Video of the Day: Manchester United vs Aston Villa, January 1983
Aston Villa will be relegated from the Premier League this weekend, and it is perhaps appropriate that their match over the course of this two days sees the club travel to Old Trafford to play Manchester United, fellow founder members of the Premier League but also club that has often seemed to have some sort of hold over Villa. What a different world it was on New Year’s Day 1983. Liverpool were six points clear of Nottingham Forest at the top of the Premier League, with Manchester United, under the guidance of Ron Atkinson, in fourth place, eight points behind the leaders.
Aston Villa had been the champions of England two years earlier and the champions of Europe less than a year before, but the feeling that this little outburst of success might have been an outlier rather than the beginnings of the building of an empire to rival that built by Liverpool was beginning to dissipate by the start of 1983. Manager Ron Saunders had gone, to be replaced by Tony Barton, and Villa went into this match in seventh place in the First Division table, still chasing a UEFA Cup place but with a championship challenge starting to look too much for this season.
Liverpool, of course, would send up the runaway champions of England in 1983, with Manchester United having to settle for the relative consolation prize of the FA Cup. Four years later, Aston Villa were relegated from the First Division, though their stay away from it turned out to only last for the one season. The question that may be playing on many Aston Villa minds this afternoon may well be that of when they might be returning to Old Traff0rd for a league match again. This match is introduced by Jimmy Hill and Bob Wilson, and commentary comes from John Motson.
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