With as many as 40,000 fans descending on Villa Park for match days, Aston Villa Ladies remain very much in their brother’s shadow.
Despite being officially affiliated with the club, their support doesn’t show it as many don’t know too much about them.
So here’s everything you need to know about Villa Ladies:
The roots of Aston Villa Ladies began with a name that polarises Villa fans, Doug Ellis, and is synonymous with establishing the women’s team. They were licensed by Aston Villa as their official women’s side in 1996, having been called the Villa Aztecs before that from 1989. However, they were founded I 1973 as Solihull FC.
Villa began properly funding the women’s side in 2004 before taking full control of it in 2007, with the club’s progress culminating in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup win in 2013.
Where do they play?
Following years of playing at Coles Lane in Sutton Coldfield, the Ladies moved to Tamworth’s stadium The Lamb – after their previous ground was deemed not good enough by the FA in relation to their guidelines.
Villa Ladies’ home The Lamb is not as emphatic as Villa Park by any stretch, but the devotion of the regular supporters and the quality of football inside the ground cannot be questioned.
What league do they play in?
Like their male counterparts, Villa Ladies play in the second division of English football.
They compete in the Women’s Super League 2 (WSL 2) alongside the likes of Doncaster Belles and Millwall Lionesses.
The second division was established in 2014 and Villa have been ever present in the league since. They will be looking once again to fight their way out and gain promotion to WSL 1 where they would face to guns Manchester City Women and Chelsea Ladies.
When does the new season start?
Previously the WSL have operated with a summer schedule, which saw the season start in March and run until November.
But it has now changed to a more traditional format that will run alongside the men’s league starting on Sunday 23rd September.
However, this could come at a cost for attendances in the league. Although there is a supposed gentleman’s agreement that the men play on a Saturday and the women on a Sunday, there may still be clashes in fixtures.
The FA announced their plans to double the attendances in women’s football by 2020, and the proof will be in the pudding when the new season starts.
Who is their manager?
Dave Stevens was announced as the new manager, after succeeding Ron Mellor.
Stevens is an A licence coach who was previously the technical director for Aston Villa Ladies Centre of Excellence.
As an FA coach educator, who has worked in a part-time capacity for the FA for 17 years, Stevens boasts an excellent track record of working with elite players within an academy and centre of excellence environment.
He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the club that will be key if Villa are to put together a promotion push during this coming season.