Game | #3377 |

Season | 1974-75 |

Matchday | #53 |

League Match-week | #40 |

Manager Game | #53 |

Wednesday, 23 April 1975

Football League | Division Two | Away | Sheffield Wednesday | Hillsborough | 23,605 |

Game Summary |

Manager | Ron Saunders |

FT Result | Won |

FT Score | 4-0 |

Last 5 Games | WWWWW |

Scorers | Keith Leonard | 1 | Ian Ross | 1 (pen) | Brian Little | 2 |

Line Up |

GK Jim Cumbes |

D Chris Nicholl |

D Ian Ross | GOAL |

FB John Robson |

LB Bobby McDonald |

LB Charlie Aitken | BOOKED |

M Leighton Phillips |

M Chico Hamilton | SUB OFF | 73' |

W Frank Carrodus |

F Keith Leonard | GOAL |

F Brian Little | GOAL | GOAL |

Substitute |
W Steve Hunt 
DEBUT | for M Chico Hamilton | 73' |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 26.14 | 

Oldest Player | LB Charlie Aitken | 33.00 |

Youngest Player | LB Bobby McDonald | 20.04 |

On this day 23 April 1975

Villa win promotion back to the first division of English football after eight years away - their longest ever spell outside of top flight football

Villa had won 6 games in a row and had lost just twice in the last 22 games, winning 17.

Winger Steve Hunt made his Villa debut as a substitute, aged 18, after joining from school football in July 1972.

Match Report

*Birmingham Daily Post*

*Thursday 24 April 1975*

Eight year wait is over ...

Villa back in Division One

By RANDALL NORTHAM 

Sheffield Wednesday 0, Aston Villa 4

Aston Villa made gloriously sure of returning to the First Division after an absence of eight years last night by thrashing Sheffield Wednesday, a club with almost as great a tradition but who must spend next season in the Third Division

The victory means that Villa can decide who takes the other promotion place - Manchester United having won the title last Saturday. Villa who added this triumph to the League Cup won two months ago, play both the other contenders in their last two games - Sunderland on Saturday at Villa Park and Norwich at Carrow Road the following Wednesday.

 

It also means that season could finish with Ron Saunders's new club beating his old and stopping them from being promoted. I am sure after his experience there—he left after a row with the chairman—he would enjoy that. A point last night would have been good enough to put Villa up because of their goal average but goals from Keith Leonard, Brian Little (2) and lan Ross with a penalty for his first goal of the season, made absolutely certain. It was not one of their best performances. They had little of the masterful control they showed against Blackpool on Saturday but they never looked like losing. Sheffield Wednesday, with nothing to lose, hustled them into errors and the occasion must also have made Villa anxious, for they were often too hurried when not under pressure. But, when Villa held the ball and played as well as they can, they outclassed the home team.

 

The first goal was an example of this. Chris Nicholl headed clear to the indefatigable and magnificent Frank Carrodus, Saunders's first signing. Carrodus played a one-two with Saunders's other buy, Leighton Phillips, and sprinted 60 yards to feed Little. Little beat Jimmy Quinn with a body swerve and crossed. Leonard pulled the ball down and took an age in turning but finally poked it into the net. The second was started by Leonard with brilliant control and a pass to Chico Hamilton, who raced along the byeline. Little ran to the near post but Hamilton missed him with his cross. There seemed no danger to Peter Fox's goal but the ball hit a defender, bounced to Little and he prodded it over the line. Villa and their supporters. who, as at Blackpool, comprised at least three quarters of the crowd, were relaxed now. But, at the start of the second half, Wednesday looked as if they might score and Charlie Aitken was booked by referee George Cortney for persistent fouling. Wednesday's promise was an illusion. In the 73rd minute, Steve Hunt, on for the injured Hamilton, crossed from the left and Little volleyed a stunning goal on the run for his eighth in the last four games and his 23rd of the season.

 

Thwarted

 

He ought to have had another with ten minutes left when he again showed outstanding skill. He took advantage of a bad back pass by Jimmy Mullen 25 yards out and, with Fox on the edge of the penalty area, wheeled and chipped It over him. But Alan Thompson spoiled it by knocking the ball away with his hands. He was booked and Ross slammed in the penalty off Fox's right-hand post to make goalkeeper Jimmy Cumbes the only member of the Villa side who has not scored this season apart from Hunt, whose first taste of League football this was.

 

At the end, about 5,000 of the younger Villa fans flooded on to the pitch and into the main stand in an emotional wave to hear tributes from Saunders and chairman Doug Ellis.