Ron Saunders


Ron Saunders Team 1981

The Iron Man

On arriving in the Villa hotseat as Vic Crowe’s replacement in June 1974, Ron Saunders set about laying the foundations for the most successful spell in the club’s modern history.

The Birkenhead-born boss, who cut his managerial teeth at Yeovil Town and Oxford United, before having spells at Norwich City and Manchester City, made his impact felt immediately.

He guided Villa to promotion from the Second Division, as well as a League Cup triumph, in his first season.

The claret and blues lifted the League Cup again under Saunders in 1977, but, the best was yet to come.

In 1981, Saunders went on to secure an even greater prize, ending Villa’s 71-year wait for the First Division championship.

The league title success was all the more remarkable because Villa used just 14 players in what was then a 42-game season.

In January 1982, Saunders, who would later go on to manage Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion, resigned with Villa sitting mid-table in the First Division and through to the quarter-finals of the European Cup.

Before going into management, Saunders was a determined centre-forward, scoring over 200 goals in a playing career which took him to Everton, Gillingham, Portsmouth, Watford and Charlton Athletic.


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