This painting represents players who between them won the European Cup and European Supercup for Aston Villa.
In the 1981-82 season, as defending First Division champions for the first time in 71 years, they qualified for the European Cup for the first time in their history. Their first game in the competition was against Valur of Iceland, following by a second round clash with BFC Dynamo of East Germany, Dynamo Kiev of the Soviet Union in the quarter-finals and then Anderlecht of Belgium in the semi-finals before beating Bayern Munich of West Germany 1–0 in the Final in Rotterdam, with Peter Withe scoring the winning goal.
The season began with Ron Saunders, who had been the club's manager since 1974, still in charge, but he resigned on 9 February 1982 following a disagreement with the board over his contract. He had been in charge for nearly eight years, winning a league title and two League Cups in the process. His successor was his assistant manager Tony Barton, who had been in charge for three months by the time Villa won the European Cup.
In the 1982-83 season Villa qualified for the European Cup as holders and reaching the quarter-finals, and also won the European Super Cup in a two-legged contest with FC Barcelona of Spain.
In the first leg Villa were beaten by a goal, as Nigel Spink was unable to prevent a deflected 25-yard shot hitting the back of the net. All was not lost though. Tony Barton echoing what the native press were labelling Barca’s best performance of the 1982/83 season. The hosts had still however failed to capitalize on several chances that would have put the game beyond reach. For all the glaring misses on the night, Villa were grateful to take the game back to Birmingham with something to play for.
In the second leg, ‘Blood-chilling’ was how Ian Johnson of the Evening Mail chose to describe this match. Ten bookings and three red cards were dished out by the referee!
Emotions were evidently running high throughout the game. Aided by the ‘blatant cheating and timewasting’ tactics the visitors were deploying, Villa had to push for a go-ahead goal on the night, that would restore the aggregate scoreline.
It looked like Barcelona would have it their way, up until the 80′ minute…
Gary Shaw swivelled and shot into the bottom right of the keeper’s goal, after Des Bremner had hit a bouncing cross into the striker’s path.
For several minutes after the goal, the teams stood poised for kick-off as the visiting player remained on the floor, with medics attending to a split lip – later requiring stitches.
As neither team found a winner in the remaining ten minutes, the game went to extra-time. Nine minutes in, Villa were presented with a golden opportunity.
Substitute, Mark Walters, was tripped in the penalty box leading to a spot-kick being awarded by the referee.
Swarms of yellow shirts surrounded the referee as the visiting goalkeeper attempted to discourage his players from arguing with the official. More bookings were distributed to Barcelona players as they continued in their pleas.
An anxious Gordan Cowans looked on from the centre of the box.
In almost hilarious fashion, Gonzalez – in goal for the Spaniards – lashed out at the penalty scorer, swiping Cowans’ legs from under him as he ran to pick the ball out of the net. This incident again went unnoticed by the referee however the Villa players reacted in due course.
With Cowans hobbling away, Colin Gibson saw the funny side and dodged some imaginary punches thrown by the aggrieved goalkeeper.
Barcelona were left rattled by the Villa players on the night and lost any kind of hope of still winning the trophy when McNaught produced a fine diving header late on. Standing in for the injured Dennis Mortimer, the captain put the game beyond doubt and Villa claimed the Super Cup beating the spaniards 3-0 on what was an unforgettable night.
1. Gary Williams (Right-back)
2. Jimmy Rimmer (Goalkeeper)
3. Nigel Spink (Goalkeeper)
4. Colin Gibson (Outside/Inside right)
5. Des Bremner (Midfielder)
6. Allan Evans (Defender)
7. Ken McNaught (Centre back)
8. Kenny Swain (Full back)
9. Andy Blair (Midfielder)
10. Paul Birch (Midfielder)
11. Dennis Mortimer (Midfielder)
12. Mark Jones (Full back)
13. Gordon Cowans (Midfielder)
14. Gary Shaw (Striker)
15. Peter Withe (Striker)
16. Tony Morley (Winger)
17. Mark Walters (Midfielder/winger)
18. David Geddis (Striker)
19. Pat Heard (Midfielder/left-back)
20. Tony Barton (Manager)
The Class of 82-83
Handmade artwork printed in high resolution on premium white art paper. Prints are unframed.
All prints come numbered and signed by the artist, Bernard Kelly.