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'Ron Saunders at 80' images: Unseen pictures of Ron in charge

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'Ron Saunders at 80' images: Unseen pictures of Ron in charge

Happy Birthday to the great Ron Saunders, who is 80 today.

As a treat, we have trawled through our archives to bring you some unique and interesting images of Saunders's time in charge.

Check out our picture gallery.

Saunders is still regarded by fans as the best manager in Villa's history - and the esteem in which he is held is hardly surprising.

Under Saunders, success was almost taken for granted at Villa Park.

The club were playing in the old Second Division when he was appointed and by the time he left they were champions of England and on the threshold of European Cup glory.

Those feats were recognised when, at the age of 74, he was guest of honour at Villa's game against Manchester United in December 2006.

He was also present the following May at the celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1982 European Cup triumph.

It would, indeed, have been fitting had he been in charge of the team he had built when they enjoyed their finest hour - victory over German giants Bayern Munich in Rotterdam.

However, he had left in February that year following a dispute with the board over his contract.

Even the unfortunate manner of his exit could not detract from his achievements during the course of the previous eight years.

In his first season he guided Villa to promotion back to the top-flight plus a League Cup final victory over Norwich and his reward for the double was the Manager of the Year accolade.

Villa were back at Wembley for another League Cup final in 1977, this time against Everton.

After three games, Villa emerged victorious at Old Trafford.

If two trophies in the space of three seasons satisfied the fans' desire for a quick fix of success, Saunders was constantly striving for even greater honours and in 1980-81 he led Villa to the First Division title for the first time in 71 years.

Check out our picture gallery.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 6th November 2012
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