International 101: Aston Villa FC

Club is one if the oldest and most storied clubs in English football history

Aston Villa team

Photo Credit: 
(Getty Images)

 Holte End at Villa Park

As one of the oldest professional clubs in England, Aston Villa has a long and storied history with seven FA Cup titles as well as seven First Division Championships to their name. Winning the European Cup in during the 1981-82 season, they are one of only four English teams to have won what is now the UEFA Champions League. Located in the city of Birmingham in the Midlands area of England, Aston Villa has played at the historic Villa Park since 1897.

History

  • Founded in 1874 when Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood—all friends from a local cricket team—met under a gas-light to form a new club.
     
  • In 1888, Aston Villa was one of the formational members of the new Football League
     
  • 1931 sees Tim “Pongo” Waring score an incredible 49 league goals. Villa finish in second place to league winner Arsenal.
     
  • In 1982, striker Peter Withe—who scored the first-ever Timbers goal in its NASL history in 1975—helps Villa to the European Cup title by scoring the game-winning goal against Bayern Munich in the final.
     
  • Aston Villa were among the founding members of the modern English Premier League in 1992 and have remained in the top flight ever since.

Culture

  • Long one of stalwarts of Midlands football, Aston Villa has had a long rivalry with cross-town club Birmingham City. West Bromwich Albion, whom the Timbers hosted last season in a friendly, is also a longtime rival going back into the late 19th century when the two teams battled in three FA Cup finals. Aston Villa won two of the three.

     Aston Villa, 1899

  • The clubs traditional colors are a distinctive claret shirt with sky blue sleeves. The club shield badge includes a heraldic rampant gold lion, a single white star, and the club motto: Prepared. The star denotes the 1982 European Cup title.
     
  • Aston Villa supporters gather in the historic Holte End of Villa Park. One of their better known terrace songs is “The Bells Are Ringing."

Past Greats

George Ramsey
One of the most famous and largest figures in Aston Villa history, Ramsey served numerous roles with the club. During a tenure that saw him perform in stints as a player, captain, manager, and secretary of the club between 1874-1926, the team won six Football League First Division Championships to go along with six FA Cup titles.

Peter Withe
One of only twelve members in the Aston Villa Hall of Fame, Withe played 182 matches with the Claret and Blue as a forward between 1980 and 1985 scoring 74 goals. His most memorable strike being the only goal in Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in 1982. Withe also played with the Portland Timbers in their inaugural NASL season in 1975 scoring 22 goals.

Vic Crowe
The gritty right-half played in 264 matches for Aston Villa between 1952-1964 later coming back to manage the side between 1970-1974. He then came to the United States to lead the NASL Portland Timbers, managing them to the Soccer Bowl championship match in their inaugural season in 1975. Crowe managed Portland for two seasons until 1976, then returned to lead them from 1980-1982.

Mick Hoban
In another Timbers-Aston Villa connection, Timbers Alumni Ambassador Mick Hoban came up through the youth ranks of Aston Villa as a midfielder playing in a number of friendlies. After being loaned out to the Atlanta Chiefs of the NASL in 1971, he eventually made his way to the Portland Timbers playing 65 matches between 1975-1978.

For more on the numerous Timbers-Aston Villa connections in the late 1970s, read FC Media's great history of the era in two parts. Part I and Part II.