Six British clubs have won the European Cup, but the public discourse around the 1982 Aston Villa class – celebrated in the BT Sport documentary Super Villans – seems out of proportion to the gravity of the achievement.
The Lisbon Lions, who were all born within 30 miles of Celtic Park, were the first to do so in 1967. Then came Busby Manchester United, Liverpool Paisley and Nottingham Forest Clough. Chelsea completed the group in 2012.
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But how did Villa, led by their own force of nature in the unique Ron Saunders, drive Liverpool’s home team out of the way to win the title – and conquer Europe the following season?
To celebrate 40 years since the greatest night in the club’s history, BT Sport will showcase the premiere of Super Villans, the definitive story of how Villa became the envy of Europe.
The unmissable documentary in the foreground by actor Mark Williams documents Villa’s 1980-1981 championship-winning campaign and a European journey that took them to the edge of the Arctic Circle and behind the Iron Curtain.
With contributions from some of the main characters of the day, the book unfolds a story that is hard to believe and worthy of all the compliments the great British parties in Europe received.
Birmingham was on edge in the 1970s. The UK engine room was stumbling after the sudden collapse of the industrial economy.
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200,000 jobs disappeared between 1971 and 1981, with losses concentrated in manufacturing. Unemployment rose and social unrest emerged. The city was bombed in pubs in 1974 by the Irish Republican Army.
Attendees at Villa Park were impressed, but the arrival of Ron Saunders as head coach in 1974 began a golden period no one expected.
He led them to the First Division in his first season and led to winning the League Cup a year later, defeating rivals Norwich at Wembley.
The League Cup followed again in 1977, but the coronation came in 1980-81 when Villa broke Liverpool’s stranglehold on English football to win their first league title since 1910.
Only 14 players were used throughout the campaign, seven of them – Gordon Kwans, Des Bremner, Tony Morley, Ken McNutt, Dennis Mortimer, Jimmy Remer and Kenny Swain – were ever present.
The documentary chronicles the famous villa supporter and actor Mark Williams
In the summer of 1981, Birmingham witnessed riots at Handsworth, the Pax Fies won the Eurovision and Villa fans were enjoying a European adventure of their own.
Iceland’s part-time Valor Reykjavik presented a weak opposition in the first round, as Aston Villa lost 7-0 on aggregate. Some contributors recalled the return leg of a chance encounter with Miss World at a nightclub in Reykjavik.
Goalkeeper Jamie Reimer was the hero in the next round against Dynamo Berlin, when he saved a stunning late slam that fell in Villa folklore. They walked on the edge of the abyss but held on and advanced with away goals.
Saunders was on his way to becoming one of England’s great coaches, but his strained relationship with the board of directors became unbearable and he dramatically resigned in February 1982 as Villa prepared for their historic European Cup quarter-final match against Dynamo Kyiv.
“If I am employed to run a football club, I am not employed in an office,” he complained. “I am absolutely devastated,” said Bobby Robson, City Manager, Ipswich.
The club’s best coach ever went and shockingly joined arch-rivals Birmingham City days later.
“The greatest moment in the history of Aston Villa”
– Tony Barton
Chief scout Tony Barton was selected to intervene on a temporary basis and the quarter-final match against Dynamo Kyiv that would provide the USSR with eight players for the 1982 World Cup was presented.
The first stop was moved 300 miles south to the Crimean city of Simferopol where they had to deal with disgusting living conditions. Midfielder Quanz opened a bread roll to find a dead cockroach inside in the team hotel.
A solid goalless draw was followed by a comfortable 2-0 win at home, which led to a meeting with Belgian giants Anderlecht, and a draw due to crowd disturbances who paused the match and threatened Villa with expulsion – a fate mercifully averted.
However, another hurdle was crossed, but Villa faced the ultimate challenge in the final in Rotterdam: Bayern Munich is extremely talented with two-time Europe’s best player Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Inspired by his sense of destiny and unconventional preparation and goalkeeper Nigel Spink, Villa scored through Peter Wyeth, a goal immortalized on a banner in the North Stand at Villa Park, before bravely surviving Bayern Munich’s attack and ultimately holding out to secure the club’s greatest. since when.
Villa became the fifth British team to win the European Cup after beating Bayern Munich in Rotterdam
“This is the greatest moment in the history of Aston Villa,” said the hesitant Villa champion Barton.
Hints at a return to its former glory after years of stagnation, the devious Super Villains are a long-awaited compelling look into how one of British football’s biggest monsters shocked the world, a feat that has often been pushed to the sidelines.
Sally Brown, Executive Producer of BT Sport Films, said: “We are proud to present Super Villans as the latest installment in the BT Sport Films series honoring Aston Villa’s meteoric rise to double the championship’s glory, forty years after the greatest night in the club’s history.
The film is a joyous celebration of a team of underdogs who went on to conquer England and Europe, revealing some hardly believable tales along the way from those who lived it.
“The club’s remarkable journey from the third division to being crowned European champions is one of the greatest stories English football has ever seen, and we are thrilled to bring this inspiring feat to life on screen. We would like to thank all those who are working with us to help make this film possible. documentary”.
Watch Super Villans Wednesday, May 18th at 11pm on BT Sport 1 or catch up on the BT Sport app or btsport.com.