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1981/82: Withe brings Villa glory

In their first season in the European Champion Clubs' Cup, Aston Villa FC marched all the way to the final, with Peter Withe scoring the only goal as they beat FC Bayern München at Rotterdam's De Kuip Stadium.

Aston Villa celebrate victory in the 1981/82 European Cup final
Aston Villa celebrate victory in the 1981/82 European Cup final ©Getty Images

Aston Villa FC 1-0 FC Bayern München
(Withe 67)
De Kuip, Rotterdam

In May 1982, one of English football's most evocative names was on the lips of fans everywhere: Aston Villa FC, European champions. Their success was largely unheralded, coming as it did in the Birmingham club's first season in the competition. But it was no less deserved for that.

Liverpool FC had been most pundits' choice to fly the first-division flag - until they slipped on the banana skin that was FC CSKA Sofia. Thrashed at Anfield 12 months before, the Bulgarian side took their revenge upon the holders in the quarter-finals. Now it was Villa's turn to impress. Tony Barton's team needed away goals to beat Dynamo Berlin in the second round, then overcame FC Dynamo Kyiv in the last eight - drawing 0-0 in the USSR before prevailing 2-0 at home. RSC Anderlecht were another tough proposition in the semi-finals. The Belgian side were bidding for their fifth appearance in a European final, but a single Tony Morley goal saw Villa through.

Rotterdam, then, was last stop for the Barton bandwagon, although a match-up with FC Bayern München seemed to represent the natural terminus for English hopes whatever the round. Bavaria's finest had defeated CSKA 7-4 on aggregate, with two goals apiece for Paul Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in the semi-final second leg in Munich. Yet the key moment of a gripping final was not the early substitution of Villa's injured goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer for youngster Nigel Spink, but Peter Withe's second-half finish to a Morley cross.