ASTON VILLA

 

A club with proud and ancient tradition, who are striving to bring the good times back again. The club was founded by a group of cricketers in Birmingham and initially played on an amusement park, sharing with (very) lacrosse players and trick-cyclists. People thought they were mad !!

The name actually comes from a Shakespeare poem. The Bard had sauntered across from Stratford-Upon-Avon to view the building work in the area close to Spaghetti Junction (which didn't exist in his day, it was called Spaghetti crossroads then). The poem read :-
"The sight of such labours and burgeoning construction,
Beauteous result of that exquisite function,
As ton and as ton of brick
From deepest sunset orange to plain manilla,
Were assembled forsooth,
To createth a villa."

The colours chosen by the new club reflected their attitude to the game. The claret picked to reflect the colour of the red wine quaffed by the carafe after playing and the blue, the sky behind as they raised their glasses high in celebration. And celebration figured large in the early days. They became the second team to complete the League and FA Cup "double" when men were men and footballers wore bloomers. Indeed, despite the success, they were labelled as "The Villains" of the piece, when in 1895, as holders of the FA Cup, they put the trophy on display in the window of a sports shop. The Cup was stolen and was never recovered. The Villa were fined 25 and had to pay an equivalent amount to replace the FA Cup. Luckily, they were insured and so was one of their players, Charles Athersmith, who played the whole of one match under an umbrella when it was raining. Anthony Smythe once played a match pursued by his butler carrying cucumber sandwiches and Tobias Larman wore the full regalia his position of Chair of the Cradley Heath Chamber of Commerce allowed during a game against Glossop NE. 

The club have, since the Second World War, fallen upon comparatively barren times. Villa did win the first ever League Cup, when only a few teams entered and won again in 1977, which is a little known fact, because the Final against Everton went to so many replays, most people forgot who took part, let alone who came out on top. This final had to be played on a neutral ground and after the initial game at Wembley, toured the country playing on 58 of the 92 League grounds at that time. A First Division championship in 1981 was achieved with an unbelievably low number of players (9, in fact) and then the following season, took the European Cup, despite losing their goalie very early in the match and hairy monster, Peter Withe, almost missing the winning goal from two feet out, but managing to guide it in off his shin pad. Unfortunately, Villa have slipped into a cycle where they appoint managers in rotation, on their personality or lack of it (Venglos, Atkinson, Taylor, Little, Gregory).  An excellent ground (a regular venue for FA Cup semis) needs a successful side to do it justice.  The successful sides at Villa Park these days are too often the visitors.

Villa did perk up in 1999-2000, by reaching their first FA Cup final for thirty-odd years, but lost to Chelsea and have now installed David O'Leary in the manager's job, but his battles are mainly off the pitch to get money out of the chairman to buy new players.  All that changed when Randy Lerner took over and lo, he installed Martin O'Neill as the pop up in the dug-out, lavishing money on the Irishman to spend in a manner unseen in these parts since rationing ended.  However, that all ended in acrimony with the Irishman walking out on the club on the eve of the 2010-11 season, to be replaced with Gerard Houllier, who had heart problems and had to step down, eventually being succeeded in the summer of 2011 by former Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish, who had taken the Blues down the previous season.  Disgruntled Villa fans protested and with results and performances less than inspiring, it looked like the Villa supporters would be suffering with the Blues in more ways than one.

Having just avoided relegation after one season with McLeish, Villa brought in Paul Lambert - another dour Scot, to try and reinvigorate their fortunes.  When he failed, they turned to self-publicist Tim Sherwood, who suffered the same fate after just 28 games (20 of which were lost) and Villa were pinned to the bottom of the table.  Lerner decided to bring in the Old Garde in the shape of Remi, the former Arsenal player, but his failure to change the fortunes of the side saw the fans turn against the team and the owner, as his team headed down to the Championship.  A sad state of affairs for what was a big club.

A little name - Tony Xia, a Chinese businessman - bought into the Villa dream and wanted them to be in the Champions League within five years, but while money talks in China, in the West Midlands, it didn't make as big a noise.

FAMOUS PLAYERS :- Gary Penrice, Ian Olney, Pongo Waring (who had his own dressing room), Brendan Ormsby, Perry Barr, Ian Ormondroyd.

FAMOUS FANS : - Nigel Kennedy (Violinist), Floella Benjamin (Children's TV presenter), Mark Williams (Actor - The Fast Show (TV), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Film), John Taylor (Musician - Duran Duran), Jane Sixsmith (England Ladies Hockey player), Sir Norman Fowler (Former MP and Chairman of the Conservative Party); Tom Hanks (Film Actor - Castaway; Big; Philadelphia); Prince Harry, David Cameron (Conservative MP).

Club Records 

Formed 1874
Turned Professional 1885
Became a Limited Company 1896
Previous names -
Previous grounds Wilson Road & Aston Park & Aston Lower Grounds   1874-76
Perry Barr      1876-97
Nickname "The VILLANS"
Club Colours HOME : Shirts - Claret with sky blue sleeves
Shorts - Sky blue
Socks - Claret with blue trim

AWAY : Shirts - Black with claret and blue trim
Shorts - Black
Socks - Black with claret and blue trim

Record Premier League Win 7-1  v Wimbledon
Home        11.2.1995
Record Premier League Defeat 0-8  v Chelsea
Away        23.12.2012
 
Record Football League Win 12-2  v Accrington Stanley
Div. 1        12.3.1892
Record Football League Defeat 1-8 v   Blackburn Rovers
FAC R3        16.2.1889
Record Cup Win 13-0  Wednesbury Old Athletic
FAC R1      30.10.1886
Record Fee Paid 18 million (rising to 24 million) to Sunderland for Darren BENT  (18th January 2011)
Record Fee Received 12.6 million from Manchester United for Dwight YORKE (August 1998)
Record Football League Appearances 561 -  Charlie AITKEN  (1961-75)
Record Premier League Appearances 196 - Ugo EHIOGU (1992-99)
Record Premier League goal-scorer 60 -  Dwight YORKE (1992-98)
Record goal-scorer in a Premier League season 19 - Christian BENTEKE (2012-13)
Record goal-scorer in a season 49  -  Pongo WARING  Div.1         1930-31
Record all-time goal-scorer  215  -  Harry HAMPTON  (1904-20)
Most goals in a match 5 - Harry HAMPTON  
v Sheffield Wednesday  Division 1    5.10.12
5 - Harold HALSE   
v   Derby County  Division 1   19.10.1912
5 - Len CAPEWELL  v  Burnley   Division 1     29.8.1925
5 - George BROWN  v  Leicester City  
Division 1      2.1.1932
5 - Gerry HITCHENS  v  Charlton Athletic  
Division 1      8.11.1959
Record Home Attendance (all-time) 76,588 v  Derby County
FAC R6       2.2.1946
Record Premier League Attendance 45,347
Record match receipts 1,196,712  Portugal v Czech Republic  (Euro 96)  23.6.1996
Record total of goals in a Premier League season 57 -   1992-93, 42 games
Record Premier League points total 74  -  1992-93, 42 games
Record total of goals in a  League season 128  -  Division 1  1930-31
Record  League points total 3 points for a win : 78  Division 2 1987-88

2 points for a win : 70  Division 3  1971-72

Most Capped player while at the club Paul McGRATH  51  (Republic of Ireland)

Stadium details 

Villa Park, Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6HE

Telephone : 0121 327 2299
0121 327 5353  (Ticket Office)
0121 607 8000  (Credit Card Bookings)
09068 121148  (News)
09068 121848  (Ticketline)
Fax : 0121 327 2107

Capacity : 39,217
Pitch size : 115 yards  x  72 yards
Official website : Aston Villa
 Unofficial websites : Heroes and Villains 
 
 

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