The last time Aston Villa was relegated


For the first time in more than three decades Aston Villa has been relegated from England’s top flight after a disastrous season which saw collecting only 16 points with 3 victories,8 draws and a record of 26 defeats.But we are going to the last time when Aston Villa which now is on the verge of being another forgotten club like Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.The beginning of the 1980s were Villa’s golden era under Ron Saunders the club in the 1980-81 season after seven long decades won the First Division title in which Saunders used only 14 players in 42 match season which was an incredible feat.That meant also the entrance in the European Champions Cup which Villa won in the 1981-82 season by beating Bayern Munich in the final by a single goal scored by Peter Withe.However halfway the season Saunders quit the team due to a dispute with the club chairman,that was when Villa was playing in the quarterfinal against Dynamo Kiev and from that point Tony Barton led the club to European glory and later that year Villa won the European Super by beating FC Barcelona in two legs and that was the last of Aston Villa in European football until the 2000s.In December 1982 Doug Ellis who was the club’s chairman before he was ousted in 1979 returned to the club which was almost 2 million pounds in debt with a decline in attendances,meanwhile in just two seasons (1983-84 and 1984-85) Villa lost the majority of squad which was responsible for the success in the mid-to-late 1970s when the club first achieved promotion to the First Division and after that went to conquer Europe.Only Evans,Willams and Shaw to start the 1986-87 season opener against Nottingham Forest.Under Barton Villa in the 1982-83 season achieved a 6th place in the First Division,while in the next they were 11th which led to Barton’s firing and Ellis who was controversial figure at the club hired an unknown player-manager by the name of Graham Turner and that would be fatal for the club.Turner’s hiring was a surprise considering that there were much known and experienced names such as David Pleat,John Toshack or Ron Atkinson,however Ellis hired the most unexperienced person for the job besides that Ellis wanted Villa to play in Europe.The 1984-85 season didn’t saw any improvement in fact Villa was on the edge of a disaster when they at one time were 18th and were considered to be favorites to be relegated to the Second Division,but a strong second half of the season saw them ending at the 10th place which was similar to Barton’s 11th place a season earlier.The next 1985-86 season was even worse when the club was in constant danger of droping out of the First Division besides that it reached the semifinals of the League Cup where they were defeated by the eventually winners Oxford United 4-3 and in the last five matches of the season they won three which was enough to preserve their First Division status.But all of the warinings from previous seasons where the club was in decline and narrowly avoided relegation from the First Division were ignored besides it had young talented players like Martin Known,Tony Dorigo,Paul Elliot and Dave Norton with experienced players like Garry Thompson,Andy Gray and Simon Strinrod,but they underperfomed and with Turner’s disastrous coaching decisions Villa was heading towards a disaster.In the 1st match of the 1986-87 season Villa was defeated by Tottenham and it was a preview of things to come and a microcosm what was wrong with the club,after that they were defeaed by Wimbledon 3-2 but won 2-1 against Luton Town,but it was the 6-0 defeat against Clough’s Forest which spelled doom for Turner and he was fired from the club in September 1986,however Ellis hired Billy McNeill who at the time was in Manchester City.McNeill’s start in Villa was good,in the first five matches Villa won four and climbed to 16th place at the table however it proved that the 2-0 victory against Leicester on the 1st of November was a pyrric victory.In the next match against McNeill’s former club Manchester City where Aston Villa was defeated 3-1 it was the beginning of the end for Villa in the First Division.Next they were defeated 4-0 by Arsenal at home with Martin Known scoring an own goal,then they were defeated 4-1 by Chelsea besides that they went on three match unbeaten streak,3-0 defeat against Everton,another hammering by Tottenham this time it was 3-0 and defeats against QPR and Luton left Villa at the 21st place in mid-February which meant that they were on the edge of being relegated.Besides all of the defeats and standing on the verge on being relegated,McNeill brought Warren Aspinall from Everton who in their reserve squad made 21 goals in 23 matches.After Villa was trounced by Southampton 5-0 they went into a four-match unbeaten run which gave them some hope to retain their First Division status but in the end they didn’t besides they won 1-0 against Coventry City,but it was 3-0 defeat against Charlon Atheltic which condemned Aston Villa to the Second Division,but there was a last hurrah when they won 4-0 against West Ham United with Aspinall scoring twice,but that was just deying the inevitable.Just after five after they were crowned European Champions under Tony Barton Aston Villa was relegated from the First Division with a 2-1 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday finishing dead last with only 36 points,8 victories,12 draws and 22 losses.Four days after Villa was relegated Billy McNeill was fired and Ellis was forced to hire a new manager who will return the club to the First Division.Ellis hired Graham Taylor and Villa spent only a single season in the Second Division and in the 1988-89 they returned to the First Division when again were in danger of being relegated but they finished 17th which was enough to stay,while in Livepool’s last title season Aston Villa finished 2nd.But that is a lesson for Aston Villa and it will be critical to achieve promotion at first attempt like the have done that three decades ago so Aston Villa doesn’t suffer the fate of Leeds United and Nottingham Forest who after all these years are trying to get into the Premier League.


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