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Away-day Claret & Blues!


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Yesterday’s win at Sunderland was our fifth consecutive away win, our eighth away win in the league and our twelfth away win in all competitions this season. Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you what might just become the best away Aston Villa team in our proud history!

Yesterday’s win at Sunderland equals our club record for consecutive away league wins during a season that was set back in 1998. Back in season 1997-98 wins at Chelsea (1-0), Everton (4-1), Coventry (2-1), Southampton (2-1) and Sheffield Wednesday (3-1) gave us our five consecutive wins in a season in which we finished seventh. This time it has been wins at Arsenal (2-0), Everton (3-2), West Ham (1-0), Hull (1-0) and Sunderland (2-1) that has added to our impressive away record that sees Portsmouth standing in the way of us making it six! That game also stands in the way of our equalling the club record of six consecutive victories which spreads over two seasons. On that occasion the last five away games of our 1896-97 double winning season (see below) were followed by a 3-2 win at Notts County in the first away game of the 1897-98 season. Blackburn who stood in the way of our making it seven consecutive away wins back in 1897 stand potentially and assuming we can get another win at Portsmouth, in the way of us doing this again 112 years later!

This has already been a great season to follow Villa away from home. Our five consecutive away league wins match the number of home wins we have achieved to date and that is before we add our away wins at Spurs (2-1), WBA (2-1) and Wigan (4-0). We have not been too shabby away from home in cup competitions either with wins in the UEFA Cup at Halnarfjordur (4-1), Litex Lovech (3-1) and Slavia Prague (1-0) along with our FA Cup win at Gillingham (2-1) making it twelve wins away from home this season and counting!

But, how does this compare with great Villa teams past achievements away from home? Well we still have some way to go to match the 1896-97 double winners who won 11 times away at Everton (3-2), Derby (3-1), Stoke (2-0), Sheffield Wednesday (3-1), Blackburn (5-1), Wolves (2-1), Bury (2-0), Burnley (4-3), Nottingham Forest (4-2), Bolton (2-1) and Preston (1-0) and drew two of their four other away games. But, 11 away wins is to date only our third highest total of away league wins.

Back in 1971-72 we were victorious 12 times when venturing away from Villa Park. Wins at Halifax (1-0), Barnsley (4-0), Bristol Rovers (1-0), Oldham (6-0), Swansea (2-1), Tranmere (1-0), Notts County (3-0), Rotherham (2-0), Wrexham (2-0), York (1-0), Chesterfield (4-0) and Bradford (1-0) brought us our second highest numerical number of away wins although it was achieved at a lower level and the percentage of away victories is only just above half (52%).

But, the most away games won by a Villa team during a season happened in more recent times (albeit again during one of our rare seasons which were spent in the lower reaches). In season 1987-88 we won 13 league games away from Villa Park to finish second in the old Division 2 and to return to the top flight to stay. Back then wins at Leicester (2-0), WBA (2-0), Plymouth (3-1), Leeds (3-1), Shrewsbury (2-1), Oldham (1-0), Bradford (4-2), Birmingham (2-1), Barnsley (3-1), Manchester City (2-0), Bournemouth (2-1) and Reading (2-0), produced wins in 59 % of our away league matches.

Honourable mentions are also appropriate for other teams from the past. Back in 1899-1900 our league champions won 10 of their 17 away games. Back in season 1946-47 we ended eighth but won 9 of our away games and matched that away win total in 1954-55 when we finished sixth and in our promotion season of 1974-75.

So which was the best Villa team away from home to date? The figures show it was our double winning team who hold the record for our most consecutive away league wins at six and who won 73% of their away games. I would suggest that was a greater achievement than those of 1971-72 and 1987-88 when more wins were achieved in a lower league from more games. I myself would statistics aside also place our league champions of 1980-81 above those teams from Divisions 2 & 3. Although they won less away games and had a percentage success rate than was lower than the other two teams (48%) they did so in the top flight and as champions. Were they a better team away from home than the double winners? My computer and the results say no. But, the champions of 1980-81 are the best Villa team that I have had the pleasure of seeing away from home to date and in the absence of anyone who followed Villa home and away near the end of the century before last to make the double winners case, I give that team who went on to conquer Europe the following season my vote.

In seasons 1902-03, 1904-05, 1907-08, 1913-14, 1923-24, 1929-30, 1930-31, 1937-38, 1959-60, 1989-90, 1992/93 and 1997-98 we managed 8 league wins which is where we stand now with away games to come at Portsmouth, Blackburn, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Bolton, Fulham and Middlesbrough. Six wins from these remaining eight away games would make this Villa team numerically the most successful way from home in our history with a 74% win rate. It would also I suggest all but guarantee us Champions League football next year, if not the title itself. It is without doubt a tall order but as the manager who last lifted the title for us and whose team won ten league games in 1980-81 at Leeds (2-1), Palace (1-0), Birmingham (2-1), Southampton (2-1), Norwich (3-1), Coventry (2-1), Everton (3-1), Wolves (1-0), Sunderland (2-1) and Leicester (4-2) in doing so once said, “Do you want to bet against us”?

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Hi John. Fantastic statistical report! Hope you wern't around for the 1897-98 season, as i wouldn't fancy wearing the club shirt and shorts for that season? Totally agree with your point about the away performance of the 1980-81 team! I am of an age now to say that i was fortunate to see many of that great team's home and away performances, albeit on tv! I hope all villa fans can look back ten years from now and say 'you remember when we qualified for the champion's League(European Cup) and that was the start of our on going success?' Fantastic performance by our lads at Sunderland by the way and was sorry to see Ash being sent off! He is certainly not a dirty player and his tackle was more down to enthusiasm than anything else! We are going to miss him however for three very important games. Just wondered, if we don't sign anyone to replace him, even on lone, could Martin give Bannan a game? I know this is not Bannan's usual position, but i was very impressed with his performance against Hamburg. He certainly seems to have something about him! Regards, Ciaran.

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No Ciaran I did not get to see those games in the late 1890s :lol: but I did get to 40 of our 42 league games in 80/81 and enjoyed the ride to the title. I thought Ashley was unlucky to pick up a straight red, it was a forward's tackle but it would have been a booking at least so we would have lost him through suspension in any case and as Martin has suggested with feet off the ground we can't really complain too much. I rate Barry as a young player with real potential, but I wonder whether it might be a little unfair to put him in during such a pressured time, rather than to ease him into the first team more gently as we have done with others. So, I would hope we could sign someone with some experience in the wide roles before the league games who could supply some cover and competition for places in the future.

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Yeah John your probably right, although Hamburg didn't seem to faze Bannan too much, but then again the game was probably over! I think Pennant is available, but would Liverpool sell him to us after the Barry episode? Moreover, would MON want him, or would he see Pennant as a possible disruptive influence? Looking forward to the last week of the transfer window where MON usually does some business. We already needed a striker, with Bent now mentioned ( did you see his miss against Portsmouth) but i hope thats just paper talk? Now we need an experienced wide man as you state and i'm sorry Routlege was sent to Cardiff as he is doing well there, and he could have filled in for Ash, even though, not with the same expected quality! In the long run in to the end of the season, it also might benefit us to have a fresh Ash coming back into the battle, as long as we do replace him with quality, but who? Regards, Ciaran

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I think Pennant is quite happy to stay where he is and to negotiate the best possible deal for himself in the summer as a free agent Ciaran. I also share your doubts about Liverpool and us coming to any agreement on a deal for a player with Rafa still at the helm. I would like to see us compete with Arsenal for the signature of Ashavin at around £14m (as I know you would also) and I would go for Joe Ledley from Cardiff for around £5m or Bentley from Spurs as a wide option. But, I'm happy to back Martin's decisions and just hope he gets someone in asap.

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Great article John, enjoyed it :thumb: I'd also say the calibre of team in our current run trumps the teams we beat in '98. Only Blunderland are outside the top half in our current run. I'd imagine only Chelsea and Everton were in the top half back then - or maybe swap Everton with Coventry.

I'd say we'll see quite a few history/stats type threads this season as we continue into the uncharted territory of attempted CL qualification.

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Hi John. Bentley from Spurs would do just fine, as he is not getting fair run from Harry and he could also play in central midfield when Ash returns. This would also give us more creativity and replace a rather inafective midfielder who had a poor game again against Sunderland! I think Martin did put a bid in for Bentley before he went to Spurs, but it was turned down! Good chance now of signing him for less money? I haven't seen Joe Ledley play, but it might take him a while to adapt to the Premiership? I think Arshavin is a snip at 14million when City are prepared to pay over a 100million for Kaka, but Martin wants british players at Villa. We should have signed Arshavin when Martin was at the European Championships. We could have gotten him for around the 10million mark and the fact we did not may come back to bite us severely on the behind, when Arsenal sign him. I was begging Martin to buy him then, but alas, he didn't hear my screams through our tv! Regards, Ciaran

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Results for 2008 are: Looks to be 11 away wins in that lot.

English FA Cup Aston Villa 0-2 Man Utd 05-01-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 3-1 Reading 12-01-2008

English Premier Liverpool 2-2 Aston Villa 21-01-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 1-1 Blackburn 26-01-2008

English Premier Fulham 2-1 Aston Villa 03-02-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 4-1 Newcastle 09-02-2008

English Premier Reading 1-2 Aston Villa 24-02-2008

English Premier Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa 01-03-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 1-1 Middlesbro 12-03-2008

English Premier Portsmouth 2-0 Aston Villa 15-03-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland 22-03-2008

English Premier Man Utd 4-0 Aston Villa 29-03-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 4-0 Bolton 05-04-2008

English Premier Derby 0-6 Aston Villa 12-04-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham 20-04-2008

English Premier Everton 2-2 Aston Villa 27-04-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 0-2 Wigan 03-05-2008

English Premier West Ham 2-2 Aston Villa 11-05-2008

UEFA Intertoto Cup OB Odense 2-2 Aston Villa 19-07-2008

UEFA Intertoto Cup Aston Villa 1-0 OB Odense 26-07-2008

UEFA Cup FH Hafnarfjordur 1-4 Aston Villa 14-08-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 4-2 Man City 17-08-2008

English Premier Stoke 3-2 Aston Villa 23-08-2008

UEFA Cup Aston Villa 1-1 FH Hafnarfjordur 28-08-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 0-0 Liverpool 31-08-2008

English Premier Tottenham 1-2 Aston Villa 15-09-2008

UEFA Cup Litex 1-3 Aston Villa 18-09-2008

English Premier West Brom 1-2 Aston Villa 21-09-2008

English League Cup Aston Villa 0-1 QPR 24-09-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland 27-09-2008

UEFA Cup Aston Villa 1-1 Litex 02-10-2008

English Premier Chelsea 2-0 Aston Villa 05-10-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 0-0 Portsmouth 18-10-2008

UEFA Cup Aston Villa 2-1 Ajax 23-10-2008

English Premier Wigan 0-4 Aston Villa 26-10-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 3-2 Blackburn 29-10-2008

English Premier Newcastle 2-0 Aston Villa 03-11-2008

UEFA Cup Slavia Prague 0-1 Aston Villa 06-11-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 1-2 Middlesbro 09-11-2008

English Premier Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa 15-11-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 0-0 Man Utd 22-11-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 0-0 Fulham 29-11-2008

UEFA Cup Aston Villa 1-2 Zilina 04-12-2008

English Premier Everton 2-3 Aston Villa 07-12-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 4-2 Bolton 13-12-2008

UEFA Cup Hamburg 3-1 Aston Villa 17-12-2008

English Premier West Ham 0-1 Aston Villa 20-12-2008

English Premier Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal 26-12-2008

English Premier Hull 0-1 Aston Villa 30-12-2008

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