Tag: Aston Villa

Aston Villa & The Pursuit Of Mediocrity

Upon the tootling of the full time whistle at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, a somewhat familiar chorus of booing rang around one of the few remaining historical homes of English football. A home defeat at the hands of a Sheffield United team that is currently struggling to keep its head above water two divisions below them isn’t a result that it’s possible to put a positive spin upon especially when the manager of your club has chucked his eggs into the basket of stating boldly that the FA Cup doesn’t matter any more, especially in comparison with the relentlessly perpetual battle to hang onto that financially important – but frequently boring – mid-table place in the Premier League. Paul Lambert’s comments regarding Saturday’s match were stupid, but not necessarily for the reasons that you might expect us to say. Quite frankly, we’re quite a long way beyond the point of caring about this tedious annual debate. We know. We see it in the attendance figures. We see see it in the annual caterwauling of supporters with a sense of the sort of sense of entitlement that is a inevitable by-product of the sort of gentrification that the game has been subjected to over the last couple of decades. We know. We’ve had this conversation before. And every year, we say that other sports are available to those for...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Eighteen – Goal Of The Season, Courtesy Of Tony Morley

We’re into February of 1981 now and Aston Villa, unburdened as their main rivals for the Football League Championship were by the distractions of cup football, were starting to come into form. By the time of this match, a gap had opened up between Villa and Ipswich Town at the top of the table and the rest. Even Liverpool, the defending champions and pre-season favourites to retain their title, had slipped to six points behind the top two – a sizable gap when a win is only worth two points. The cameras of Match Of The Day followed Ron Saunders’ team north, to Goodison Park for a match against Everton, and viewers were treated to that year’s Goal Of The Season, courtesy of Villa’s Tony Morley. Our second match, meanwhile, takes us to Stamford Bridge, where a Chelsea side still chasing promotion from the Second Division were at home against Cambridge United. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Fourteen – Villa & Liverpool Face Off

With the FA Cup Third Round out of the way, the secon weekend of 1981 was time for the league campaign to get back under way, and it’s worth taking a moment to remind ourselves of how tight things were as hostilities in the league resumed. Here’s the top ten in the First Division, as the clubs resumed their fixtures in the new year. Liverpool led the table, but only on goals scored from Aston Villa and with Ipswich Town in third place in the table, a point behind the top two but with two games in hand on the two sides above them. Liverpool and Ipswich, however, were still involved in both European competitions and the FA Cup, whilst Villa’s exit at Portman Road in the Third Round of the competition meant that they could, in the most literal possible sense, “concentrate on the league.” Meanwhile, even at this point in the season and with only two points for a win, even supporters of clubs down to getting towards the middle of the table could, perhaps, convince themselves that a spectacular run could yet see their club propel itself towards the top of the table. It was, then, as good a time as any for Aston Villa to take on Liverpool at Aston Villa at Villa Park in front of the Match Of The Day cameras. We have...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Eleven – Villa Start To Kick Into Gear

We’re now less than two weeks from Christmas 1980 in our new series on the story of the 1980/81 football season, and this morning we have another three matches for you from that very season. Aston Villa against Birmingham City is our a first match, a feisty local derby at the best of times but one made all the spicier this time around by the fact that the home side went into the match separated from the top of the First Division table from the champions Liverpool only by goal difference. Our second match sees Tottenham Hotspur play Manchester City at White Hart Lane, and finally two matches from the Second Round of the FA Cup, with something of a derby again as Sheffield United play Chesterfield. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part 5 – Aston Villa Start To Come Of Age

As the nights draw in and summer started to turn to autumn in 1980, it was starting to become clear that perhaps Liverpool might not have everything to themselves over the course of the 1980/81. The defending champions were in second place in the First Division table, but a number of clubs were bunched together in the chasing pack behind the early leaders Ipswich Town was one that had spent many of the previous years in a state of relative difficulty, Aston Villa. Relegated from the First Division of the Football League in 1967, it took eight years for one of England’s most storied clubs to regain its poise, even spending two years in the Third Division between 1970 and 1972 before getting promoted back to the top flight again in 1975. Still, though, Villa hadn’t been the champions of England since 1910, and with a relatively small squad of players to choose from – they would complete the season having used just fourteen players, a record which hasn’t been broken and is unlikely now ever to be – and, although the club had successively finished in the top half of the First Division table since its return and won the League Cup in 1977, it had seldom looked like challenging for the league title. They started the fourth of October 1980 in fourth place in the table and...

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