Tag Archives: Martin O’Neill

The Clubs: Leicester City

Updated upto the end of the 2018-2019 Premier League season

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
498 157 136 205 623 718 -95 607 13


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Muzzy Izzet 222
Matt Elliott 199
Jamie Vardy 176
Robbie Savage 172
Kasper Schmeichel 163
Steve Guppy 161
Wes Morgan 156
Neil Lennon 155
Marc Albrighton 150
Riyad Mahrez 139


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Jamie Vardy 80
Riyad Mahrez 39
Emile Heskey 33
Muzzy Izzet 33
Tony Cottee 27
Matt Elliott 22
Ian Marshall 18
Leonardo Ulloa 18
Paul Dickov 15
Shinji Okazaki 14


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Leicester City 5-1 Queens Park Rangers 24th May 2015 2014-2015
Derby County 0-4 Leicester City 26th April 1998 1997-1998
Leicester City 4-0 Leeds United 15th September 2003 2003-2004
Leicester City 4-0 Swansea City 24th April 2016 2015-2016
Leicester City 5-2 Sunderland 5th March 2000 1999-2000
Southampton 1-4 Leicester City 13th December 2017 2017-2018
West Bromwich Albion 1-4 Leicester City 10th March 2018 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 1-4 Leicester City 6th April 2019 2018-2019
Leicester City 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur 13th September 1997 1997-1998
Crystal Palace 0-3 Leicester City 11th April 1998 1997-1998


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Arsenal 6-1 Leicester City 26th December 2000 2000-2001
Leicester City 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur 18th May 2017 2016-2017
Arsenal 5-0 Leicester City 20th February 1999 1998-1999
Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers 18th August 2001 2001-2002
Leicester City 0-5 Aston Villa 31st January 2004 2003-2004
Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester City 28th April 2018 2017-2018
Leicester City 2-6 Manchester United 16th January 1999 1998-1999
Manchester City 5-1 Leicester City 10th February 2018 2017-2018
Chelsea 4-0 Leicester City 8th October 1994 1994-1995
Leicester City 0-4 Manchester United 15th April 1995 1994-1995



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Brian Little 1 22nd November 1994
Mark McGhee 1 7th December 1995
Martin O’Neill 4 1st June 2000
Peter Taylor 2 30th September 2001
Dave Bassett 1 6th April 2002
Micky Adams 2 10th October 2004
Nigel Pearson 1 30th June 2015
Claudio Ranieri 2 23rd February 2017
Craig Shakespeare 2 17th October 2017
Claude Puel 2 24th February 2019
Brendan Rodgers 1  


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Leicester City 4-2 Sunderland 8th August 2015 32,242 2015-2016
Leicester City 2-2 Manchester United 23rd December 2017 32,202 2017-2018
Leicester City 0-0 Burnley 10th November 2018 32,184 2018-2019
Leicester City 1-2 Liverpool FC 1st September 2018 32,149 2018-2019
Leicester City 1-1 Newcastle United 26th December 2003 32,148 2003-2004
Leicester City 0-1 Manchester United 3rd February 2019 32,148 2018-2019
Leicester City 3-1 Everton 7th May 2016 32,140 2015-2016
Leicester City 2-0 Liverpool FC 2nd February 2016 32,121 2015-2016
Leicester City 1-1 Manchester United 28th November 2015 32,115 2015-2016
Leicester City 1-0 Norwich City 27th February 2016 32,114 2015-2016



In 2015-2016, Leicester City produced the greatest story the Premier League has ever seen. The 5000-1 bookies outsiders for the title produced a fairytale, landing their first-ever English top-flight title. Before this, the Foxes had experienced relegation three times in the Premier League and only narrowly avoided another drop in 2014-2015 due to an incredible run-in under Nigel Pearson’s guidance. They are now a regular top 10 club and are managed by the former Swansea City and Liverpool FC boss, Brendan Rodgers.



It was third time lucky for Leicester City in the play-offs, achieving promotion for the first time to the Premier League elite in 1994. Brian Little was their manager but the going was very tough. Leicester won just twice before Little departed in mid-November to take the reins at his former club, Aston Villa. Mark McGhee took over but had little chance of pulling off a miracle and the Foxes became the first team to be relegated in mid-April, finishing 21st out of 22 teams.



Martin O’Neill guided Leicester back into the Premier League at the first attempt after more play-off glory and 1996-1997 would be a triumphant return for Leicester. They finished in a superb ninth place and won the League Cup, beating Middlesbrough in a replay 1-0 in the final thanks to a goal from Steve Claridge. This was also the season where Emile Heskey started to make his breakthrough on the Premier League with 10 goals.



Leicester enjoyed another solid season under Martin O’Neill’s guidance. He won the Manager of the Month award in September for his early season achievements which included a stirring fightback to draw 3-3 with Arsenal, having been 2-0 down with only five minutes to go. One of the club’s most eye-catching results came towards the end of the season with a 4-0 away victory at Derby County. Leicester finished the season in 10th place.



For the third successive campaign, Leicester achieved a top half finish and it was 10th again. Despite being heavily linked with the Leeds United vacancy in October, O’Neill stayed loyal to the club and signed a new contract. It turned into a fairly uneventful campaign for the supporters but the foundations had been laid and the club from Filbert Street were now seen as a stable mid-table top-flight side.



Leicester City surpassed their ninth place finish of 1997, going one better to record an eighth place finish in the table in 1999-2000. There was more joy in the League Cup with a second final victory in four years, as plucky First Division outfit Tranmere Rovers were seen off 2-1. Leicester also took a gamble on Stan Collymore in February and he repaid the faith with a hat-trick in a 5-2 victory over Sunderland. However, he suffered a horrible injury a month later in a defeat at Derby and Emile Heskey’s departure for £11 million to Liverpool FC convinced Martin O’Neill to move on. He went north of the border to manage Celtic at the end of the season.



Glenn Hoddle’s former assistant from England duty, Peter Taylor was chosen as Leicester’s new manager and initially, he settled in very quickly. The Foxes stayed unbeaten until mid-October and even enjoyed the October international break on top of the Premier League table. A 2-0 win over Liverpool FC in March took Leicester into fifth place but they finished the campaign dismally. An FA Cup sixth round defeat at home to Wycombe Wanderers was followed by nine defeats in their last 10 games to finish in 13th position. It wouldn’t get any better in the following season for the supporters.



Peter Taylor began the season as a man under pressure and it showed. Leicester lost their first two matches by an aggregate of 9-0 to Bolton Wanderers and Arsenal respectively. At the end of September, he lost his job after winning just one of his first eight matches of the campaign.

Dave Bassett was brought in to save the club from relegation but form didn’t improve. Leicester spent Christmas Day bottom of the table and relegation was confirmed following a 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United in early April. Bassett moved upstairs and was replaced by his assistant manager, Micky Adams.

2001-2002 was also the final season of football to be played at Filbert Street. They signed off with a 2-1 final day win over Tottenham Hotspur before moving into their new ground which was initially called The Walkers’ Stadium.



Runners-up to Portsmouth in the 2002-2003 First Division, Leicester City bounced back to the Premier League at the first attempt but were destined to struggle all campaign on their return. There was an early season 4-0 thumping of Leeds United in September and three wins in November took them as high as 12th. However, after a last-minute equaliser from Craig Hignett to draw 1-1 with Arsenal, the Foxes failed to win any of their next 12 matches.

In March, eight players were arrested after being accused of sexual assault on three German women during a training camp in La Manga. Three players, Keith Gillespie, Paul Dickov and Frank Sinclair were all charged but the case was later dropped.

Leicester did win at Birmingham a few days after this incident went public but relegation back to the second-tier was confirmed by a 2-2 draw at Charlton Athletic in early May; two weeks before the end of the season.



After an absence of 10 seasons, Leicester were back in the top-flight and made a decent start, drawing at home to Everton and Arsenal, then produced a remarkable comeback at home to Manchester United, storming back from 3-1 down to win 5-3 with club-record signing Leonardo Ulloa scoring twice.

However, they spent the bulk of the campaign bottom of the table, winning only two more games between that win over the Red Devils and the end of March. Seven points adrift of safety, Nigel Pearson’s side looked doomed but they produced an incredible run of form, winning seven out of their final nine matches. The remarkable escape from the drop was completed by a goalless draw at Sunderland on the final Saturday of the season. Their escape from relegation is among the best escape acts seen in Premier League history.



After some off-field transgressions, Leicester’s Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha decided to replace Nigel Pearson with Claudio Ranieri in the managerial hotseat. Quoted 3-1 favourites for relegation and 5000-1 outsiders to win the title, Leicester defied expectations in more ways than one.

They were the final club to taste defeat at the end of September to Arsenal and Jamie Vardy broke the record for scoring in successive Premier League matches (11) against Manchester United in November. Leicester spent Christmas Day top of the table after a 3-2 win over Everton. Riyad Mahrez scored twice at Goodison and the Algerian won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year after an outstanding individual campaign.

Leicester became title favourites in early February when Vardy scored a Goal of the Season contender to defeat Liverpool FC 2-0, and then followed that a few days later with an impressive 3-1 victory away at pre-season favourites Manchester City. The fearless Foxes continued to stun the footballing world with some wonderful displays. In early May, they had the chance to wrap the title up at Old Trafford.

The 1-1 draw with Manchester United delayed the celebrations for 24 hours but Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with title rivals Tottenham Hotspur completed the fairytale story. The 5000-1 outsiders had just completed the impossible dream. Leicester City were the 2015-2016 Premier League champions.



It was always going to be a virtually impossible task to repeat the 2015-2016 heroics and the summer departure of imperious midfielder N’Golo Kante to Chelsea didn’t help Claudio Ranieri. Leicester’s away record was abysmal, failing to win away from The King Power Stadium until a 3-2 success in March at West Ham United. They went nearly two months without a Premier League goal and in February 2017 with rumours of player unrest, Ranieri was brutally sacked less than 24 hours after a first leg UEFA Champions League loss to Sevilla.

Ranieri’s assistant Craig Shakespeare was brought in as his replacement and he guided the club to eventual safety. They finished in 12th place which remains the worst title defence from a Premier League championship-winning side.



Craig Shakespeare was given the permanent job in the summer but he didn’t last long. Only two wins in his first eight matches saw him fired after an underwhelming 1-1 home draw with West Bromwich Albion in mid-October. He was replaced by former Southampton boss Claude Puel. Puel did inspire a four-game winning sequence early into his reign but Leicester finished in ninth place and a dismal run at the end of the season led to speculation about his long-term future. For the third successive season, Jamie Vardy finished as top scorer, ending with 20 Premier League strikes.



Leicester City’s 2018-2019 season was overshadowed by the tragic events that occurred outside The King Power Stadium on Saturday 27th October 2018. Just over an hour after drawing 1-1 with West Ham United, the helicopter belonging to owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed shortly after take-off from the pitch. Five people, including Vichai were killed.

Leicester were united in grief with a wealth of floral tributes outside the ground to their owner. They played on a week later with an emotional 1-0 victory at Cardiff and Puel’s strength in such an overwhelming sense of tragedy was widely praised. There was an excellent festive period which brought about victories over Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton but a run of four defeats in six games and an FA Cup exit at League Two side Newport County AFC saw him sacked towards the end of February.

Brendan Rodgers returned to the Premier League after a trophy-laden spell in Scotland with Celtic and steered Leicester to a ninth place finish for the second successive season.


The Clubs: Sunderland

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
608 153 159 296 612 904 -292 618 16


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
John O’Shea 189
Sebastian Larsson 176
Phil Bardsley 174
Lee Cattermole 170
Michael Gray 170
Kevin Phillips 139
Kieran Richardson 134
Niall Quinn 129
Thomas Sorensen 126
Adam Johnson 122


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Kevin Phillips 61
Jermain Defoe 34
Darren Bent 32
Niall Quinn 29
Kenwyne Jones 26
Steven Fletcher 23
Adam Johnson 19
Stephane Sessegnon 17
Fabio Borini 14
Kieran Richardson 14


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Derby County 0-5 Sunderland 18th September 1999 1999-2000
Bradford City 0-4 Sunderland 2nd October 1999 1999-2000
Sunderland 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 13th December 2008 2008-2009
Sunderland 4-0 Bolton Wanderers 9th March 2010 2009-2010
Sunderland 4-0 Stoke City 18th September 2011 2011-2012
Sunderland 4-0 Cardiff City 27th April 2014 2013-2014
Crystal Palace 0-4 Sunderland 4th February 2017 2016-2017
Sunderland 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27th September 2009 2009-2010
Nottingham Forest 1-4 Sunderland 21st August 1996 1996-1997
Sunderland 4-1 Chelsea 4th December 1999 1999-2000


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Southampton 8-0 Sunderland 18th October 2014 2014-2015
Everton 7-1 Sunderland 24th November 2007 2007-2008
Chelsea 7-2 Sunderland 16th January 2010 2009-2010
Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland 29th April 2013 2012-2013
Manchester United 5-0 Sunderland 21st December 1996 1996-1997
Everton 5-0 Sunderland 26th December 1999 1999-2000
Ipswich Town 5-0 Sunderland 29th December 2001 2001-2002
Chelsea 5-0 Sunderland 1st November 2008 2008-2009
Manchester City 5-0 Sunderland 3rd April 2011 2010-2011
Chelsea 6-2 Sunderland 16th March 1997 1996-1997



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Peter Reid 5 7th October 2002
Howard Wilkinson 1 10th March 2003
Mick McCarthy 2 6th March 2006
Roy Keane 2 4th December 2008
Ricky Sbragia 1 24th May 2009
Steve Bruce 3 30th November 2011
Martin O’Neill 2 30th March 2013
Paolo Di Canio 2 22nd September 2013
Gus Poyet 2 16th March 2015
Dick Advocaat 2 4th October 2015
Sam Allardyce 1 21st July 2016
David Moyes 1 22nd May 2017


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool FC 13th April 2002 48,355 2001-2002
Sunderland 1-3 Manchester United 13th October 2001 48,305 2001-2002
Sunderland 0-1 Newcastle United 24th February 2002 48,290 2001-2002
Sunderland 0-2 Leeds United 31st March 2001 48,285 2000-2001
Sunderland 1-1 Newcastle United 21st April 2001 48,277 2000-2001
Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United 31st January 2001 48,260 2000-2001
Sunderland 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur 14th April 2001 48,029 2000-2001
Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal 27th October 2001 48,029 2001-2002
Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea 9th December 2001 48,017 2001-2002
Sunderland 1-0 Everton 22nd December 2001 48,013 2001-2002



Sunderland have undergone some tough times recently. They became the first club since Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2013 to experience the indignity of back-to-back relegations to the third-tier of English football. The Black Cats made their Premier League debut in 1996 and achieved two finishes in the top 10 at the start of the millennium under Peter Reid’s tenure. Before their 2017 relegation, they were becoming the survival specialists, edging to safety in the closing weeks of each season from 2012-2013 to 2015-2016.



Sunderland initially coped well with the step-up to Premier League level and by the end of January, sat in 11th position in the table. Arsenal, Chelsea and reigning champions Manchester United were among the teams to experience defeat in what was the final campaign at the historic Roker Park ground. February was the month it started to go wrong with four successive defeats and a 6-2 beating at Stamford Bridge in March left them in a precarious position. The Black Cats beat Everton 3-0 in their last-ever match at Roker Park but on the final day, they lost 1-0 to Wimbledon and were relegated by just a single point after Coventry’s surprising victory over Tottenham Hotspur.



After two seasons back in the First Division, Sunderland returned to the Premier League in 1999-2000 and enjoyed a thrilling campaign back in the top-flight. It started badly with a 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea but they bounced back superbly. A memorable 2-1 success over Newcastle United in August saw the end of Ruud Gullit’s explosive tenure as manager and Peter Reid’s side enjoyed a 10-match unbeaten run off the back of that. Sunderland eventually finished in a creditable seventh position and with 30 goals scored, Kevin Phillips had a season to remember, winning the Golden Boot.



After scoring 44 goals in a fruitful partnership the previous season, the Niall Quinn/Kevin Phillips duo contributed to another 26 goals in 2000-2001 as Sunderland finished seventh for the second successive campaign. A 2-0 away victory at West Ham in mid-January had Peter Reid’s side in the dizzying heights of second place in the table but they only managed another three victories to slide out of European contention.



Sunderland’s form took a drastic slide in 2001-2002. They were the lowest scorers in the division, mustering just 29 goals in 38 matches. They were in ninth position after a 3-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers at Boxing Day which was their biggest win of the season but a 5-0 reverse only a few days later at Ipswich started a worrying run of form with just three victories in 19 games. Survival was only secured by a home 1-1 draw with Derby County on the last day of the season.



Sunderland’s 2002-2003 season was a nightmare. After winning just two of their first nine matches, Peter Reid parted company with the club after over six years at the helm. Howard Wilkinson was the shock choice as his successor and although there were notable home victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC, the Black Cats looked in real trouble and were in the drop zone at Christmas.

A calamitous first half at home to Charlton Athletic which saw Sunderland concede three own goals in the space of eight minutes virtually spelt the end for Wilkinson. He was sacked in mid-March. Mick McCarthy was brought in but it was already too late. He lost every single game and Sunderland went down in abject fashion. They were relegated on 12th April after a 2-0 defeat away at Birmingham City and finished with just 19 points, losing 15 successive matches.



Mick McCarthy stayed on as Sunderland manager after their relegation and guided them back to the top-flight at the second attempt of asking but once again, his squad were simply not good enough for Premier League football. Sunderland lost their first five matches and recorded just three wins all campaign. McCarthy was sacked in early March and Kevin Ball took over on a caretaker basis until the end of the season. Sunderland’s third Premier League relegation was confirmed in mid-April after a gutsy goalless draw at Old Trafford but ended with only 15 points – the second lowest tally ever recorded in Premier League history.



Former title-winning Premier League skipper Roy Keane was at the helm for Sunderland’s Premier League return in 2007. He brought in 12 new faces in pre-season and it took time for everything to gel, despite a brilliant opening day victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Sunderland won just two of their first 16 games and also lost 7-1 away at Everton in November. Keane though stuck to his principles and a vital away victory at Villa Park in March started a three-game winning sequence that eventually saw them survive in 15th place with 39 points.



Sunderland began the 2008-2009 season in solid form, winning three of their first nine matches, including a memorable 2-1 Tyne & Wear Derby success over Newcastle United. Manager Roy Keane though resigned on 4th December, five days after a damaging 4-1 home defeat to Bolton Wanderers. Ricky Sbragia took over and after impressive early victories in his tenure (4-0) over West Bromwich Albion and (4-1) away at Hull City, Sunderland slipped into relegation trouble. Despite winning just one of their last 13 matches, the poor form of Hull and Newcastle meant Sunderland survived. Sbragia resigned at the season’s end and owner Niall Quinn began his pursuit of Wigan boss Steve Bruce.



Steve Bruce agreed to leave Wigan Athletic in June to take the Sunderland post and he helped break the club-record transfer fee in the summer to acquire the services of Darren Bent for £10 million from Tottenham Hotspur. Bent’s response was to score 24 goals in the Premier League and finish third in the race for the Golden Boot, only below Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney. Sunderland ended the season in a mediocre 13th place in the table but did achieve home wins over Liverpool FC, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur during the campaign.



Apart from an embarrassing 5-1 clobbering from Newcastle United on Halloween, Sunderland enjoyed a brilliant first half of the 2010-2011 campaign. Darren Bent was still scoring goals, Asamoah Gyan settled quickly after his summer arrival and even the champions Chelsea were outclassed in a shock 3-0 defeat to the Black Cats in November.

After a 2-1 victory away at Blackpool in January, Sunderland sat in sixth position but Bent was sold to Aston Villa and a run of nine games without a win, losing eight of those matches took them onto the edges of the relegation battle. Late season wins away at Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United saw the club sneak a 10th place finish at the season’s conclusion.



Bruce spent £28 million in the summer transfer window but pre-season expectations of a European challenge quickly faded and after a 2-1 home defeat to bottom-placed Wigan Athletic at the end of November; he became the first managerial casualty of the season. Martin O’Neill quickly came in as his successor and won seven of his first 10 games in-charge to see Sunderland rise from 17th to 8th in the table. They eventually finished 13th after failing to win any of their last eight matches.



Martin O’Neill managed to get his long-time transfer target signed up in the summer as Steven Fletcher joined from relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers and he made a flying start, scoring five goals in his first four matches to win the Premier League Player of the Month award for September. Sunderland didn’t lose a top-flight match until a 3-0 loss at Manchester City in early October but never climbed higher than 11th in the table all season. After a 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United, O’Neill was surprisingly sacked despite an eight-game winless run. The temperamental Paolo Di Canio was his successor and two wins over Everton and famously, Newcastle United at St James’ Park saw Sunderland finish three points clear of the relegation zone.



With reports of dressing room mutiny and just one point from five games, Paolo Di Canio was dismissed by owner Ellis Short in late September. His successor was the likeable Gus Poyet and he helped Sunderland to another great escape. When the Black Cats won 3-0 at St James’ Park in early February for the second consecutive campaign, they rose to 14th place despite being bottom of the table on Christmas Day. However, they gathered just one point from their next eight games and relegation looked a certainty after a 5-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

The lost cause though turned into a fabulous run of form. A draw at Manchester City was followed by crucial home wins over Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion and even more surprising, victories at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford. Sunderland ended the campaign clear of trouble in 14th place. They also enjoyed a run to the League Cup final before losing 3-1 to Manchester City.



It looked like another long season for Sunderland supporters when they failed to win any of their first six matches, despite drawing five of these. A humiliating 8-0 loss to Southampton had the alarm bells ringing and despite another famous victory at St James’ Park before Christmas, Sunderland were fighting again against the threat of relegation. After a dreadful 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa in mid-March, Gus Poyet was sacked.

Dick Advocaat was his replacement and once again, the late managerial change worked. Jermain Defoe returned to the Premier League after his spell in the MLS and scored a memorable goal in a home Derby victory over Newcastle and survival was secured by a goalless draw at Arsenal in the final week of the season. Advocaat was reduced to tears at the final whistle and confirmed shortly afterwards he would be stepping down. However, he had a change of heart later in the summer and remained in the post as first-team manager.



The Dick Advocaat magic faded away relatively quickly and once again, Sunderland were looking for a new boss when the Dutchman resigned in early October without a win to their name. Sam Allardyce was the next man in the hotseat but the initial bounce of victories over Newcastle United and Crystal Palace gave way to a dreadful December. Sunderland failed to collect a single point from five December matches and went into 2016 seven points adrift of safety.

Sunderland’s situation looked bleak after losing 2-0 at home to champions-elect Leicester City on 10th April but that was their final loss of the season. A crucial 3-0 away victory at Norwich City saw them regain destiny of their fate in the relegation battle and back-to-back home victories in May over Chelsea and Everton guided Sunderland to safety once again.



After England’s exit from the European Championships in the summer at the hands of Iceland, Roy Hodgson resigned and eventually, Sam Allardyce was tempted away from Sunderland to take control of the England national team. His successor was David Moyes but he looked flat and so did the team from the early stages of the campaign.

There were few high spots. Defoe continued to score goals and there was an enjoyable 4-0 away victory over Crystal Palace in early February over Allardyce, who was now Palace manager after his England experience turned sour. They were in the bottom three virtually all campaign and their 10-year spell in the top-flight ended in late April with a 1-0 home defeat to AFC Bournemouth. Sunderland finished bottom of the table and Moyes quit at the season’s end.

Seasonal Stories: Aston Villa (2006-2007)

The Lerner era begins

Aston Villa went under new ownership early on in the 2006-2007 season as Doug Ellis sold the club to American businessman Randy Lerner. Lerner was ambitious to start with and wanted to see his new investment pay off. There was also a new manager as Martin O’Neill returned to the Premier League after a six-year absence. It was always going to take time for the new partnership to bear fruition so although an 11th place finish sounds unremarkable, it was the first steps towards three seasons of upcoming excitement for the Villa supporters.

Squad: Thomas Sorensen, Mark Delaney, Jlloyd Samuel, Olof Mellberg, Martin Laursen, Wilfred Bouma, Aaron Hughes, Liam Ridgewell, Gary Cahill, Phil Bardsley, Didier Agathe (Left in January 2007), Gavin McCann, Steven Davis, Gareth Barry, Craig Gardner, Peter Whittingham (Left in January 2007), Isaiah Osbourne, Stiliyan Petrov, Ashley Young, John Carew, Gabby Agbonlahor, Chris Sutton, Luke Moore, Milan Baros (Left in January 2007), Juan Pablo Angel (Left in April 2007)

Staying unbeaten

Having finished a disappointing 16th in 2005-2006, there was a change in the managerial hotseat at Aston Villa. Out went David O’Leary and in came Martin O’Neill, back in management after a 12-month sabbatical. O’Neill knew the area well, having steered Leicester City to two League Cup triumphs in four seasons between 1997 and 2000.

There were no initial summer arrivals in regards to new players but that was because Villa were heading for a takeover. American businessman Randy Lerner, who owned NFL franchise Cleveland Browns completed his protracted purchase of the club towards the end of August. He took 60% of the club’s shares and succeeded Doug Ellis as owner. There was enough time for Lerner to immediately allow O’Neill the opportunity to sign his former captain at Celtic, Stiliyan Petrov on August transfer deadline day for £6.5 million.

With the limited player recruitment options and having flirted with relegation in the previous campaign, there were some pundits who were tipping Villa for the drop but that didn’t look likely after a lengthy unbeaten start to the season. In fact, it wasn’t until the 10th game of the Premier League campaign until they tasted defeat when Liverpool FC beat the Villans 3-1 at Anfield.

On the opening day, Olof Mellberg had the honour of scoring the first-ever competitive goal at Arsenal’s new home, The Emirates Stadium as Villa claimed an excellent point. The first win of O’Neill’s reign came a few days later when they recovered from a goal down to beat newly-promoted Reading 2-1. Gareth Barry scored the winner in a season where he was one of the team’s best players.

Aston Villa also claimed a 1-1 draw at champions Chelsea through a first half equaliser by Gabby Agbonlahor and Barry came to the rescue in another 1-1 draw, this time at home to Tottenham Hotspur. He scored a brilliant individual equaliser to get Juan Pablo Angel out of a deep hole. The Colombian forward had missed a penalty and scored an own goal! He would leave the club before the season ended.

TABLE ON 28th October 2006

3 Bolton Wanderers 10 6 2 2 10 8 +2 20
4 Portsmouth 10 6 1 3 16 6 +10 19
5 Arsenal 9 5 3 1 16 5 +11 18
6 Everton 10 4 5 1 16 9 +7 17
7 ASTON VILLA 10 3 6 1 12 9 +3 15
8 Liverpool FC 10 4 2 4 12 12 0 14

Lean winter

Aston Villa’s response to their first loss of the league season was a good one as they won their next two fixtures. Blackburn Rovers were beaten 2-0 at Villa Park and then, there was an excellent 1-0 away triumph at Everton. Chris Sutton had linked up with O’Neill again in October having been a free agent. He scored the only goal of the game at Goodison Park in what turned out to be his last-ever Premier League goal.

A lean winter followed though as an 11-game winless run saw the club plummet from the top six into 14th place. This included a four-game losing sequence which saw back-to-back reverses at home to Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United.

The 3-0 home defeat to the Red Devils was the first of three quick-fire defeats to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. They lost 3-1 at Old Trafford a month later and also saw their FA Cup hopes for the season extinguish with a last-gasp 2-1 loss at The Theatre of Dreams in the third round.

However, fresh investment was coming for the team in the January transfer window.

Carew and Young arrive

January 2007 was the first opportunity O’Neill had to invest in the squad since Lerner’s takeover of the club. First up was actually a player-exchange deal. Having preferred not to use Milan Baros as a central striker in his first six months at the club, O’Neill allowed Baros to leave for Lyon in a swap deal which saw John Carew arrive at Villa Park.

A day after Carew’s arrival, Aston Villa paid Watford an initial £8 million, potentially rising to £9.65 million in add-ons to sign young English winger Ashley Young. Young had impressed greatly for the Hornets in the first half of the season and had been courted by Villa for a few weeks before his arrival into the Second City.

Shaun Maloney also arrived for a cheaper fee of £1 million, becoming the fourth player who used to work with O’Neill at Celtic to follow him to England alongside Petrov, Sutton and defender Didier Agathe.

Both Carew and Young made goalscoring impacts early on in their careers at their new club. Young scored first but his effort came in a 3-1 defeat away at Newcastle United. Carew’s goal was the only one of the contest to steer Villa to a vital 1-0 home success over struggling West Ham United.

Finishing with a flourish

Going into April, there was still an outside danger that Aston Villa could be dragged into the relegation battle because they weren’t winning many matches. However, they were proving to be difficult to beat. Only Reading and Arsenal had defeated Villa since early February.

Any lingering doubts were ended by an excellent performance at Ewood Park to complete a league double over Blackburn Rovers. A 2-1 away victory saw Patrik Berger score a rare goal after a nightmare season which had seen him struggle with injury and even have a spell out on-loan at Championship club Stoke City.

The win at Blackburn began an excellent sequence to finish the season as Villa ended with a flourish. A nine-game unbeaten run saw them finish top of the bottom half in 11th position. Among the wins were two more away successes at Middlesbrough and Manchester City and a 3-0 home win against Sheffield United – arguably the best performance of the entire season from the team.

Aston Villa ended with 50 points and drew 17 of their 38 league matches – the most of any side in the 2006-2007 campaign. It had been a solid first season in the dugout for O’Neill and the foundations were in place for even better results to come in the coming seasons.

FINAL 2006-2007 TABLE – 8th to 13th

8 Reading 38 16 7 15 52 47 +5 55
9 Portsmouth 38 14 12 12 45 42 +3 54
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 15 7 16 52 54 -2 52
11 ASTON VILLA 38 11 17 10 43 41 +2 50
12 Middlesbrough 38 12 10 16 44 49 -5 46
13 Newcastle United 38 11 10 17 38 47 -9 43

Premier League Files: Matt Elliott

Premier League Career: Leicester City (1997-2002, 2003-2004)

22 goals from 199 Premier League appearances make Matt Elliott one of the leading defensive goalscorers in Premier League history. He had an uncanny habit of causing havoc for opposing centre-backs. In 1997-1998, he was the top scoring defender in the league, scoring seven times as Leicester City finished in the top 10 for four successive campaigns under Martin O’Neill’s stewardship.

He will be a Foxes hero forever for his contribution to their League Cup triumphHe said in 2000 which was Leicester’s final major honour until their shock Premier League title success of 2016. Elliott’s first taste of professional football came with Charlton Athletic in the late 1980s but he was unable to break into their first-team setup on a regular basis. Over the next eight years, he began to work his way up the Football League ladder, becoming a pivotal player for Torquay United, Scunthorpe United and Oxford United.

In early 1997, O’Neill decided to invest in Elliott to help Leicester’s defensive record. He joined the Midlands club for £1.6 million which remained a record sale for Oxford for 19 years until Kemar Roofe’s transfer to Leeds United in 2016.

He became a mainstay in the Leicester squad for several seasons and in 2000, had his finest hour at Wembley Stadium against Tranmere Rovers in the League Cup final. Having missed out on Leicester’s 1997 victory because he was cup-tied, he skippered them to this final for the second successive season. 12 months earlier, it had been agony for Matt as Leicester lost a dire final to Tottenham Hotspur in stoppage-time. This time round, he wasn’t going to be denied.

Elliott scored two headers to power Leicester to a 2-1 victory over the First Division side.

He became synomous with a uncompromising attitude towards the game and this led to several incidents with attackers, including Michael Owen and David Thompson. This led to a few suspensions from the FA for incidents such as flying elbows and deliberate fouls. In the summer of 2000, O’Neill left Leicester to take the vacancy at Glasgow giants Celtic. He managed to prize Steve Guppy and Neil Lennon away from Filbert Street and tried to tempt Matt to come with him to Parkhead. Celtic made a £3.5 million bid which was rejected by Leicester. Elliott pledged his loyalty to the club by signing a new contract.

In his final two Premier League seasons, Leicester suffered the indignity of two relegations and after a knee injury in his final campaign; he retired from football in January 2005. He said: “I can take away so many wonderful memories of my time here and the club will always hold a special place in my heart.” He won 18 international caps for Scotland and was part of their squad for the 1998 World Cup finals in France, although he didn’t make an appearance in the competition.

After some coaching in the non-league with Hednesford Town and Stafford Rangers, he had a six-month spell as manager of Army United, an affiliate club of Leicester City who were playing in the Thailand Premier League.

In August 2014, he took a role as a football analyst for BBC Radio Leicester and also is a first-team coach for the men’s and women’s football sides at De Montfort University.

The Clubs: Aston Villa

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
924 316 275 333 1117 1186 -69 1223 24


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Gareth Barry 365
Gabriel Agbonlahor 322
Alan Wright 260
Lee Hendrie 251
Steve Staunton 245
Ian Taylor 234
Olof Mellberg 232
Ugo Ehiogu 229
Gareth Southgate 190
Stiliyan Petrov 185


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Gabriel Agbonlahor 73
Dwight Yorke 60
Dion Dublin 48
Juan Pablo Angel 44
Christian Benteke 42
Gareth Barry 41
Julian Joachim 39
Dean Saunders 38
John Carew 37
Darius Vassell 35


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Aston Villa 7-1 Wimbledon 11th February 1995 1994-1995
Derby County 0-6 Aston Villa 12th April 2008 2007-2008
Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland 29th April 2013 2012-2013
Aston Villa 5-0 Swindon Town 12th February 1994 1993-1994
Aston Villa 5-0 Wimbledon 22nd December 1996 1996-1997
Leicester City 0-5 Aston Villa 31st January 2004 2003-2004
Aston Villa 5-1 Middlesbrough 17th January 1993 1992-1993
Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham City 20th April 2008 2007-2008
Aston Villa 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 7th November 2009 2009-2010
Aston Villa 4-0 Watford 5th February 2000 1999-2000


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa 23rd December 2012 2012-2013
Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa 27th March 2010 2009-2010
Newcastle United 6-0 Aston Villa 22nd August 2010 2010-2011
Aston Villa 0-6 Liverpool FC 14th February 2016 2015-2016
Southampton 6-1 Aston Villa 16th May 2015 2014-2015
Blackburn Rovers 5-0 Aston Villa 17th January 1998 1997-1998
Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa 1st April 2006 2005-2006
Liverpool FC 5-0 Aston Villa 22nd March 2009 2008-2009
Manchester City 5-0 Aston Villa 17th November 2012 2012-2013
Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa 1st February 2015 2014-2015



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Ron Atkinson 3 10th November 1994
Brian Little 4 24th February 1998
John Gregory 5 23rd January 2002
Graham Taylor 2 30th June 2003
David O’Leary 3 20th July 2006
Martin O’Neill 4 9th August 2010
Gerard Houllier 1 1st June 2011
Alex McLeish 1 14th May 2012
Paul Lambert 3 11th February 2015
Tim Sherwood 2 25th October 2015
Remi Garde 1 29th March 2016
Eric Black 1 3rd June 2016


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Aston Villa 2-0 Derby County 3rd November 2007 47,938 2007-2008
Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool FC 7th May 1994 45,347 1993-1994
Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool FC 29th December 2009 42,788 2009-2010
Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United 10th February 2010 42,788 2009-2010
Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham City 25th April 2010 42,788 2009-2010
Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool FC 22nd May 2011 42,785 2010-2011
Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United 15th December 2013 42,682 2013-2014
Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool FC 11th August 2007 42,640 2007-2008
Aston Villa 1-4 Manchester United 20th October 2007 42,640 2007-2008
Aston Villa 4-1 Newcastle United 9th February 2008 42,640 2007-2008



Aston Villa were a Premier League ever-present until their relegation from the Premier League in 2016. Runners-up in the very first season, the Villans remain one of the leading clubs in English football. They enjoyed sustained top-six campaigns under the likes of Brian Little in the mid-1990s and throughout Martin O’Neill’s exciting reign. However, Randy Lerner’s determination to tighten the purse led to three managers, just three wins, mass protests inside Villa Park and the demise in 2015-2016 that was pretty sorry to witness. Villa are now in their third season in the Championship and desperate to return to the Premier League party, with former title-winning skipper John Terry now on the coaching staff as assistant manager to former Brentford boss, Dean Smith.



After only drawing their first three Premier League matches, manager Ron Atkinson added to his striking reinforcements with the acquisition of Dean Saunders from Liverpool FC. It was a great bit of business. Saunders struck up a great partnership with Dalian Atkinson, whose strike away at Wimbledon in October won the BBC Match of the Day Goal of the Season.

For much of the season, Villa were locked in a tight battle for the inaugural Premier League title along with Manchester United and Norwich City. Paul McGrath’s tremendous performances saw him crowned as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year. However, a 3-0 defeat at Ewood Park to Blackburn Rovers in mid-April handed the title initiative to Manchester United. A home loss to Oldham Athletic at the start of May finished off Villa’s title bid and they eventually finished 10 points shy of top spot. Nevertheless, their attractive brand of football had won them new fans and made them one of the neutral supporters’ favourite in this new era of English football.



Aston Villa’s second Premier League campaign was unremarkable. A modest 10th place finish was a disappointment after the previous season’s near-miss with the title. However, there was to be a silver lining to the campaign. In March, they defeated Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley Stadium to win the League Cup – therefore denying the Red Devils a shot at a unique domestic treble.



In a bid to improve league fortunes, Ron Atkinson signed John Fashanu in the summer from Wimbledon and with Saunders, Dalian Atkinson and Dwight Yorke all still around – goals looked set to be a guarantee. However, the squad was starting to age and a cataclysmic run of form saw Villa slip to 20th by mid-November. They threw away a match at Selhurst Park against Wimbledon, losing 4-3 after going 3-1 infront. Despite their dire position and having experienced a nine-game winless run, many were surprised to see Atkinson sacked by the ruthless Doug Ellis.

Ellis started his pursuit of former player Brian Little, who resigned from his position as Leicester City manager to force through his move into the Villa Park dugout. He won Manager of the Month honours in January and spearheaded the club to their biggest-ever Premier League victory with a 7-1 demolition of Wimbledon in mid-February. However, another desperate run saw them slip dangerously close to the bottom four and survival was only effectively secured by a Yorke double in their final home match of the season against Liverpool FC. 18th place was not where anyone expected the Villans to finish after a nightmare league season.



Brian Little’s first summer saw him bring in Mark Draper, Gareth Southgate and Savo Milosevic and Villa’s fortunes drastically improved. A 3-1 opening day victory over Manchester United set the tone for an encouraging campaign that saw the Villans rarely outside the top six. They even harboured outside hopes of the championship with an unbeaten home record until the end of January when Liverpool FC defeated them 2-0. Nevertheless, Villa finished an excellent fourth and won the League Cup for the second time in three years, overpowering Leeds United 3-0 in the final.



Aston Vila dropped from fourth to fifth in the table in 1996-1997 but it was another consistent and impressive season from Brian Little’s men. They destroyed Wimbledon’s 20+ match unbeaten run with a 5-0 trouncing of the Dons in December and also beat Liverpool FC at home 1-0. They secured qualification for the UEFA Cup on the final day of the season with a narrow success over Southampton.



The arrival of Stan Collymore for just over £7 million days after the previous season concluded suggested great hopes for Aston Villa in 1997-1998 but losing their first four matches quickly put out those high expectations. Brian Little resigned towards the end of February after a defeat at Wimbledon that left Villa in a disappointing 14th position in the table. His former coach, John Gregory, returned to the club and they recovered brilliantly. Despite disappointing home defeats to the relegated duo of Barnsley and Bolton Wanderers, Villa’s rapid rise to seventh place at the season’s end meant another season of European football for the supporters to look forward to.



Gregory was unhappy with Dwight Yorke after the Villans’ superstar forced through a transfer to Manchester United four days into the season. Nevertheless, he spent the Yorke money wisely on the likes of Paul Merson, Steve Watson and in November, Dion Dublin from Midlands’ rivals, Coventry City. Villa set a club-record run of 12 games unbeaten at the start of the season and in December, produced one of the comebacks of the season to defeat champions Arsenal 3-2, having trailed 2-0 at half-time.

They topped the table on Christmas Day and were in a four-way scrap for the title going into the New Year alongside Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. However, Stan Collymore was sidelined for much of the second half of the season because of stress, the goals dried up for Merson and Dublin and an FA Cup defeat at home to First Division Fulham sparked a dramatic collapse in form. Aston Villa won just three league games in the second half of the campaign and faded badly to sixth position, missing out on the UEFA Intertoto Cup position to West Ham United in the process. It was a campaign that promised so much but ultimately, delivered so little.



John Gregory’s second full season in the dugout began poorly as the lack of confidence around the team remained. Dublin sustained a nasty neck injury in December that kept him out of action for several months and away form especially was a major concern. They improved after Christmas to finish in sixth position and also reached the FA Cup final, losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the final-ever FA Cup event to be played underneath Wembley’ famed ‘Twin Towers.’



Aston Villa’s 2000-2001 campaign was unremarkable to say the least. They finished in eighth place and made little impact on the season’s proceedings. 15 draws ensured they wouldn’t finish any higher in the table whilst main summer signing Luc Nilis suffered a serious injury playing against Ipswich Town in September that cost the Belgian his playing career.



Moroccan Internationals Mustapha Hadji and Hassan Kachloul were added to the squad in pre-season and Peter Schmeichel also returned to the Premier League after his spell in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon. Villa made a bright start and Schmeichel became the first-ever goalkeeper to score in the Premier League with his late effort in defeat at Everton. They went top of the table at the end of October but followed this high with a run of just one win in 11 matches.

By now, John Gregory had grown tired of his tempestuous relationship with Doug Ellis and resigned in late January, freeing himself up to take up the vacancy at former club Derby County. 12 years after guiding the club to a second-place finish in the old First Division, Graham Taylor returned to have another go at working with Ellis. He oversaw two late season victories over Southampton and Chelsea to ensure another eighth place finish in the table and therefore, a seventh successive campaign inside the Premier League’s top 10.



One goal only and three defeats in the opening four matches set the tone for a disappointing 2002-2003 season for Graham Taylor and Aston Villa. There were two damaging defeats to Second City rivals Birmingham City, who finished above them in the table for good measure. The second defeat at Villa Park saw a goalkeeping error and two daft red cards for Dion Dublin and Joey Gudjonsson. The usually restrained Taylor refused to take any questions afterwards from the media after this debacle.

Survival was only guaranteed on the penultimate weekend of the season and the 16th place finish that followed was enough for Ellis to dismiss Taylor at the end of the campaign.



After a season on the sidelines, David O’Leary returned to management and guided Aston Villa back into the Premier League’s top six. He made a slow start, winning just two of his first 13 league games which left the club in the bottom three in early December after a 4-0 drubbing at Old Trafford to Manchester United. Form improved dramatically after that result, losing just two of their next nine games to get the club into the European reckoning. O’Leary’s side reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and finished just five points shy of the UEFA Champions League qualification places – although the cup heroics of Middlesbrough and Millwall meant this was one of the rare seasons where sixth place wasn’t enough to secure European football for the following season.



There were few highs in 2004-2005 for Aston Villa supporters as the team failed to build on the previous season’s sixth place finish. Villa dropped to 10th and lost both games again to bitter rivals Birmingham City to ensure they remained winless in six meetings against the Blues since their promotion to the top-flight.

There was a 3-0 victory at St James’ Park and a comeback victory at Southampton from 2-0 down at half-time to a 3-2 success but it was a mediocre season at best for the Villa faithful.



Milan Baros arrived from Liverpool FC in a bid to improve Aston Villa’s goalscoring potential but the Czech only showed fleeting glimpses of his quality and for much of the season, Villa lagged at the wrong end of the table. Any relegation fears were ended by a 3-1 victory over Birmingham City where Baros scored twice and youngster Gary Cahill scored his first senior goal with a spectacular overhead kick.

In total, Villa only recorded 10 league victories, although there were two 4-0 triumphs over Everton and Middlesbrough respectively. They finished a dismal 16th, and just eight points clear of danger. With Doug Ellis set to sell the club, O’Leary left his role as manager at the end of the campaign after three seasons at the helm.



Martin O’Neill was installed as the new manager in the off-season and in late August, American businessman Randy Lerner completed his takeover of the club. Villa were the last team in the Premier League to taste defeat, staying undefeated until a 3-1 loss at Liverpool FC at the end of October. An 11-match winless sequence in the winter months had some fans nervous but O’Neill was stabilising the club for a more sustained European push in the seasons to come. This was highlighted further by the January additions of John Carew and Ashley Young. They finished 11th, having drawn a staggering 17 of their 38 league matches.



Aston Villa improved five positions on their 2006-2007 finish, returning to the top six and earning UEFA Cup football for the following season. John Carew and Gabby Agbonlahor scored 24 goals between them in a dangerous attacking partnership and O’Neill’s side played some great attacking football throughout the season. This included a 6-0 victory away at hapless Derby County in April which remains the club’s biggest-ever away victory in the Premier League.



For the second successive season, Aston Villa finished in sixth position, although there was a sense of disappointment at the end of it. The Villans launched a serious challenge to Arsenal in the race for a top four position and at one point, held a seven-point advantage over the Gunners, spearheaded by a tremendous sequence of away victories which broke a long-standing club record. A 2-2 draw at home to newly-promoted Stoke City though began a calamitous run which saw them win just one of their next 10 games, puncturing their ambitions of reaching the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.



For the first time in 12 years, Aston Villa began a campaign without Gareth Barry after his summer departure to Manchester City. They didn’t miss him too much in the early part of the season despite an opening day defeat at home to Wigan Athletic. Villa won at Anfield and Old Trafford and defeated eventual champions Chelsea 2-1 in October too.

O’Neill’s side were always in the four-way tussle for a top four finish and although they amassed two more points than the previous campaign, they finished sixth again with Tottenham Hotspur taking the coveted fourth spot. James Milner’s excellent displays saw him awarded with the PFA Young Player of the Year award and there was also a return to the League Cup final after a 14-year absence. However, it ended in heartbreak with a 2-1 defeat at Wembley to Manchester United.



This was the first season where Randy Lerner started to tighten the purse strings at Aston Villa and after a disagreement over the future transfer policy of the club; Martin O’Neill abruptly resigned as manager just five days before the season got underway. Two weeks later, James Milner was sold to Manchester City.

After serving notice as technical director of the French Football Federation, Gerard Houllier took charge towards the end of September but he struggled to sustain any consistency, both in terms of results and performances. He didn’t see out the season either. Ill health meant it was his no.2 Gary McAllister who took charge of the last few games of the season. Victories over Arsenal and Liverpool FC took the club to ninth place but it was the beginning of a worrying decline for the supporters.



With Houllier being forced to step down, it was Alex McLeish who succeeded him. Having been boss of Birmingham City before taking over at Villa Park, he was not a popular choice and although he stayed unbeaten until mid-October in the Premier League, the style of football was absolutely awful. Aston Villa amassed just 38 points all season, recorded only seven victories and collected just 19 points at home which at that point, was their worst-ever home campaign in their top-flight history.

Club captain Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukaemia towards the end of March and after a final day defeat to Norwich City, McLeish became the third Aston Villa manager in their Premier League history to finish 16th and receive his marching orders.



Paul Lambert was the new manager at the helm for the 2012-2013 season after guiding Norwich City to a 12th place finish in his first top-flight management campaign. The Scot found the going extremely tough in his new job as Aston Villa collected just a single point from his opening three games in-charge. There was a fabulous 3-1 victory at Anfield over Liverpool FC but just a week later, Villa caved in spectacularly at Chelsea to lose 8-0.

Further embarrassment followed in January with a League Cup semi-final defeat over two legs to fourth-tier outfit Bradford City and it was only the goals of new signing Christian Benteke that just about kept Villa above the bottom three. Benteke finished with 20+ goals to become the first player in the club’s Premier League history to achieve that feat since Dwight Yorke. Aston Villa finished a rocky campaign in 15th position.



For the second season running, Aston Villa finished in 15th position and endured another stale campaign under the guidance of Paul Lambert. There were few remarkable highlights, other than a 3-1 victory on the opening weekend over Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium and an early season 3-2 triumph over eventual title winners, Manchester City. At the end of a stale season, Randy Lerner confirmed he had put the club up for sale but he would find no interested buyer ultimately to take the club off his hands.



Three wins from the club’s first four matches including a 1-0 success at Anfield hinted at potentially a better season for Aston Villa but they followed this up with a run of six successive defeats, failing to score in five of these matches. Goalscoring was a huge problem all season and after a 2-0 loss to Hull City in mid-February that saw the club slip to 19th position, Paul Lambert was sacked and replaced by Tim Sherwood.

Sherwood managed to galvanise the team and especially, Christian Benteke, who rediscovered his scoring form under his management. This included a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers and a winning goal at White Hart Lane. There was a late season 6-1 beating at Southampton but other results ensured their safety, although they finished just one place above the drop zone. Sherwood’s impact also saw Aston Villa reach the FA Cup final, although this ended in a 4-0 defeat to holders Arsenal.



For the second season running, Aston Villa won their first match of the season away from home. Rudy Gestede’s header meant they were the party poopers at AFC Bournemouth, inflicting defeat on the Cherries on their Premier League bow. However, it would be the only win they amassed in the first half of a nightmare season. By the turn of the New Year, they were 11 points adrift of safety.

Tim Sherwood was sacked towards the end of October following a run of six consecutive defeats which began with a collapse at Leicester City, throwing away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to the fearless Foxes. Remi Garde was drafted in as manager and stopped the rot with a gutsy goalless draw at home to Manchester City. However, the Frenchman looked completely out of his depth. This was never more evident when on Valentine Day’s 2016; they suffered their worst home defeat since 1935 after losing 6-0 at home to Liverpool FC.

Garde eventually parted ways with the club at the end of March and Villa’s final days in the Premier League were greeted with mass demonstrations, banners and protests calling for owner Randy Lerner to step down. Eric Black took charge on an interim basis until the end of the season and relegation was finally confirmed with a 1-0 loss in mid-April away at Manchester United. Villa’s final tally of three wins and just 17 points means this is the third worst campaign ever seen by a team in Premier League history.

Great Goals: Muzzy Izzet – LEICESTER CITY vs. Tottenham Hotspur (October 1998)

Going into this match with Tottenham Hotspur, it was widely believed this would be Martin O’Neill’s last match in-charge of Leicester City. He was heavily rumoured to be succeeding George Graham at Leeds United, who had just filled the vacancy at Tottenham Hotspur.

Leicester would win this match 2-1 which was Graham’s first at the helm with Spurs. It needed a lovely goal to settle the contest infront of a full house at Filbert Street and it most definitely got this from Muzzy Izzet.

Steve Guppy’s deep free-kick was cleared by Les Ferdinand. His clearance fell straight to Izzet who produced a tremendous volley from the edge of the penalty area that sped past Epsen Baardsen in the Tottenham goal. His 86th minute strike was a fitting way to settle the match in Leicester’s favour.

Two days later, the Leicester fans got what they wanted. O’Neill confirmed he would be staying as the club’s manager and the Foxes achieved a second successive top 10 finish. Tottenham did get their revenge though, beating the Midlands club in a drab League Cup final at Wembley Stadium in March 1999.

Memorable Matches: Leicester City 5-2 Sunderland (March 2000)

Goalscorers: Stan Collymore 17, 60, 87, Emile Heskey 34, Kevin Phillips 53, Niall Quinn 75, Stefan Oakes 90


Leicester City: Tim Flowers, Matt Elliott, Gerry Taggart, Frank Sinclair, Darren Eadie (Stefan Oakes 56), Steve Guppy, Neil Lennon, Robbie Savage, Muzzy Izzet, Stan Collymore, Emile Heskey

Sunderland: Thomas Sorensen, Paul Butler, Jody Craddock, Chris Makin, Eric Roy (John Oster 71), Alex Rae, Stefan Schwarz, Darren Holloway (Nicky Summerbee 45), Kevin Kilbane, Niall Quinn, Kevin Phillips

Referee: Neale Barry, Attendance: 20,432

Having joined Leicester City a month earlier after falling out of favour at Aston Villa, Stan Collymore was keen to show his doubters wrong. He had his chance infront of the Sky Sports cameras on his home debut at Filbert Street as the Foxes’ hosted Sunderland in an end-to-end contest that saw seven goals and a reminder of his class when he was at his absolute best.

Collymore had already been in trouble with new manager Martin O’Neill for an off-field incident in a hotel during a club training camp break in La Manga. This was his second match for the club and after 16 minutes, he produced a spectacular opening goal. His half-volley from a flick-on by his new strike partner Emile Heskey left Thomas Sorensen completely helpless.

It was always going to be an entertaining contest. Sunderland had impressed many on their return to the top-flight but had the poorest defensive record in the top 10 coming into the match and it was exposed again 10 minutes before half-time. Neil Lennon won possession in the heart of midfield and he played Heskey in. He took one touch and finished in-between Sorensen’s legs.

Peter Reid was not happy with his team’s performance and withdrew Darren Holloway at half-time, replacing him with Nicky Summerbee. They did come close to reducing the deficit when Leicester defender Matt Elliott’s clearance at the near post hit his own crossbar. It was a warning sign to the Foxes but it wasn’t adhered to. Kevin Phillips’ half-volley from the edge of the penalty area on 53 minutes reduced the arrears. It was the 100th goal of his league career and 24th of an amazing individual season that saw him clinch the Golden Boot at the end of the campaign.

Leicester restored their two-goal lead on the hour mark. Lennon chalked up his second assist of the match. His beautiful cross was met by Collymore who directed the ball into the top corner of Sorensen’s net. One thing Reid had installed in Sunderland’s armoury was the ability to respond clinically and he had one of the best strike partnerships in the country at the time in Phillips and Niall Quinn. The Republic of Ireland forward joined Philips on the scoresheet with 15 minutes left. His curling strike would set-up a grandstand finish.

The day though would belong to Collymore. He completed his hat-trick with a striker’s tap-in. The finish was slightly scuffed but he wouldn’t be complaining about that and nor were the Leicester supporters. With time running out, substitute Stefan Oakes added a fifth to ensure the Black Cats’ conceded five on their travels for the second time this season, having shipped five at Everton on Boxing Day.

The sides would finish seventh and eighth at the end of the season. This day though belonged to Leicester and to the maverick that was Stan Collymore.