As the International break is upon us, an apposite time to look ahead to our next Championship match. After both teams were thumped 4-1 last weekend, we sit 13th and 12th respectively, same 9 points, our negative goal difference, the difference! A good performance essential, now that we are back at Ewood and on the telly box. Our most famous defendant must be fit, after a few bouts of unpaid work, and hopefully back for the day job?
Anyway, I play five-a-side on a Thursday, and one of my fellow fifty something five-a-siders is a Villa fan. More interestingly, his son is a budding radio football commentator and has done a bit already on BBC Radio Lancs, so thanks Rick and Scott for the following (they apologise for the cut and paste Wiki history!) :
Questions for a Villa fan!
A short history of your club?(
Aston Villa F.C. were formed in March 1874, by four members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel (known as early as 1867 as Aston Villa Wesleyan Chapel) in Lozells. The four founders were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. The first match was against the local Aston Brook St Mary's Rugby team. 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. The club were soon playing the modern version of football though and the club won its first FA Cup in 1887. Aston Villa were one of the dozen teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the club's directors, William McGregor being the league's founder. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era. By the end of Villa's "Golden Age" at the start of the First World War, the club had won the League Championship six times and the FA Cup five times.
Aston Villa won their sixth FA Cup in 1920. For the remainder of the inter-war years though, Villa were on a slow decline that would lead to them being relegated to the Second Division in 1936 for the first time in their history. They returned to the top-tier of English football by the outbreak of the Second World War. As with many clubs, the war brought much change to Villa Park and remainder of the 1940s were spent rebuilding the team. By 1957, Villa were a Cup winning side once again with the club's seventh FA Cup win. Even though Villa won the inaugural League Cup in 1960, the club were to enter into a very unsuccessful period. The 1960s saw much change at Villa Park. By the end of the 1960s, Villa were languishing in the Second Division and fan pressure led to the resignation of the Board and the introduction of Doug Ellis as Villa Chairman. The club was then relegated to the Third Division. In the 1971–72 season Aston Villa returned to the Second Division as champions with a record 70 points. In 1974 Ron Saunders was appointed manager and by 1975 he had led the club back into the First Division and into European competition. The club was back among the elite and it continued to have much success under Saunders and won the league in the 1980–81 season. Saunders' resignation halfway through the 1981–82 season came as a surprise, with the club in the quarter-final of the European Cup. He was replaced by his assistant manager Tony Barton who guided them to 1–0 victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in Rotterdam. However, winning the cup marked a pinnacle and the club fell steadily down the League standings over the next five years and was relegated in 1987. However, the club was promoted the following year and achieved second place in the Football League in 1989.
Villa was one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992, and finished runners-up to Manchester United in the inaugural season. The 1990s was a decade of inconsistency; the club had three different managers and league positions were unpredictable, despite winning two League Cups. They reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1957 in 2000, but lost 1–0 to Chelsea in the last game to be played at the old Wembley Stadium. Once again Villa's league position fluctuated under various managers and in the summer of 2006, David O'Leary left under acrimonious circumstances. Martin O'Neill soon arrived and received a rapturous reception. After 23 years as chairman and largest shareholder, owning approximately 38% of the club, Doug Ellis decided to sell his stake to Randy Lerner, the owner of the NFL franchise Cleveland Browns. The arrival of a new owner and manager marked the start of sweeping changes throughout the club, including a new crest, a new kit sponsor and new players in the summer of 2007. After several years of narrowly avoiding the drop, Villa were relegated at the end of the 2015–16 season.
Undoubtedly winning the League in 1980-81 followed by the European Cup in 81-82 season. However, beating Manchester United 3-1 in the 1994 League Cup Final is up there
What did you make of pre-season? Is there stability at the club?
Overall our pre-season went well with a few of the youngsters coming through. However, the start of the close season was dominated by talk of the club going into administration and having to sell at least £40 million of talent to stave off breaching FFP regulations. We were partially bought (55%) by new owners worth £49 billion in June which has removed any problem with liquidity and we have now gone into the market adding 6 new players (2 bought and 4 loans).
Stability in the form of Steve Bruce has been maintained and we have just appointed a new CEO, Christian Purslow, who is ex Liverpool and Chelsea.
Both clubs have made a decent start to the season ( save for this weekend’s fixtures when we both got tubbed!)). From a Villa fans point of view, with all that was happening pre-season, what were your expectations for the campaign, and is nothing less that automatic promotion expected/possible and/or attainable?
Early in pre-season it seemed that survival was the aim for this year as all the loans went back and we were looking to sell all the crown jewels. However, the new investors have changed that and we are now expecting automatic promotion given the quality of the players we have. Given the investment we will have FFP issues if we don’t go up.
If not, would you be happy with the play-offs again?
We would probably accept play offs but not be happy!
Who are the players in the current team to look out for?
Jack Grealish, Jonathon Kodja, John McGinn, Tammy Abrahams, Bolasie, Al Ghazi
Are Villa fans generally happy with Steve Bruce?
No – generally thought to be too negative/cautious and getting the sum of the team to add up to less than its parts. Particularly hostile at the moment due to his total failure to build a balanced squad and insistence on playing players out of position. For example, current back 4 are:
RB Tuenzebe – MU loan, normally CB (We have 4 genuine RB’s at the club, Hutton, De Laet, El Mohammady, Bree)
CB – Chester – ok
CB – Jedinak – a defensive midfielder (He also loaned Elphick to Hull our only other genuine CB)
LB – Hutton who is a RB. He won’t play Taylor who is the only LB at the club
How have you bedded in to life in the Championship? Was it an eye-opener?
Quite enjoyed the championship and to be competing for something each year is better than 5 years of struggle in the Premiership. However, the quality of football when compared to the top of the Premiership is light years away
Predictions for top six places?
Middlesborough, West Brom, Derby, Villa, Swansea, Brentford
Predictions for relegation?
QPR, Reading, Hull
How are ticket sales going, bearing in mind it’s a Saturday evening game on Sky?
Our allocation is 5000 and we normally sell out but I’d predict 3500-4000 will travel
Prediction against Rovers?
We can’t defend but will probably have Bolasie, Abrahams, Kodja, Al Ghasi all playing so I’ll go for a high scoring draw – 2-2.
So there you have it. A Villa perspective.
Head to head:
Rovers W: 62
First meeting: 13th October 1888, Villa 6 Rovers 1! (First Football League - both inaugural members)
We got our revenge just over a month later winning 5-1, with a Southworth hat-trick, in front of 9,000.
Villa went on to finish second in the league behind the Nob enders, Rovers finishing fourth.
Our last meeting was in April 17, when a Danny Graham goal was enough to seal victory, but it was too little too late to avoid the drop.
No doubt the Sky cameras will affect the attendance, and I see that prices have not been slashed to encourage the masses to go.
I just hope that we put Bristol behind us and TM motivates the team he puts out as much as he did to persuade DJ Clark not to send BD down......
I'm rubbish at predictions, hard earned 2-1 win, 16,000.
I'll take 13th season end.