Aston Villa's lowest moments

Villa manager Paul Lambert reacts to his side going 1-0 down against Southampton on January 12, 2013
© PA Photos
Following their exit from the League Cup, Sports Mole looks back on some of the lowest moments in Aston Villa's 138-year history.

Tuesday night saw Aston Villa embarrassed by League Two opposition in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup as they were knocked out by Bradford City.

A trip to Wembley Stadium would have been the perfect antidote to an otherwise morale-sapping season at Villa Park as the team battles away at the bottom of the Premier League table.

Manager Paul Lambert described it as one of his darkest days since he took over from Norwich City in the summer, but what about the club's true nadirs?

Sports Mole takes a look at some of the Villans' lowest moments since they were established in 1874.

The first relegation:

Simply put, Aston Villa were one of English football's most successful clubs during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Six First Division titles and six FA Cups meant that the famous claret and blues sat proudly among the country's elite. However, things had started to go downhill during the Inter-War years, culminating in their first ever relegation in 1936. Conceding 110 goals didn't help.

The not-so-swinging Sixties:

While there was plenty of glory further north in the form of Liverpool and Manchester United, there was little to find "groovy" for Aston Villa in the 1960s. In fact, the team diced with relegation a couple of times in the first part of the decade before defeat to Everton on the final day of the 1966-67 season condemned them to the second tier.

Division Three darkness:

If there was plenty of doom and gloom around Villa Park heading into 1968, it was practically apocalyptic two years later as the club dropped further down into the Third Division. Their unwanted stay wasn't to last long though: amid boardroom conflict, they were back in the Second Division in 1972 and fully restored to the top flight in 1976.

European glory to the drop:

Villa became only the fourth English club to win the European Cup in 1982 when they pulled off a famous upset to beat Bayern Munich in the final in Rotterdam. You would have most likely been told to sling your hook if you'd have said that the team would go through the trapdoor to the Second Division just five years later, yet, with the club heavily in debt, that's exactly what happened.

Premier League wilderness:

It is easy to forget, but Aston Villa pushed Manchester United for the Premier League title during the revamped league's first season in 1992-93. Finishing second, they haven't ended a campaign that high since. While there has been some success (two League Cups in 1994 and 1996, runners-up in 2010 and FA Cup runners-up in 2000) a succession of managerial appointments and some uncertainty behind the scenes have left the club in a kind of footballing limbo. There was an upturn in fortunes during the Martin O'Neill era (a sixth-placed finish in 2008), but it would appear that there are more dark days ahead for Villa before it gets any better.

Karim El Ahmadi, Ron Vlaar
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