Villa Park is a football stadium located in Birmingham, England, having a capacity of 42,785 seats. The stadium serves as the home ground of Aston Villa since 1897.
The stadium is one of the oldest and most famous stadiums of Europe. It is one of the few stadiums which has hosted international fixtures over three different centuries.
In the 19th century, Villa Park served as a pleasure ground having a football and cricket pitch, athletics track and a small grandstand. Before moving in, Aston Villa built a new main stand and complemented this with open terraces on the remaining sides.
The club opened their new stadium on 17th of April in 1897 with a friendly against Blackburn Rovers, which they won 3-0.
During the 1966 FIFA World Cup, Villa Park was chosen to host three group stage matches. The first of those three games were played between Argentina and Spain. The Argentinians won 2-1 with Luis Artime netting a brace for the South Americans.
In 1981, the stadium hosted the replay of the League Cup final after the encounter at Wembley Stadium finished 1-1 between Liverpool and West Ham United. Liverpool won the game 2-1 with goals from Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen.
The first leg of the 1981-82 European Cup semi-final between Aston Villa and Anderlecht was played at Villa Park. It turned out to be a spectacular European night for the home side as they beat their Belgian opponents 1-0. The goal turned out to be the solitary goal across both the legs as Villa marched into the final. In the end, they beat Bayern Munich in the final to win the European Cup.
Villa Park had the honor of hosting the last ever European Cup Winners’ Cup final between Italian side Lazio and Spanish club Real Mallorca in 1999. The final final was dominated entirely by the Spanish side but Lazio nicked it 2-1.
In 2012, the stadium hosted the FA Community Shield as the Olympic Games were held at the stadium. The game which marks the beginning of the English football season was held between Chelsea and Manchester City. City won the game 3-2 as the defending Premier League champions came back from a goal down to win their first Community Shield in 40 years.
Villa Park experienced some of the worst forms of football hooliganism on 9th October 1976, during a game between Aston Villa and Rangers. The so called “friendly” game had to be called off after 53 minutes when the crowd trouble started.
In their last game played at Villa Park on 23rd December 2017, Aston Villa drew 2-2 with Sheffield United. Villa scored two goals in the first 10 minutes through Albert Adomah and Mile Jedinak but the Blades came back with a brace from Clayton Donaldson.