2010 Football League Cup Final

The 2010 Football League Cup Final was the final match of the 2009–10 Football League Cup, the 50th season of the Football League Cup, a football competition for the 92 teams in the Premier League and The Football League. The match, played at Wembley Stadium on 28 February 2010,[4] was won by Manchester United, who beat Aston Villa 2–1. Aston Villa took the lead in the fifth minute of the game, via a James Milner penalty kick, but Michael Owen equalised for Manchester United seven minutes later. Wayne Rooney, who replaced the injured Owen shortly before half time, scored the winning goal with 16 minutes left to play.[5]

Manchester United went into the match as defending champions, having beaten Tottenham Hotspur on penalties in the 2009 final. The win gave them their fourth Football League Cup title, their third in five years and their second in succession, becoming the first team to retain the trophy since Nottingham Forest in 1990.[6] It was the first time Manchester United successfully defended a major cup, having been losing finalists as title holders in the 1995 and 2005 FA Cup, and the 2009 Champions League finals.[7] Since Manchester United qualified for the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League via their league position, the place in the following season's Europa League which would have been given to the winners of the League Cup was instead given to Villa, since they finished in sixth place in the 2009–10 Premier League.

2010 Football League Cup Final
2010 League Cup Final Programme
Match programme cover
Event2009–10 Football League Cup
Aston Villa Manchester United
1 2
Date28 February 2010
VenueWembley Stadium, London
Man of the MatchAntonio Valencia (Manchester United)[1]
RefereePhil Dowd (Staffordshire)[2]
Attendance88,596
WeatherMostly cloudy
7 °C (45 °F)[3]

Background

Out of the 173 previous meetings between the two sides, Manchester United had won 87 and Aston Villa had won 49, with the remaining 37 games finishing as draws; however, Villa's record in the League Cup against United was markedly better, with four wins in six matches between them.[8] United's only League Cup win over Aston Villa came in October 1975, when they won 2–1 at Villa Park in the third round.[8] The only previous meeting between the two teams in the final of the competition came in 1994, when Villa won 3–1 and United winger Andrei Kanchelskis became the first player to be sent off in a League Cup final.

Aston Villa hold the advantage over Manchester United in the league matches between the two sides in 2009–10, having beaten the Premier League champions 1–0 at Old Trafford in December and holding them to a 1–1 draw at Villa Park three weeks before the League Cup final.[9][10]

Both Manchester United and Aston Villa had played in seven Football League Cup finals, but Manchester United had only won three compared to Villa's five. United's most recent victory, however, came in 2009 – when they beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties – whereas Villa's last League Cup title came in 1996, when they beat Leeds United 3–0. Manchester United went into the match looking to become the first team to retain the League Cup since Nottingham Forest in 1990.

Road to Wembley

Manchester United Round Aston Villa
Manchester United 1–0 Wolverhampton Wanderers Round 3[11] Aston Villa 1–0 Cardiff City
Barnsley 0–2 Manchester United Round 4 Sunderland 0–0
(1–3p)
Aston Villa
Manchester United 2–0 Tottenham Hotspur Round 5 Portsmouth 2–4 Aston Villa
Manchester City 2–1 Manchester United Semi-final Blackburn Rovers 0–1 Aston Villa
Manchester United 3–1 Manchester City Aston Villa 6–4 Blackburn Rovers
Manchester United won 4–3 on aggregate Aston Villa won 7–4 on aggregate

Pre-match

Ticketing

Since 2008, the final of the Football League Cup has been played at Wembley Stadium in London. The stadium has a capacity of 90,000 spectators,[12] and each team received an allocation of 31,750 tickets for their supporters.[13] Both clubs chose to limit their initial applications to season ticket holders, with priority given to those supporters who had attended more cup games up to that point in the season.[13][14]

Match ball

The match ball for the 2010 League Cup final is a variation of the Mitre Revolve ball used by The Football League. The ball is white and patterned with black with gold trim. 150 balls were produced for the two teams to train with prior to the final, each of which is stamped with a unique identifying number and the date of the match. The ball also features a special logo that reads "FIFTY" – in recognition of the 50th season of the League Cup – where the letter I is replaced by an image of the League Cup trophy.[15]

Officials

Staffordshire-based referee Phil Dowd was named as the referee for the 2010 League Cup final on 1 February 2010. His only previous cup final experience came in 2006, when he was the fourth official for the 2006 FA Cup Final.[2] His assistants for the match were Shaun Procter-Green from Lincolnshire and David Richardson from West Yorkshire, with Lee Mason from Lancashire acting as fourth official.[2]

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony for the match began with the Football League Cup trophy being brought out onto the field of play by Manchester United fan Private Dave Tatlock of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment; Tatlock had been wounded while on tour in Afghanistan in 2008. A piece of shrapnel embedded in his spine, leaving him paralysed, and he had been told by doctors that he would never walk again. Within four weeks, he regained feeling in his legs, and three months later he was able to walk with the aid of a stick. At the time of the match, he was waiting for an operation that would fully restore his mobility.[16]

The players and officials then emerged from the tunnel and lined up along a red carpet, accompanied by their team mascots; Manchester United's mascot was seven-year-old Charlie Simpson, selected for his fund-raising efforts in aid of the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, while Aston Villa were led out by six-year-old Ben Clay, whose identical twin Oliver has cerebral palsy and attends a hospice run by Acorns Children's Hospice, whose logo Aston Villa wear on their shirts. The teams were then presented to the day's guests of honour: Brian Mawhinney, chairman of The Football League, and Martin Thomas, the Supply Chain Director of Molson Coors (UK), who own the Carling brand. Finally, the national anthem was sung by 21-year-old Camilla Kerslake.[17]

Match

Team selection

Aston Villa went into the match with only two players unavailable due to injury: forward Marlon Harewood (foot) and midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker (ankle); although midfielder Stiliyan Petrov had missed the previous game with a virus. Defender James Collins and forward Emile Heskey were both rested for Villa's FA Cup fifth round replay against Crystal Palace on 24 February. Also rested was goalkeeper Brad Friedel, indicating manager Martin O'Neill's intention for Friedel to start the final, despite reserve goalkeeper Brad Guzan having started each of Villa's other League Cup matches during the season.[18] Defender Stephen Warnock had been suffering a shin problem earlier in the season, but he was given two weeks of rest before returning to the Villa side for their last three matches before the final to gain some match fitness.[19]

Manchester United, on the other hand, were beset by injury and suspension; midfielder Ryan Giggs broke his arm in the league match between the two teams 18 days earlier, forcing him to miss a month of the season,[20] while fellow midfielder Anderson suffered an injury to the cruciate ligament in his left knee against Everton and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.[21] Defender Rio Ferdinand had been expected to play in the match following a four-match suspension for an incident against Hull City, but he suffered a recurrence of a back problem that had kept him out of contention for three months earlier in the season.[22] Also missing with long-term injuries for United were midfielder Owen Hargreaves (knee) and defender John O'Shea (thigh), while midfielder Nani was suspended for three matches after being sent off for a two-footed tackle on Stiliyan Petrov in the match between United and Villa on 10 February.[23]

Aston Villa's team was as expected, with the possible exception of Friedel starting in goal ahead of Guzan. Martin O'Neill played a 4–4–2 formation with Heskey and Agbonlahor in attack and Ashley Young and Stewart Downing on the wings, while Stephen Warnock was deemed fit enough to play at left-back and Stiliyan Petrov recovered from his virus to captain the side from central midfield. The biggest surprise in the teams selected by both managers was Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to leave in-form striker Wayne Rooney on the bench, opting instead to partner Michael Owen with Dimitar Berbatov up front and play four in midfield. Also surprising was Ferguson's decision to play Tomasz Kuszczak in goal ahead of Edwin van der Sar, who had been rested in midweek.[24][25] It later came to light that Rooney had a minor knee injury and was named on the bench as a precaution.[26]

Summary

First half

Aston Villa began the game quickly, earning an early free kick on the left wing before taking the lead with a penalty kick in the fifth minute; Gabriel Agbonlahor was played in behind the United defence and outpaced Nemanja Vidić to the penalty area, where the Serbian defender grabbed hold of the English striker's shirt before lunging in with a clumsy challenge.[27] Referee Phil Dowd pointed to the penalty spot immediately, but chose not to show Vidić a red card, despite Vidić being the last defender between Agbonlahor and the goal.[27] James Milner took the penalty and sent goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak the wrong way with a side-footed finish to the bottom-right corner.[27]

Manchester United equalised seven minutes later after capitalising on an uncharacteristic mistake by Richard Dunne.[27] Dimitar Berbatov caught Dunne in possession inside the Aston Villa half and ran towards the goal; although Dunne was able to catch up to Berbatov, his tackle only succeeded in finding its way to Michael Owen on the edge of the penalty area, where he swept the ball past Brad Friedel into the bottom-left corner of the goal.[27] Milner had a chance to double his tally and restore his side's lead four minutes later with a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area, but Kuszczak kept the scores level with a diving, two-handed save.[27]

As the first half drew to a close, Owen pulled up with a hamstring injury as he chased down a ball into the Aston Villa penalty area; Wayne Rooney came on to replace him in the 41st minute.[27] Park Ji-sung almost gave Manchester United the lead in injury time at the end of the first half, as James Collins' attempted clearance from Antonio Valencia's cross fell to him just inside the penalty area, but his shot hit the post.[27]

Second half

Michael Carrick had the first significant chance of the second half in the 49th minute, when he forced Friedel into a low, diving save after making space for himself with a neat turn on the edge of the box.[27] It took until the 74th minute for United to take the lead, as Rooney beat Friedel with a looping header; Berbatov found Valencia on the right side of the penalty area near the goal line, and the Ecuadorian stood up a cross into the centre, where Rooney outjumped Collins to head back across goal his 28th goal of the season.[27] Rooney almost scored again with another header three minutes later, but it hit the foot of the left-hand post.[27]

Villa's search for an equaliser resulted in Norwegian striker John Carew coming on for Spanish right-back Carlos Cuellar with 10 minutes to play, and Carew almost had an immediate impact; as Stewart Downing crossed from the right wing, Carew's presence caused confusion in the Manchester United penalty area, and Vidić knew little about it as Heskey's header ricocheted off his shoulder and up onto the top of the crossbar.[27] Dunne had a chance to equalise in the dying minutes as Downing chipped a cross to the far post, but he didn't make good enough contact on his header and it went harmlessly wide.[27] United managed to survive the four minutes of injury time at the end of the second half to take the victory, the first team to retain the League Cup since Nottingham Forest in 1990[28] and the first time they had retained a cup trophy in their history.

Details

Aston Villa1–2Manchester United
Milner Goal 5' (pen.) Report Owen Goal 12'
Rooney Goal 74'
Aston Villa[29]
Manchester United[29]
GK 1 United States Brad Friedel
RB 24 Spain Carlos Cuéllar Substituted off 80'
CB 29 Wales James Collins Yellow card 11'
CB 5 Republic of Ireland Richard Dunne
LB 25 England Stephen Warnock
RM 7 England Ashley Young
CM 8 England James Milner
CM 19 Bulgaria Stiliyan Petrov (c)
LM 6 England Stewart Downing Yellow card 18'
CF 11 England Gabriel Agbonlahor
CF 18 England Emile Heskey
Substitutes:
GK 22 United States Brad Guzan
DF 2 England Luke Young
DF 23 Senegal Habib Beye
MF 4 England Steve Sidwell
MF 16 England Fabian Delph
FW 10 Norway John Carew Substituted in 80'
FW 14 England Nathan Delfouneso
Manager:
Northern Ireland Martin O'Neill
Aston Villa vs Man Utd 2010-02-28
GK 29 Poland Tomasz Kuszczak
RB 21 Brazil Rafael Substituted off 66'
CB 15 Serbia Nemanja Vidić Yellow card 68'
CB 23 Northern Ireland Jonny Evans
LB 3 France Patrice Evra (c) Yellow card 41'
RM 25 Ecuador Antonio Valencia
CM 16 England Michael Carrick
CM 24 Scotland Darren Fletcher
LM 13 South Korea Park Ji-sung Substituted off 85'
CF 9 Bulgaria Dimitar Berbatov
CF 7 England Michael Owen Substituted off 42'
Substitutes:
GK 12 England Ben Foster
DF 2 England Gary Neville Substituted in 66'
DF 6 England Wes Brown
MF 18 England Paul Scholes
MF 28 Republic of Ireland Darron Gibson Substituted in 85'
FW 10 England Wayne Rooney Substituted in 42'
FW 32 Senegal Mame Biram Diouf
Manager:
Scotland Sir Alex Ferguson

Match officials

Man of the match

Match rules

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra time if necessary.
  • Penalty shootout if scores still level.
  • Seven named substitutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.

Statistics

Aston Villa Manchester United
Goals scored 1 2
Total shots 10 18
Shots on target 3 9
Ball possession 50% 50%
Corner kicks 4 5
Fouls committed 10 11
Offsides 5 4
Yellow cards 2 2
Red cards 0 0

Source: BBC Sport[25]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Malley, Frank (1 March 2010). "Fergie: Villa couldn't handle Valencia". manchestereveningnews.co.uk. M.E.N. Media. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Officials named for Carling Cup final". football-league.co.uk. The Football Association. 1 February 2010. Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  3. ^ http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/EGLL/2010/2/28/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA
  4. ^ "Key Dates Revealed". football-league.co.uk. The Football League. 20 March 2009. Archived from the original on 14 August 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  5. ^ Winter, Henry (28 February 2010). "Aston Villa 1 Manchester United 2: Carling Cup final match report". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  6. ^ McCarra, Kevin (28 February 2010). "Wayne Rooney seals Manchester United's Carling Cup comeback". guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media. Archived from the original on 30 March 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Rooney the hero as United overcome Villa". ESPN FC. 28 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b "United versus Aston Villa". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  9. ^ Hughes, Ian (12 December 2009). "Man Utd 0–1 Aston Villa". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  10. ^ McNulty, Phil (10 February 2010). "Aston Villa 1–1 Man Utd". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  11. ^ Clubs competing in UEFA competitions receive a bye to the third round
  12. ^ "Presspack – Stats and Facts". wembleystadium.com. Wembley National Stadium. Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  13. ^ a b Powell, Stephen (2 February 2010). "Carling Cup Final". ManUtd.com. Manchester United. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  14. ^ "Cup Final Tickets". AVFC.co.uk. Aston Villa FC. 20 January 2010. Archived from the original on 3 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  15. ^ "Win an Official Carling Cup Final Matchball". skysports.com. BSkyB. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  16. ^ Keegan, Mike (27 February 2010). "Para told he wouldn't march again to walk out at Wembley". manchestereveningnews.co.uk. M.E.N. Media. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  17. ^ Nagle, John, ed. (28 February 2010). "Order of Events". Carling Cup Final 2010 – Aston Villa v Manchester United: The Official Matchday Programme. ProgrammeMaster: 3.
  18. ^ "Wayne Rooney may be rested for Carling Cup final". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 27 February 2010. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  19. ^ "Stephen Warnock a doubt for Aston Villa at Wembley". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 4 February 2010. Archived from the original on 7 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  20. ^ "Ryan Giggs sidelined for four weeks with fractured arm". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 11 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  21. ^ "Manchester United's Anderson to miss season with injury". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 25 February 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  22. ^ "Injured Rio Ferdinand to miss England friendly". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  23. ^ "Nani red card deserved – Sir Alex Ferguson". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 11 February 2010. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  24. ^ Taylor, Graham (26 February 2010). "Graham Taylor's tactical analysis". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  25. ^ a b McNulty, Phil (28 February 2010). "Aston Villa 1–2 Man Utd". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  26. ^ Cheese, Caroline (28 February 2010). "Premier League and Carling Cup final as it happened". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m McNulty, Phil (28 February 2010). "Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  28. ^ Cheese, Caroline (28 February 2010). "Premier League and Carling Cup final as it happened". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  29. ^ a b "Everything you need to know". football-league.co.uk. The Football League. 4 February 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
2009–10 Manchester United F.C. season

The 2009–10 season was Manchester United's 18th season in the Premier League, and their 35th consecutive season in the top division of English football. Having equalled Liverpool's record of 18 English league titles the previous season, Manchester United were looking to break that record with an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title in 2009–10, but they were ultimately beaten to the title by Chelsea by a single point. They also had the chance to be the first team to reach three consecutive Champions League finals since Juventus in 1998, but they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Bayern Munich.

On 28 February 2010, United won the League Cup for the second season in a row, defeating Aston Villa 2–1 at Wembley. In doing so, they became the first club to successfully defend the trophy since Nottingham Forest in 1990, and the third club to do so overall, after Forest (1989 and 1990) and Liverpool (1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984). It was United's fourth League Cup title, and their third in five years. It was the first time United had ever successfully defended a major cup. They were, however, knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round after a surprise 1–0 home loss to fierce rivals Leeds United.

2010 FA Cup Final

The 2010 FA Cup Final was the 129th final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest domestic football cup competition. The match took place on 15 May 2010, at Wembley Stadium, London, in front of a crowd of over 88,000 and a British television audience of over 5 million. The match was contested between 2009 winners Chelsea and 2008 winners Portsmouth, and was refereed by Chris Foy from Merseyside. Chelsea won 1–0.

Chelsea entered the final looking to complete the Double for the first time in their history, having been crowned as the winners of the 2009–10 Premier League the week before. Portsmouth entered the final in a markedly different position; they faced an uncertain future, having already been relegated from the Premier League on 10 April following financial troubles, which saw them become the first ever Premier League club to enter administration, incurring an automatic nine-point deduction.

After Kevin-Prince Boateng saw his penalty saved by Petr Čech in the 54th minute, Didier Drogba scored from a free kick in the 58th minute to lead Chelsea to a 1–0 victory, and their first Double despite a later penalty miss from Frank Lampard. Chelsea's Ashley Cole won the FA Cup for a record 6th time. It was the first final in which both teams missed a penalty. Frank Lampard's penalty miss was the first penalty to completely miss the target in an FA Cup Final since Charlie Wallace in 1913 (Wallace's team also won 1–0). David James was the oldest goalkeeper to play in an FA Cup final, aged nearly 40.

The UEFA Europa League qualifying place normally given to the winners of the FA Cup became irrelevant for the 2010 final, after Chelsea qualified for the Champions League and Portsmouth were refused a UEFA licence due to their financial situation. With Manchester United having won the League Cup and qualified for the Champions League, the qualifying place due to the finalists instead passed to Liverpool, the seventh-placed Premier League team.

Camilla Kerslake

Camilla Kerslake is an English classical crossover singer from London who was the first signing to Gary Barlow's record label. She released her debut album on 23 November 2009 in the UK.

Guy Mowbray

Guy Nicholas Mowbray (born 16 February 1972) is an English football commentator, who primarily appears on the BBC. While working for Eurosport at the 1998 World Cup, he became the youngest ever television commentator on a World Cup Final, aged 26.

History of Aston Villa F.C. (1961–present)

The history of Aston Villa F.C. from 1961 to the current season covers the fluctuating fortunes of the club during the 1960s and 1970s, the European Cup victory in 1982 and the present day Premier League club.

The late 1960s was a turbulent time for the club. The problems began when the club, under manager Dick Taylor, was relegated from the first tier of English football for the third time in 1967. Within two years, pressure from supporters led to the resignation of the board of directors. The club was then relegated to the Third Division. In the 1971–72 season, Aston Villa returned to the Second Division as champions with a record 70 points. In 1974 Ron Saunders was appointed manager, and by 1975 he led the club back into the First Division and into European competition. It continued to have much success under Saunders, winning the league in the 1980–81 season. Saunders' resignation halfway through the 1981–82 season came as a surprise, with the club in the quarter-final of the European Cup. He was replaced by his assistant manager Tony Barton who guided them to 1–0 victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in Rotterdam. However, winning the cup marked a pinnacle, and the club fell steadily down the League standings over the next five years and was relegated in 1987. The club was promoted the following year, and achieved second place in the Football League in 1989 under manager Graham Taylor.

Villa was one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992 and finished runners-up to Manchester United in the inaugural season. The 1990s was a decade of inconsistency; the club had three different managers, and league positions were unpredictable, despite winning two League Cups. They reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1957 in 2000, but lost 1–0 to Chelsea in the last game to be played at the old Wembley Stadium. Villa's league position continued to fluctuate under various managers and, in the summer of 2006, David O'Leary left under acrimonious circumstances. Martin O'Neill arrived to a rapturous reception from team supporters. After 23 years as chair and largest shareholder, owning approximately 38% of the club, Doug Ellis decided to sell his stake to Randy Lerner, the owner of the NFL franchise Cleveland Browns. The arrival of a new owner and manager marked the start of sweeping changes throughout the club, including a new crest, a new kit sponsor and new players in the summer of 2007.

2007–08 saw Villa qualify for the Intertoto Cup. In the 2008–09 season they reached the group stage of the UEFA Cup for the first time in seven years. The first major final of the Randy Lerner era was the 2010 Football League Cup Final; Villa lost 2–1 to Manchester United. Martin O’Neill resigned before the 2010–11 season and was replaced by Gérard Houllier. After suffering from health problems, he was replaced by the former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish. His contract was terminated at the end of the 2011–12 season after the team narrowly avoided relegation. On 28 February 2012, the club announced a financial loss of £53.9 million. Paul Lambert replaced McLeish in July 2012. Lerner put the club up for sale on 12 May 2014, with an estimated value of £200 million. In the 2014–15 season Aston Villa scored just 12 goals in 25 league games, the lowest in Premier League history, and Lambert was sacked in February 2015. Tim Sherwood replaced him and saved Villa from relegation in the 2014–15 season taking them to the 2015 FA Cup Final. He was fired in October 2015 and replaced by Rémi Garde who left in March 2016 with the club rooted in the bottom of the table. They were relegated from the Premier League on 16 April. In June 2016, Chinese businessman Tony Xia bought the club for £76 million. Roberto Di Matteo was appointed manager and was replaced shortly by Steve Bruce. In the 2017–18 season Villa lost the 2018 EFL Championship play-off Final at Wembley Stadium. In July 2018 Aston Villa were sold by Xia to Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens. They sacked Bruce and appointed Dean Smith, who led the team back to the Premier League with victory in the 2019 EFL Championship play-off Final.

Martin O'Neill

Martin Hugh Michael O'Neill, (born 1 March 1952) is an Northern Irish professional football manager and former player who played as a midfielder. His most recent appointment was as manager of Championship club Nottingham Forest but he was sacked on 28 June 2019 after five months in charge of the Championship outfit.

Starting his career in Northern Ireland, O'Neill moved to England where he spent most of his playing career with Nottingham Forest, with whom he won the European Cup twice, in 1979 and 1980. He was capped 64 times for the Northern Ireland national football team, also captaining the side at the 1982 World Cup.

O'Neill has managed Grantham Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Norwich City, Leicester City, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland. He guided Leicester City to the Football League Cup final three times, winning twice. As Celtic manager between 2000 and 2005, he led that club to three Scottish Premier League titles and the 2003 UEFA Cup Final. After joining Aston Villa he achieved three consecutive sixth-place finishes in the English Premier League and guided them to the 2010 Football League Cup Final.

He became Republic of Ireland manager in 2013 and led them to qualification for the 2016 UEFA European Championship for the third time in the nation's history, beating the reigning world champions, Germany in the process. He left the role with assistant Roy Keane by "mutual agreement" in November 2018.

Richard Dunne

Richard Patrick Dunne (born 21 September 1979) is an Irish former footballer and current television pundit for BT Sport, who played as a defender. He made 431 Premier League appearances, including 253 for Manchester City.

Dunne began his professional career at Everton. He later spent nearly a decade at Manchester City before joining Aston Villa in 2009. In July 2013, he signed for Queens Park Rangers. He has also played internationally for the Republic of Ireland from 2000 until 2014. With Ireland he was a member of the 2002 FIFA World Cup squad and played in UEFA Euro 2012. Dunne announced his retirement from football in November 2015 after being released by Queens Park Rangers.

Dunne holds the Premier League record of being sent off – joint eight times along with Patrick Vieira and Duncan Ferguson. He also holds the Premier League record of scoring 10 own goals.

Scottish Women's Football League First Division Cup

The Scottish Women's Football League First Division Cup is a cup competition in Scottish women's football, a competition only open to teams in the Scottish Women's First Division, the second highest division in women's football in Scotland. There are four rounds, including the final.

Tomasz Kuszczak

Tomasz Mirosław Kuszczak (Polish pronunciation: [ˈtɔmaʂ ˈkuʂt͡ʂak] (listen); born 20 March 1982) is a Polish professional footballer who most recently played as a goalkeeper for English Championship club Birmingham City.

Born in Krosno Odrzańskie, Kuszczak previously played for Śląsk Wrocław in Poland, as well as for the German clubs KFC Uerdingen 05 and Hertha BSC, before moving in 2004 to England with West Bromwich Albion. During the summer of 2006 he transferred to Manchester United and in 2012 joined Brighton & Hove Albion, who released him at the end of the 2013–14 season. After spending the later part of the 2014–15 season with Wolverhampton Wanderers, he signed for Birmingham City in July 2015.

Kuszczak made 14 appearances for the Poland under-21 side and has been capped 11 times at senior level. He was a member of the nation's squad at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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