By Andre Moura, FootballPredictions.NET, 11:56 04/10/2020
Going into the final day of the 2019/2020 Premier League season, Aston Villa needed to match Watford’s final day result to stay in the division. However, if Villa and the Hornets both lost, it would open the door to Bournemouth, who needed nothing less than a win, to stay up.
A 1-1 draw was achieved at West Ham, and Dean Smith had achieved his goal of keeping the team in the Premier League.
This was seen as a successful season during their first campaign back in the top flight. However, it was a far cry from the Villa days of old. Founding members of the Premier League, and former European Cup winners, the Birmingham-based side is steeped in history.
In 2016, the club was relegated to the Championship for the first time in its history. After three seasons in England’s second division, Smith had taken the club back to where they believe they should be via the play-offs.
Despite a recent history of relegation and scrapping for survival, Aston Villa is still seen as one of the biggest clubs in England.
Seven Old First Division Titles
Before the foundation of the Premier League in 1992, the Villans made claim to seven first division titles, with the first coming in the 1893/94 season. Villa pipped Sunderland to the league title after achieving 44 points.
They then lifted back-to-back titles in 1895/96 and 1896/97. Three more league titles followed until 1910, where they would have to wait 71 years for their next.
A fiercely-contested First Division title race went the distance between Villa and Ipswich Town across the 1980/81 season. After a 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough, Villa only needed a draw from their final league match in order to lift the title.
Despite losing to Arsenal, Villa still lifted the trophy as results when in their favour as Ipswich lost to Norwich City.
The 1980/81 title is Villa’s last to date, and despite finishing second during the inaugural Premier League season, they haven’t been able to match their early success in the league since.
Seven FA Cups
Much like their history with the old First Division title, Aston Villa won the majority of their FA Cups across the late 1800s and early 1900s. Their first success in the competition came in 1886/87 where Archibald Hunter and Dennis Hodgetts both scored in a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Villa then added to this triumph as they won the FA Cup five more times in 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920.
The last time they lifted the trophy was in 1957 when they beat Manchester United 2-1, thanks to a Peter McParland brace.
Despite not winning the competition since then, Villa’s most recent final appearance came in 2015, where they lost to Arsenal. Goals from Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud secured a 4-0 victory for the Gunners.
1982 European Cup Winners
Arguably the biggest night in Aston Villa’s history came when Tony Barton’s side reached the pinnacle of European football in 1982.
Villa’s route to the final seemed pretty routine, as they swept past Valur, Dynamo Berlin, Dynamo Kyiv and Anderlecht.
Villa thumped Valur, triumphing over the Icelandic side with a 7-0 aggregate victory over two legs. They had the away goals rule to thank for their progression against Berlin as they won the first leg away from home 2-1, but lost at Villa Park 1-0. An aggregate score of 2-2 gave Villa the advantage thanks to their two goals scored in Germany.
A 2-0 aggregate victory against Dynamo Kyiv saw Villa progress into the semi-finals where they faced Anderlecht. A 1-0 home victory coinciding with a 0-0 draw away from home set up a final tie against Bayern Munich in Rotterdam.
Peter Withe would then go on to cement his place in Aston Villa folklore by scoring the only goal of the game midway through the second half. Villa held out and lifted the European Cup in front of 46,000 spectators.