Aston Villa Football Club (nicknamed Villa) is an English professional football club based in Aston, Birmingham. The club competes in the Premier League, the top tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1874, they have played at their home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888 and of the Premier League in 1992. Villa are one of only five English clubs to have won the European Cup, in 1981–82. They have also won the Football League First Division seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once.
Villa have a fierce local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the teams has been played since 1879. The club’s traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and sky blue socks. Their traditional club badge is of a rampant lion. The club is currently owned by the NSWE group, a company owned by the Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and the American billionaire Wes Edens.
Takeover, Championship years and promotion (2016–)
In June 2016, Chinese businessman Tony Xia bought the club for £76 million. Former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo was appointed as the club’s new manager, but was sacked after a poor start to the season. He was replaced by former Birmingham manager Steve Bruce. Bruce led the team to finish 4th in the 17/18 season, but lost in the 2018 EFL Championship play-off Final to Fulham. In October 2018, Bruce was sacked after winning only one of the past nine matches.
He was replaced by Brentford manager Dean Smith, with John Terry as his assistant manager. Under Smith performances and results improved, with the team finishing 5th and reaching the playoffs again – helped on by a club-record 10 game winning streak. They reached the 2019 EFL Championship play-off Final and defeated Derby County 2-1 to gain promotion back to the Premier League after a 3-year absence.
On 9 August 2019, on the eve of Villa’s Premier League return, documents from Companies House revealed that Recon Group’s minority share ownership had been bought out, and Dr. Tony Xia no longer had any stake in the club.