ASTON VILLA's LEAGUE CUP FINALS

Villa were founder members of the Football League Cup, which was first played for in season 1960/61, and of which Villa were the first winners. That first final was not played until the beginning of season 1961/62, however, by which time Gerry Hitchens (who had scored a number of goals in the Football League Cup, and 42 overall for the season for Villa) had departed for Italy. For the first few years, finals were played on a two-leg basis (home and away) - a basis that still exists for the semi-finals - and then subsequent finals were played at Wembley until its closure for re-building.

These are the basic details relating to the first 5 finals Villa played inm together with reports on the last two.

1961 Final - Villa won 3-2 on aggregate against Rotherham United

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
12-10-1960 Home Huddersfield    4-1
15-11-1960 Away      Preston    3-3
           Replay:   23-11-1960 3-1
13-12-1960 Home     Plymouth    3-3
           Replays:  19-12-1960 0-0
                     06-02-1961 5-3
22-02-1961 Home      Wrexham    3-0
10-04-1961 Semi-final 1st leg:  Away Burnley 1-1
26-04-1961 Semi-final 2nd leg:  Home Burnley 2-2
                     Play-off:  02-05-1961   2-1

First Leg: Millmoor, 22 August 1961. Att: 12,226
Ref: KA. Collinge.

Rotherham United (0) 2 (Webster, Kirkman)
Aston Villa (0) 0

Rotherham U: Ironside; Perry, Lol Morgan, Lambert, Peter Madden, Waterhouse, Webster, Weston, Ken Houghton, Kirkman, Bambridge.

Villa: Sims; Lynn, Gordon Lee, Crowe, Dugdale, Deakin, MacEwan, Thomson, Ralph Brown, Wylie, McParland.

Second Leg: Villa Park, 5 September 1961. Att: 31,202
Ref: CW. Kingston.

Aston Villa (0) 3 (A O’Neill, H Burrows, McParland)
Rotherham United (0) 0, after extra time.

Villa: Sidebottom; John Neal, Gordon Lee, Crowe, Dugdale, Deakin, MacEwan, Alan O’Neill, McParland, Thomson, Harry Burrows.

Rotherham U: Ironside; Perry, Lol Morgan, Lambert, Peter Madden, Waterhouse, Webster, Weston, Ken Houghton, Kirkman, Bambridge.



1963 Final - Villa lost 1-3 on aggregate against Birmingham City

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
24-09-1962 Home Peterborough 6-1
17-10-1962 Home        Stoke 3-1
12-11-1962 Home      Preston 6-2
03-12-1962 Home      Norwich 4-1
12-01-1963 Semi-final 1st leg:  Away Sunderland 3-1
22-04-1963 Semi-final 2nd leg:  Home Sunderland 0-0

First Leg: St Andrew's, 23 May 1963. Att: 31,850
Ref: E. Crawford.

Birmingham City (1) 3 (Leek 2, Bloomfield)
Aston Villa (1) 1 (Thomson)

Birmingham: Schofield; Lynn, Colin Green, Hennessey, Trevor Smith, Beard, Hellawell, Bloomfield, Jimmy Harris, Leek, Auld.

Villa: Sims; Fraser, Aitken, Crowe, Sleeuwenhoek, Gordon Lee, Alan Baker, Graham, Thomson, Wylie, Harry Burrows.

Second Leg: Villa Park, 27 May 1963. Att: 37,921
Ref: AW. Sparling.

Aston Villa (0) 0
Birmingham City (0) 0

Villa: Sims; Fraser, Aitken, Crowe, Chatterley, Gordon Lee, Alan Baker, Graham, Thomson, Wylie, Harry Burrows.

Birmingham: Schofield; Lynn, Colin Green, Hennessey, Trevor Smith, Beard, Hellawell, Bloomfield, Jimmy Harris, Leek, Auld.



1971 Final - Villa lost 0-2 against Tottenham Hotspur
At Wembley, 27 February 1971. Att: 100,000
Ref: J. Finney.

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
Home        Notts Co 4-0
Away     Northampton 1-1
             Replay: 3-0
Home        Carlisle 1-0
Away       Bristol R 1-1
             Replay: 1-0
Home         Burnley 2-0
Semi-final 1st leg: Away Man Utd 1-1
Semi-final 2nd leg: Home Man Utd 2-1

Tottenham H: Jennings; Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, Collins, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Neighbour.
Scorer: Chivers (2)

Villa: Dunn; Bradley, Aitken, Godfrey, Turnbull, Tiler, Pat McMahon, Bruce Rioch, Lochhead, Chico Hamilton, Willie Anderson.



1975 Final - Villa won 1-0 against Norwich City
At Wembley, 1 March 1975. Att: 100 000
Ref: G. Hill.

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
Away    Hartlepool  1 1
           Replay:  6 1
Away    Colchester  2 1
Away       Chester  2 2
           Replay:  3 2
Away         Crewe  2 2
           Replay:  1 0
Semi-final 1st leg: Home Everton 1 1
Semi-final 2nd leg: Away Everton 3 0

Villa: Cumbes; John Robson, Aitken, Ross, Nicholl, Bobby McDonald, Graydon, Brian Little, Leonard, Chico Hamilton, Carrodus.
Scorer: Graydon

Norwich C: Keelan; Machin, Sullivan, Morris, Forbes, Stringer, John Miller, MacDougall, Boyer, Suggett, Anthony Powell.



1977 Final - Villa won 3-2 (second replay) against Everton

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
           Home Norwich  2-1
           Home Wrexham  5-1
           Home Millwall 2-0
01-09-1976 Home Man City 3-0
01-02-1977 Semi-final 1st leg:  Away QPR 0-0
16-02-1977 Semi-final 2nd leg:  Home QPR 2-2
                     Play-off:22-02-1977 3-0

First match at Wembley, 12 March 1977. Att: 100,000
Ref: G. Kew.

Aston Villa (0) 0
Everton (0) 0

Villa: Burridge; Gidman, John Robson, Leighton Phillips, Nicholl, Mortimer, Deehan, Brian Little, Andy Gray, Cropley, Carrodus.

Everton: Lawson; David Jones, Darracott, Lyons, McNaught, Andy King, Bryan Hamilton, Dobson, Latchford, McKenzie, Goodlass.

Replay: At Hillsborough, 16 March 1977. Att: 55,000
Ref: G. Kew.

Aston Villa (0) 1
Everton (0) 1 after extra time.

Villa: Burridge; Gidman, John Robson, Leighton Phillips, Nicholl, Mortimer, Deehan, Brian Little, Andy Gray, Cowans, Carrodus.
Scorer: Kenyon (og)

Everton: Lawson; Bernard, Darracott, Lyons, McNaught, Andy King, Bryan Hamilton (Jim Pearson), Kenyon, Latchford, McKenzie, Goodlass.
Scorer: Latchford

Second Replay: At Old Trafford, 13 April 1977. Att: 54,749
Ref: G. Kew.

Aston Villa (0) 3
Everton (1) 2 after extra time.

Villa: Burridge; Gidman (Gordon Smith), John Robson, Leighton Phillips, Nicholl, Mortimer, Graydon, Brian Little, Deehan, Cropley, Cowans.
Scorers: Little (2), Nicholl

Everton: Lawson - Neil Robinson, Darracott, Lyons, McNaught, Andy King, Bryan Hamilton, Dobson, Latchford, Jim Pearson (Seargeant), Goodlass.
Scorers: Latchford, Lyons



1994 Final - Villa won 3-1 against Manchester United
At Wembley, 27 March 1994. Att: 77,231
Ref: K. Cooper.

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
21-09-1993 Away 1st leg: Birmingham 1-0
06-10-1993 Home 2nd leg: Birmingham 1-0
26-10-1993 Away          Sunderland 4-1
30-11-1993 Away             Arsenal 1-0
12-01-1994 Away           Tottenham 2-1
16-02-1994 Semi-final 1st leg:  Away Tranmere 1-3
27-02-1994 Semi-final 2nd leg:  Home Tranmere 3-1
          (Villa won through on penalties)

Villa: Bosnich; Earl Barrett, Staunton (Cox), Teale, McGrath, Kevin Richardson, Daley, Townsend, Saunders, Atkinson, Fenton.
Scorers: Atkinson, Saunders (2 (1 pen))

Manchester U: Sealey; Paul Parker, Dennis Irwin, Bruce (McClair), Kanchelskis, Pallister, Cantona, Ince, Keane, Mark Hughes, Giggs (Sharpe).
Scorer: Mark Hughes

Report: Manchester United's dream of the treble is over after they were outplayed and out-thought by Aston Villa who clinched a place in next season's UEFA Cup with a thoroughly deserved victory.

To add to United's troubles Andrei Kanchelskis became their fourth player to be sent off in five games and the Russian international misses the FA Cup semi-final along with Eric Cantona and Roy Keane.

The final was the third successive game in which United have had a player dismissed and Villa became the third English side to beat them this season after Stoke and Chelsea.

The win was particularly sweet for Ron Atkinson, Villa's manager, who after being sacked by United in 1986, led Sheffield Wednesday to a League Cup final victory over his former club three years ago.

Atkinson's tactics worked to perfection. Playing Dean Saunders as a lone striker, his five-man midfield with Graham Fenton dropping back swamped United. But the masterstroke was the role given to Dalian Atkinson.

The striker played an unfamiliar position on the right of midfield and he and Tony Daley gave full-backs Earl Barrent and Steve Staunton superb protection against Ryan Giggs and Kanchelskis.

Giggs suffered the ignominy of being substituted; at 20 he will no doubt return to dominate the arena he trudged away from in frustration. Inevitably, aftermatch discussions will focus on the consequences of United's defeat.

It has been a frustrating Premiership season for Villa, runners-up to United in last season's Premier League, and had they lost yesterday the ageing team would probably have been broken up.

Now, Villa can look forward to another season in the UEFA Cup while United, for whom Cantona was anonymous, face the possibility of ending a season they have dominated with nothing.

The news that they will have to play the FA Cup semi-final without three key players will hearten Oldham.

United's lead in the Premiership, once 16 points, has been cut to three by Blackburn. On Wednesday, United play Liverpool and Alex Ferguson's side will bring out the best in the Merseysiders. On Saturday, United travel to Blackburn for a crucial League game.

Yet this type of situation sorts out the very good sides from the truly great ones and the Double is certainly not beyond United, even if the number of doubters grows by the day.

United's fate will be decided in the next fortnight. No one should question Ferguson's management given his record, but all eyes will be on him as he battles against a poor run, the inevitable dip in confidence and a mounting list of suspensions.

Villa came to Wembley on the back of three defeats with Atkinson saying he led the booing of the side after the loss to Oldham.

He loves the big occasion, though, and must take full credit for his team's display. Atkinson knows he will have to make significant changes for next season but last night he was rightly enjoying the champagne that followed Villa's first League Cup success since 1977.

Villa took the lead in the 25th minute when Andy Townsend slipped the ball through to Dean Saunders whose first-time touch freed Atkinson.

Paul Parker played the Villa forward onside and he beat Les Sealey, playing for the suspended Peter Schmeichel, from 10 yards for his sixth goal in the competition this season.

United dominated for long periods but failed to really hurt the Villa defence. Their crosses were too often poor, although man-of-the-match Kevin Richardson, who has now won every domestic honour, gave the central defenders great protection.

His best tackle came in the 70th minute when Lee Sharpe seemed certain to score. Five minutes later Richardson's free-kick, awarded for Parker's foul on Daley, was met by Saunders at the near post and the slightest of touches by the Welshman's left foot sent the ball wide of Sealey.

With seven minutes left United hit back. Denis Irwin's corner was only half-cleared and when Roy Keane returned the ball into the goalmouth Mark Hughes applied the decisive touch.

United pressed forward but Villa did not buckle. On a swift counter-attack Daley's shot hit an upright and from the rebound Atkinson's effort was handled on the line by Kanchelskis.

Harsh as it may seem, referee Keith Cooper, who handled the game superbly, correctly applied the laws and showed Kanchelskis the red card. Saunders converted the resulting penalty to give Villa an unlikely 3-1 win.



1996 Final - Villa won 3-0 against Leeds United
At Wembley, 24 March 1996. Att: 77,056
Ref: R. Hart.

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
20-09-1995 Home 1st leg: Peterborough 6 0
03-10-1995 Away 2nd leg: Peterborough 1 1
25-10-1995 Home             Stockport 2 0
29-11-1995 Home                   QPR 1 0
10-01-1996 Home                Wolves 1 0
14-02-1996 Semi-final 1st leg:  Away Arsenal 2 2
21-02-1996 Semi-final 2nd leg:  Home Arsenal 0 0
          (Villa won through on away goals)

Villa: Bosnich; Gary Charles, Alan Wright, Southgate, McGrath, Ehiogu, Ian Taylor, Draper, Savo Milosevic, Townsend, Yorke.
Scorers: Milosevic, I Taylor, Yorke.

Leeds U: Lukic; Kelly, Radebe (Brolin), Carlton Palmer, Wetherall, Pemberton, Andy D Gray, Ford (Deane), Yeboah, McAllister, Speed.

Report: Rarely have Wembley winners deserved victory more than Aston Villa in the Coca-Cola Cup final yesterday. Brian Little's disciplined adventurers, their youthful exuberance directed by the canny minds of Andy Townsend and Paul McGrath, were, to a man, superior to Leeds United, a team seemingly palsied by caution and confusion.

Where Villa ran and worked and created, Leeds faltered, their inexplicable inability to rise to their first cup final appearance in 23 years completely frustrating their legion of long-suffering loyalists. It was an indictment of Howard Wilkinson's collection of internationals, many of whom earn more in a week than some of their supporters manage in a year, that Leeds' best player was a teenager, Andy Gray, on his fourth start. Gray, from a distinguished footballing family, was the only man in white to show an appreciation that special occasions demand something special.

With a side swing to the promise of youth, as embodied by Gray, the real toast was to Villa, playing with passion and all in accord with Little's master-plan of mixing attacks with pace and patience. Little had had an inkling that Savo Milosevic, hitherto erratic, would score a really important goal for Villa this season. So it proved, the tall striker putting Villa into a lead that was embellished by Ian Taylor and Dwight Yorke.

Milosevic's strike enlivened a poor, getting-to-know-you opening, in which Leeds in particular appeared bereft of ideas. Gary McAllister found Townsend, the man of the match, and Mark Draper snapping legitimately at his every elegant stride. Tony Yeboah, too, was often stranded and frustrated. The force was with Villa, their midfielders having secured a slight supremacy.

Leeds played a part in their own downfall. Gary Speed's crossfield pass carried too little weight to reach McAllister, allowing the inspirational Townsend to hook the ball through out of the centre circle towards Milosevic. The Serb, shoulders initially hunched as if weary of a season's criticism, suddenly blossomed. Ball dancing at his feet in mesmerised attendance, Milosevic raced forward, aware that Leeds had committed men to attack.

A thin white line retreated, nerves fraying, before Milosevic's confident advance. On he ran, angling his passage from right to an area where his favoured left foot could swing into punitive action. Leeds needed someone to drive this Villa insurgent wide to less dangerous areas. John Pemberton reacted too late.

Expecting Milosevic to pass - he clearly had not been studying Villa's scattergun striker - Pemberton belatedly realised that there was only one thought in Milosevic's mind. As that erratic left boot poured Milosevic's full momentum into the ball, Pemberton finally dived in but to no avail.

The ball was arching up and over John Lukic, a quite wonderful goal giving Villa the lead they deserved.

Leeds had little answer. Seemingly unsure of their shape or strategy, they failed to create platforms for their two possible matchwinners, Yeboah and McAllister, who were both swamped in a sea of claret and blue. Leeds' frustration showed in cautions for David Wetherall, for delibertely checking Yorke, and Mark Ford, booked for following through on Townsend. The Irishman just smiled. Such fouls are a sign of respect and desperation.

The only one of Wilkinson's players to trouble Townsend's party was Gray, son of Frank with real echoes of uncle Eddie. When Gary Kelly at last eluded Gareth Southgate down the right, Gray and Speed were queuing up at the far post to exploit Yeboah's flick on. Again the chance passed them by.

The humour of Leeds' fans was not improved during the interval when news was relayed that Manchester United had won, so establishing a three-point lead at the top of the Premiership. It could have been worse. The announcer could have told them that the scorer was Eric Cantona, whose departure coincided with Leeds' decline. Leeds' fans had already expressed their feelings with a banner bearing the words "Does Eric Eat Beef?" Clearly a case of mad crowd disease.

Their mood deteriorated in the second half. Wilkinson swapped Ford for Brian Deane, tug for lighthouse, but the script did not alter. McGrath, Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu blunted or diverted every attack that came their way. Gary Charles and Alan Wright scuttled down the flanks. Townsend, Draper and Taylor threw a blanket over midfield while the forwards chased every cause, lost or hopeful.

Gray hinted at equality, exchanging passes with Speed, dummying McGrath but directing his shot too close to a goalkeeper of Mark Bosnich's agility. How sad for Leeds that Gray's colleagues failed to embody the teenager's example.

In contrast, every Villa man lived up to the hero Little had suggested was inside them. Further evidence of their superiority arrived after 54 minutes. Wright's awkward cross placed great pressure on Lucas Radebe. With Milosevic lurking, hungry for any scraps, Radebe cleared hurriedly, his scissors kick flying straight to Taylor. His first-time volley, combining accuracy and velocity, disappeared into the net. The sight of Wetherall, diving full-length to no avail, represented a graphic image of Leeds' plight. Overstretched and overwhelmed.

Then came a familiar chorus from the Yorkshire quarter: "Why is Brolin on the bench?" Wilkinson, such an inadequate user of special talents, relented and the stylish Swede emerged to cacophonous applause. Another chant also reflected the growing dissent among Leeds followers with an ironic rendition of "Wilko for England". Many clearly believe that the time has come for a new man with new ideas at Elland Road.

Brolin looks like he has just climbed out of bed, occasionally plays as if in a dream, but possesses the little passes and clever thoughts that could have woken up Leeds if brought on earlier: 2-0 down against a young side, brimming with vim and vigour, was hardly the ideal situation.

Brolin tried to impose his considerable gifts, but the game was beyond Leeds. As if to emphasise their dominance, Villa added a third just before full time. Draper's pass was carried on by Milosevic deep into Lukic's box. His delightfully weighted flick was driven in by Yorke.

At the final whistle Pemberton dropped to his knees, an unconsolable figure, his colleagues were scattered across the field, lost in their own thoughts, but united in their sense of disappointment. Leeds now face a long period of introspection, much of which will focus on the future of Wilkinson. Villa, buoyed by a real sense of purpose and managed by an individual who believes in positive football, are off to Europe.



2010 Final - Villa lost 1-2 against Manchester United
At Wembley, 28 February, 2010. Att: 88,596
Ref: P. Dowd.

Villa's route to the Final, versus:
23-09-2009 Home                 Cardiff C 1-0
27-10-2009 Away                 Sunderland 0-0
          (Villa won through on penalties)
01-12-2009 Away                 Portsmouth 4-2
14-01-2010 Semi-final 1st leg:  Away Blackburn R 1-0
20-01-2010 Semi-final 2nd leg:  Home Blackburn R 6-4

Villa: Friedel; Cuellar (Carew 80), Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing; Agbonlahor, Heskey
Scorer: Milner (pen))

Manchester U: Kuszczak; Rafael Da Silva (Neville 66), Vidic, Evans, Evra; Park (Gibson 85), Carrick, Fletcher, Valencia; Owen (Rooney 42), Berbatov.
Scorers: Owen, Rooney

Report: Ferguson decided to rest Rooney, who has been in devastating form, from his starting line-up and give Owen his opportunity in a Wembley final that was to drag the England striker from one end of the emotional scale to the other.

Villa's ploy was always going to be to test United with pace and power up front - and it was rewarded with the early goal boss Martin O'Neill must have craved. Agbonlahor was too quick for Vidic and the United defender had already tugged at his shirt before hauling him down. Referee Dowd did not punish Vidic further, despite the fact that he was the last United defender and flirted with a red card, and Milner steered the penalty coolly past Tomasz Kuszczak.

Villa fans (and many others) clearly felt referee Phil Dowd should have sent Vidic off after he hauled down Agbonlahor as he closed in on goal - and their burning sense of injustice was fuelled even further when United quickly restored equality.

Villa's lead only lasted seven minutes, and it was an error from the normally reliable Dunne that led to United's swift equaliser. Richard Dunne lost possession to Dimitar Berbatov, and when he attempted to repair his error he could only find Owen, who slipped a perfect finish past Villa keeper Brad Friedel.

The game was remarkably open, with Milner a prominent figure, and he brought a fine diving save from Kusczcak with a 20-yard effort.

Owen had looked sharp in front of watching England coach Fabio Capello, but his lingering hopes of persuading the Italian to include him in his World Cup plans for South Africa may have ended when he pulled up as he ran into the area and was forced to leave the action. It was clear immediately that his game was over and he walked away disconsolately to be replaced by Rooney. Then substitute Rooney made the decisive contribution with a late winner.

United almost ended an enthralling first 45 minutes in the lead when Park struck a post after James Collins could only partially clear Valencia's cross. And United posed the first danger after the break when Friedel saved well from Michael Carrick, whose shooting had been very erratic up to that point.

The second half was much more of a cat-and-mouse affair, but predictably it was Rooney who gave United the advantage when he struck with 16 minutes left. Berbatov cleverly played in Valencia, whose cross left Rooney with work to do, but not only did he win the aerial battle with the taller Collins, he sent a towering header high beyond Friedel into the top corner.

And the England striker almost repeated the feat three minutes later when Valencia was once more the provider, but he sent a more powerful header against the post.

Villa responded by introducing the giant figure of John Carew for Carlos Cuellar - and his presence almost forced Vidic into an error that resulted in an equaliser. Stewart Downing's cross caused confusion, and Vidic was lucky to see Heskey's header bounce off his shoulder on to the bar.

Vidic was fortunate to see Emile Heskey's header deflect off him on to the bar late on, and United had one last anxious moment when another Downing cross was just out of Dunne's reach at the back post, but by that stage United were firmly in control and well on the way to victory.

It was a bitter disappointment for Villa, who started so promisingly, but they tired as the game wore on at Wembley and United ultimately deserved their triumph.