The local rivals of Birmingham City Football Club are Aston Villa, whose home field is Villa Park. Aston is a district of Birmingham and lies north-east of the city. Villa Park, aside from being the home ground of “The Lions”, has also hosted sixteen England international matches and has a capacity of 42,682.
Aston Villa’s first match was an interesting affair. It was played against a local rugby side, but only under the condition that one half was played under rugby rules and the next under football rules. The club was founded in 1874 and played at the Wellington Road ground from 1876 to 1897, before moving to its current home site. “Villa Park” was so-named by the club’s supporters and was originally titled “Aston Lower Grounds”.
Quickly proving themselves as one of the best in the country, Aston Villa achieved early success by winning the FA Cup in 1887. They joined the newly formed English Football League in 1888 and became hard to beat during the late 19th century, winning 5 League Titles and 3 FA Cups by the end of the Victorian era.
In 1920, Aston Villa won their sixth FA Cup, but began to decline thereafter. The team was relegated to the Second Division in 1936 and its loss of momentum was compounded by the Second World War, which halted play for seven seasons. Success didn’t come Villa’s way again until the 1956/57 season, when the club won a seventh FA Cup Final.
Aston Villa’s league fortunes fluctuated over the coming decades as they were relegated to the Second Division and even Third Division, but by the late 1970s and early 80s, the team was re-established in top-flight football. The crowning glory of this return came when Villa won the European Cup Final in 1982, followed by the UEFA Super Cup.
The club had mixed results in the years following this European success. Although there were more cup successes, the team struggled in the league. Today, Aston Villa play in the same EFL Championship division as Birmingham City. The Lions wait to pounce once again.