Aston Villa was formed in 1874 by Jack Hughes, Walter Price, Frederick Matthews and William Scattergood. They were all members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel cricket team, but wanted to play football in addition to cricket. After paying a series of friendlies against local teams, they entered and won the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1880.
However, Villa’s first real achievement was realised in 1887 with their first FA Cup win, and the following year they were one of the instigators of the Football League with the help of director William McGregor.
There followed a succession of league and cup wins from 1894 to 1920, which was definitely their golden era.
Cups and League Titles
Onwards from 1920, Villa never recaptured the heights of previous years and were relegated for the first time in 1936. They had to wait until 1957 before winning their next trophy with a 2-1 FA Cup final win against Manchester United.
After a brief period in the Second Division, Villa regained their top flight status in 1960 and the following season became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Another period of decline ensued before Ron Saunders was appointed manager in 1974.
Under Saunders, as a Second Division club, they won the League Cup and promotion in 1975. Villa gradually established themselves as formidable First Division outfit culminating in securing the First Division title in1981
If the 1890’s and early twentieth century was their golden era, 1982 was their finest season bringing victory in the European Cup Final in Rotterdam over Bayern Munich. Although they won the League Cup twice in the 1990’s, they never really built on that European success, yet they remain a prominent team in Premier League.
- First Division Champions (7)
1894, 1896, 1897, 1899, 1900, 1910, 1981
- Second Division Champions (2)
- Third Division Champions (1)
- League Cup Wins (5)
1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996
- FA Cup Wins (7)
1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957
- European Cup
Aston Villa began their playing days at Aston Park, staying there for two years before moving to Perry Barr, which was home for 13 years. Villa Park was opened in 1897 and Aston Villa have remained there since. At that time it was sports ground in the former grounds of Aston Hall, a stately home. It was officially called Aston Lower Grounds, but nicknamed Villa Park.
The ground was purchase in 1911 and soon the cycling track was removed. Over the years, Villa Park has been completely refurbished into an all seater stadium with a capacity of just 42,000.
- Peter McParland
He scored both goals in the 1957 FA Cup final win, and also scored in 1961 League Cup Final success.
- Denis Mortimer
He was captain of the 1982 European Cup final winning team and made over 400 appearances in a 10 year spell with the club.
- Vic Crowe
Signed in 1951, he soon became first choice right half and captained the team to the 1961 League Cup triumph. He later returned to manage the team.
- Paul McGrath
He was regarded as one of the best footballers to emerge from Ireland, and he became a popular and reliable player during his seven years at Aston Villa despite rarely training due to knee problems.
- Gordon Cowans
He had three spells as Villa player between 1976 and 1994, and during his first stay the midfielder was part of European Cup winning team and was PFA Young Player of the Year.
- Charlie Aitken
From 1961 he made a record number of appearances for Aston Villa, 660 in total, playing as a left back.
Other Interesting Facts
- In their first match against Aston Brook St Mary’s rugby team, the first half was rugby and the second half football.
- Villa Park has hosted more FA Cup semi-finals than any other stadium.
- Aston Villa scored 128 league goals in the1930-31 season, a record in the English top flight.