Villa Park is one of the oldest and most famous stadiums in Europe.
Even the name has a special ring to it, so much so that Hollywood megastar Tom Hanks imagined it being located on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
The actual location of Villa Park, in the Witton area of Birmingham, may not be as aesthetically pleasing - but for many people it is equally romantic.
As Simon Inglis observed in his excellent 1997 book Villa Park, 100 Years, ‘There are football grounds and football grounds. Then there is Villa Park.’
As a lifelong follower of the boys in claret and blue, Inglis’s view is obviously biased, although it is shared by thousands of football supporters whose allegiances lie elsewhere.
Wembley may be the spiritual home of English football, but Villa Park is a close second.
The club’s home since 1897, the ground sits in the shadow of the Jacobean stately home Aston Hall and has evolved over the years into a magnificent all-seated arena with a capacity of more than 42,000. And it has done so without ever losing its charm.
There are football grounds and football grounds. Then there is Villa Park.Author Simon Inglis
It is no stranger to major events, either, having hosted matches at both the 1966 World Cup and the European Championships in 1996.
The famous stadium is one of a select few that has staged international fixtures over three different centuries, the first senior international taking place in 1899. In addition, it was a regular venue for FA Cup semi-finals before they were moved to Wembley.
Villa Park also had the honour of hosting the last-ever European Cup Winners’ Cup Final between Italian side Lazio and Spanish club Real Mallorca in 1999, as well as the 2012 FA Community Shield match when Chelsea faced Manchester City.
But it is not just football that has graced our spiritual home.
Villa Park has also been the setting for concerts from music stars such as Bruce Springsteen, Barry White, Duran Duran, Take That and Bon Jovi.
And in 2015, two Rugby World Cup group stage fixtures took place in B6.