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Gamble Index -   Football Links - Aston Villa

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ASTON VILLA football betting

A summer of strengthening under respected manager Graham Taylor should see Aston Villa flourish in the Barclaycard Premiership. A strong squad, which has remained competitive in the higher echelons of the league, has been boosted by the capture of Swedish World Cup striker Marcus Allback, Stefan Postma and Ulises de la Cruz, adding to the purchase of England Under-21 striker Peter Crouch from Portsmouth in March 2002. Ron Atkinson took Villa to the brink of FA Premier League title glory in 1993, but they were pipped to the post by Manchester United. Atkinson then overcame his former club in the League Cup final in 1994 and successor Brian Little emulated the feat in 1996, defeating Leeds United 3-0. John Gregory kept up the high standards, and the side never finished below halfway in the FA Premier League under his tenure. A run to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1998 was an outstanding achievement, as Villa retained their hard-to-beat reputation. And former England boss Taylor - who took Villa to second place in the old First Division in 1990 - returned in 2002 after Gregory's exit, adding a lifetime of experience to the Claret and Blue cause.

Original members of the Football League in 1888, Aston Villa are one of the FA Premier League's oldest clubs. Formed in late 1874, Villa were the team to beat in the league's early years with a series of titles and FA Cup victories. A move to a purpose-built ground, Villa Park, from their Perry Barr home in 1897 came just a week after their league and FA Cup Double triumph that year. The Villans secured their sixth league title in 1910 and added further FA Cup glories in 1913 and 1920 as their trophy cabinet bulged. FA Cup success in 1957 and a League Cup triumph in 1961 increased their haul of silverware, but by 1970 Aston Villa were playing Third Division football. However, the club were about to enjoy a remarkable turn of fortunes, with two more League Cups and a return to the top flight followed by their greatest triumph - the European Cup in 1982. Villa lost their top-flight status in 1987 but an immediate return and another pair of League Cups in the 1990s helped the club prosper in the FA Premier League, in which they finished runners-up under Ron Atkinson in 1993. Graham Taylor, who left the club to manage England in 1990, returned to manage the side in 2002.

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