn (Defender)
  • Johnny Dixon (Forward)
  • Peter McParland (Forward)
  • Nigel Sims (Goalkeeper)

1960s

  • Charlie Aitken (Defender)
  • Tony Hateley (Forward)
  • Gerry Hitchens (Forward)

1970s

  • Andy Gray (Forward) - Impressive Scottish Striker who collected a League Cup winner's medal and the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 1977
  • Ray Graydon (Forward)
  • Jimmy Rimmer (Goalkeeper) - Experienced goalkeeper who collected a European Cup winner's medal in 1982 despite having to come off with an injury
  • Andy Lochhead (Forward)
  • John Deehan (Midfielder)
  • Brian Little (Forward) - Promising forward whose playing career was halted by injury, but he later made his mark as manager

1980s

  • Des Bremner (Midfielder) - Industrious and talented midfielder
  • Gordon Cowans (Midfielder) - Midfielder in 1981 league title and 1982 European Cup triumphs
  • Allan Evans (Defence)
  • Colin Gibson (Defence)
  • Tony Morley (Midfielder)
  • Dennis Mortimer (Midfielder) - Captain of the 1981 League Championship and 1982 European Cup winning teams
  • Mark Walters (Midfielder)
  • Nigel Spink (Goalkeeper) - Rose to fame after coming on as a substitute in 1982 European Cup triumph and spent 14 more years on the club's payroll, although his first-team chances were gradually restricted by the emergence of Mark Bosnich
  • Peter Withe (Forward) - Striker who scored the winning goal for Villa in the 1982 European Cup final
  • Gary Shaw (Forward) - Talented striker who helped Villa win the league in 1981 and the European Cup a year later
  • Alan McInally (Forward) - Scottish striker who moved to Bayern Munich in 1989

1990s

  • Tony Daley (Midfielder) - Left winger who had a decent career at Villa but his career was ruined by injury at subsequent clubs
  • Dion Dublin (Forward) - Bullish centre-forward who played for Villa between 1998 and 2004
  • Paul McGrath (Defender) - Tough centre-back who played for Villa between 1989 and 1996, helping them win two League Cups as well as finish second in the league on two occasions
  • Paul Merson (Midfielder) - experienced midfielder who played for Villa between 1998 and 2002
  • David Platt (Midfielder) - Dynamic attacking midfielder who helped Villa win promotion in 1988 and finish second in the league in 1990
  • Gareth Southgate (Defender) - Reliable defender who helped Villa win the League Cup in 1996
  • Steve Staunton (Defender) - Irish wing-back who had two spells at Villa, the first of which yielded two League Cup winner's medals
  • Mark Bosnich (Goalkeeper) - Australian goalkeeper who was Villa's first choice between the sticks for much of the 1990s and collected two winner's medals in the League Cup
  • Ugo Ehiogu (Defender) - played in the centre of Villa's defence between 1991 and 2000 and was a League Cup winner on two occasions
  • Alan Wright (Defender) - talented full back who joined Villa from Blackburn in February 1995 and collected a League Cup winner's medal the following year
  • Ian Taylor (Midfielder) - reliable midfielder who played in the 1996 League Cup winning side
  • Andy Townsend (Midfielder) - Solid midfielder and captain who served Villa between 1993 and 1997, collecting two League Cup winner's medals in the process
  • Savo Milosevic (Foward) - The big striker was to become the first Serbian to play in the premiership. He served between 1995 and 1998. The striker never showed his true potential and was transfered soon after the controversial 'spitting' incident.
  • Dwight Yorke (Forward) - Trinidadian striker who joined Villa in 1989 and gradually developed into a world class striker, he remained at the club until being sold to Manchester United for £12.6million in 1998
  • Dean Saunders (Forward) - striker whose goals helped Villa finished second in the Premiership in 1993 and win the League Cup a year later

2000s

  • Olof Mellberg (Defender) - Swedish defender and captain of the Villa side
  • Gareth Barry (Defender/Midfielder) - talented young defensive midfielder who signed from Brighton at the age of 17 and has been a first team regular since 1998-99
  • Juan Pablo Angel (Forward) - Colombian striker who is Villa's record signing at £9.5million who has been a regular goalscorer since his arrival during the 2000-01 season
  • Darius Vassell (Forward) - pacy centre forward who was controversially sold to Manchester City in the summer of 2005
  • Milan Baros (Forward) - Czech striker who joined from European Cup winners Liverpool in the summer of 2005 as Vassell's replacement
  • Nolberto Solano (Midfielder) - Peruvian midfielder who was Villa's top goalscorer in 2004-05
  • Steven Davis (footballer) (Midfielder) - Talented Northern Irish central midfielder who rose to fame after some clinical displays for Aston Villa in the 2005/06 season. With a speciality in passing, tackling and dribbling, in the 2005/06 season, Davis became an all-round complete midfielder as he notched 8 goals, most notably, a stunner against Charlton Athletic in a 1-0 victory. His displays earned captaincy for Northern Ireland, and on 21 May 2006, Davis became the Northern Irish youngest ever captain, aged just 21. He was also rewarded with the Player Of The Year trophy at Aston Villa - also in May 2006.

Appearance Records

Name Games
1 Charlie Aitken 660
2 Billy Walker 531
3 Gordon Cowans 528
4 Joe Bache 474
5 Allan Evans 469
6 Nigel Spink 460
7 Tommy Smart 452
8 Johnny Dixon 430
9 Dennis Mortimer 406
10 Billy George 402

All Time Leading Goalscorers

Name Goals
1 Billy Walker 244
2 Harry Hampton 242
3 John Devey 187
4 Joe Bache 185
5 Eric Houghton 170
6 Tom 'Pongo' Waring 167
7 Johnny Dixon 144
8 Peter McParland 120
9 Billy Garraty 112
10 Dai Astley 100
11 Len Capewell 100
12 Dwight Yorke 97

Season-By-Season Record

Trivia

  • Aston Villa's current home venue is Villa Park having previously played at Aston Park (1874-1876) and Perry Barr (1876-1897). They have a training ground at Bodymoor Heath in north Warwickshire.
  • Aston Villa is one of four English teams that have won the European Champions Cup. They did so in 1982 on May 26 in Rotterdam, beating Bayern Munich 1-0 thanks to Peter Withe's 67th minute goal. Villa became the first club ever to beat Bayern Munich in a final.
  • Aston Villa is one of an elite group of 7 clubs that has played in every Premiership season, They are: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
  • To date Aston Villa have spent 96 seasons in the top-flight, the only club to have spent longer in the top-flight being Everton, (103). As a result, Aston Villa versus Everton is the most played fixture in English top flight football - Villa's 4-1 defeat away at Goodison Park in March 2006 was the 182nd such match between the two clubs.
  • Aston Villa have scored more FA Cup goals than any other club.
  • Aston Villa have provided more England internationals than any other club, 63 to date.
  • Aston Villa's 128 goals scored in season 1930/31 is the record number of league goals scored by any team in the English top-flight.
  • Aston Villa's Bob Chatt scored the winner in the 1895 FA Cup Final after just 30 seconds. It remains the fastest ever goal scored in an FA Cup Final.
  • When he took over from England-bound Graham Taylor in 1990, Jozef Venglos became the first manager not from Britain or Ireland to take charge of a top-flight club in England.
  • Villa Park was the first English ground to stage international football in three different centuries.
  • In February 2005 Aston Villa was named in the top 20 richest clubs in the world in terms of income.
  • In October 2005 Villa was approached by a consortium, thought to include the Irish property speculators Brian and Luke Comer, about a possible takeover which would value the club at around £64.4 million. Recent attempts to secure a deal, however, have been dismissed.
  • Famous supporters of Aston Villa include Prince William, Tom Hanks, David Cameron, Mark Williams, Benjamin Zephaniah, Nigel Kennedy ,Pauline McLynn and the members of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi, Terence "Geezer" Butler Bill Wardand Brian Travers of UB40, although Ozzy Osbourne has sometimes been noted to be a fan.

Wiki Source

Vote on your favourite Villa player past or present and say why if you want

Player Votes Comment
Tony Morley

1

 
Gareth Barry

1

 
Gordon Cowans

1

 
Ian Taylor

1

 
Tom Pongo Waring

1

 

Comments

In your list of captains you have mentioned my grandfather frank moss who played in the 20s & was the first man to captain England at Wembley please note, but you have failed to note that my Father, Frank Moss, was the Captain in the 1950's and Johnny Dixon was made Captain after my Father.  I note that you obviously have not realised that there were 2 Frank Mosses who played and Captained Aston Villa.Susan Moss, Daughter and Grand-Daughter.

I am trying to trace my grandfather William Cochrane Main who was listed in the 1901 Census as a Professional Footballer living in Aston. William Cochrane Main was born in Scotland.  I wonder if anyone could tell me if he played for Aston Villa at any time.  I have traced a Walter Seymour Main who played for Birmingham City from 1899 to 1901 and I believe he could be a relative. I look forward to receiving any information that anyone can give me.  Many thanks.


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