Aston Villa F.C.–West Bromwich Albion F.C. rivalry
|Other names||West Midlands derby|
West Bromwich Albion
|First meeting||Aston Villa 3–3 West Brom|
(9 December 1882)
|Latest meeting||Aston Villa 0-2 West Brom|
(16 Februaruy 2019)
|Most wins||Aston Villa (68)|
|All-time series||Aston Villa: 68|
West Brom: 47
|Largest victory||Aston Villa 0–7 West Brom|
(19 October 1935)
Their stadiums, Villa Park and The Hawthorns respectively, are four miles away from each other. Debate rages as to hierarchy of hostility between Aston Villa and West Brom. Certainly for many Albion fans Villa are seen as the main rivals (ahead of Wolves).
Aston Villa were founded in 1874, and West Bromwich Albion four years later. The two first met on 9 December 1882, in the second round of the Staffordshire Cup: Villa hosted a 3–3 draw in front of 13,900 fans, while in the replay West Bromwich Albion won by a single goal with an attendance of 10,500. It is possible that this is the first recorded incident of football violence with Albion fans being pelted with soil from home supporters before scuffles broke out between the 2 sets of fans. On 3 January 1885 they met for the first time in the third round of the FA Cup: a goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion was followed by a 3–0 victory for them away at Aston Villa.
The first FA Cup Final between the two was in 1887, which Villa won 2–0 at Kennington Oval with goals from Archie Hunter and Dennis Hodgetts for their first FA Cup. The following year, both teams became founder members of The Football League. They met first in a league fixture on 19 January 1889, Villa winning 2–0 at home, and again the next week in a 3–3 draw. The two teams met in two further FA Cup finals in the 19th century, a 3–0 win for West Bromwich Albion in 1892 and a 1–0 win for Aston Villa in 1895.
1970s and 1980sEdit
The rivalry between the two clubs reached an intensity in the late 1970s and early 1980s: after Albion returned to the top flight under the management of Johnny Giles in 1976, both clubs regularly challenged for the league title, culminating in Villa winning the league in 1980–81. In the 10 league meetings between Albion's promotion and Villa winning the league, Albion only won once, and Villa won five times.
West Bromwich Albion's Ally Robertson said that the rivalry with Villa was more important than that with Wolverhampton Wanderers at this time, as the Wolves were a comparatively weak team. Winger Tony Morley, who represented Villa and Albion in this period, said in 2013 “The biggest game for Villa fans will probably always be against Blues [Birmingham City] but for us players West Brom was always the massive game...When I was at Villa both Blues and West Brom were huge games, but for the players it was probably more vital to beat West Brom because they were such a good side". Cyrille Regis, who also represented the two during that era, contrasted the scale of the rivalry with that of the Black Country derby: “They are both big games for different reasons. Albion and Wolves are the only two teams in the Black Country so that really is a local derby with local bragging rights at stake. But, in our day, Albion versus Villa was always about being the best team in the Midlands.”
Birmingham City were relegated from the Premier League in 2011 and Wolverhampton Wanderers a season later, leaving Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion as the only West Midlands teams in England's top division and without their respective main rivals. On 7 March 2015, Aston Villa defeated West Bromwich Albion 2–0 in an FA Cup quarter-final at Villa Park, prompting a pitch invasion which was criticised by representatives of both clubs.
Crossing the divideEdit
Tony Morley represented Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion in the 1970s and 1980s, winning the league and the European Cup with the former. Cyrille Regis played for both clubs in the same era, in addition to a third team in the region, Wolverhampton Wanderers. More recent players to have represented both teams include Riccardo Scimeca, James Chester, Sam Johnstone and Kevin Phillips, who left Villa for Albion in 2006 and later played for Birmingham City, and Liam Ridgewell, who also played for all three teams.
- "Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion head-to-head record". Retrieved 5 July 2015.
- Magowan, Alistair (25 November 2013). "West Brom 2–2 Villa Aston Villa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- Macaskill, Sandy (10 December 2010). "West Midlands derbies: the hierarchy of hostility between Aston Villa, West Brom, Birmingham City and Wolves". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "1882–1885". West Bromwich Albion History. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "ASTON VILLA's F A CUP FINALS". Lerwill Life. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "Football League 1888/89". ESPN. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "Preview: Is West Brom-Villa the biggest rivalry?". Express & Star. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "FA Cup pitch invasion: Villa Park scenes disgraceful – Tony Pulis". BBC Sport. 8 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "Phillips makes move to West Brom". BBC Sport. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "Baggies bring in Ridgewell". Sky Sports. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2015.