Aston Villa Football Club was formed in 1874 and is one of the 12 founder members of the Football League, finishing as runners-up to Preston North End in the inaugural season of 1888. Villa became one of the most successful teams around and by the turn of the 19th Century had already secured five First Division Championships and three FA Cup Final victories, including the League & Cup Double in 1897.
Founder Member of the Football League
Also in 1897, Villa Park became the club's home and over time has established itself as one of the most famous grounds in the world, hosting FA Cup semi finals, as well as staging matches during the 1966 World Cup and the 1996 European Championships. Villa Park was also the venue for the last ever European Cup Winners' Cup Final between Lazio and Real Mallorca in 1999.
Aston Villa's Cup Success
During the first part of the 20th Century Aston Villa picked up four more FA Cups including beating the Busby Babes in 1957. They were First Division Champions in 1909/10 and Second Division Champions in 1937/38 and 1959/60. The club then became the first ever winners of the League Cup in 1961, but amazingly by the end of the decade found themselves in the third flight of English football for the first time ever.
Lifting the European Cup
However, almost as fast as Villa's fall from grace they won the First Division Championship for the seventh time in 1980/81 and in doing so qualified for the European Cup. Villa's finest hour was just around the corner. Ron Saunders, who had guided them to the League title, resigned from the Villa Park hot seat in February 1982. Current assistant, Tony Barton, took charge and within three months led Aston Villa to the European Cup Final where they defeated Bayern Munich 1-0, thanks to a Peter Withe goal and heroics from goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer.
Overall, Aston Villa's list of honours is highly impressive, having been crowned champions of the First, Second and Third Divisions in English League football, as well as winning the FA Cup, Football League Cup, European Super Cup, InterToto Cup, FA Youth Cup and of course the European Cup.