Sunday 24 February 2013

On this day: Little's Aston Villa reign comes to an end

  • Brian Little signed striker Stan Collymore from Liverpool in 1997

  • Carl Leaburn's goal sealed victory for Wimbledon in Little's final match in charge of Villa

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: Review of February

24 Feb 1998: Brian Little leaves Aston Villa role

Brian Little was relieved of his duties as Aston Villa manager after a successful four-year spell at Villa Park.

When Little was appointed as manager of the Villains, they were deep in relegation trouble, having won just three of their opening 15 matches in the 1994/95 campaign.

Little galvanised the club and steered them to safety on the final day of the season. With the summer additions of Gareth Southgate, Mark Draper and Savo Milosevic, the following season saw a huge upturn in fortunes and Villa qualified for the UEFA Europa League after finishing in fourth place.

They emulated their success in the 1996/97 campaign, with Dwight Yorke scoring 17 goals as they finished fifth and qualified for European competition once again.

A 2-1 defeat to Wimbledon on 21 February 1998, with Jason Euell and Carl Leaburn scoring for the Dons, spelled the end of Little's tenure as Aston Villa as manager, with the club lying in 15th place after 27 matches.

However, successor John Gregory built on Little's foundations as they secured top 10 finishes in the next four seasons.

Little, who spent 10 years of his playing career with Aston Villa, started his managerial career in the Premier League with Leicester in 1994 before enjoying his most successful managerial spell in the Midlands.

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