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Ticket to the Moon: Aston Villa: The Rise and Fall of a European Champion (paperback)


    “Richard Sydenham’s meticulous research has contributed enormously to a gripping [tale] for all football fans.” – Eric Brown, Sports Journalists’ Association


    ISBN: 9781909245976 Size: 234x153mm Page: 288 Paperback Publication: June 2019


    Aston Villa’s 1982 European Cup win in many ways was the most romantic in football history. And yet, set against the backdrop of English dominance in the competition it is widely a forgotten achievement.

    Having achieved promotion seven years earlier under the club’s iconic manager Ron Saunders, Villa became unlikely First Division champions in 1981. With steady progression being made in the European Cup the following season, Saunders resigned suddenly and shockingly, citing a lack of support from the board and a lack of investment in a team he wanted to improve. Though Villa would proceed to the final and ultimately surprise Bayern Munich under the guidance of Tony Barton, the club would quickly slide back into the Second Division.

    For the first time, journalist and author Richard Sydenham details Villa’s improbable rise and then its sharp, dramatic fall through exclusive testimonies from the big movers and shakers: the managers, players and chairmen, including the notorious Deadly Doug Ellis.

    By taking readers inside the boardroom, revealing through minutes who said what to whom at key meetings, Sydenham paints a vivid portrayal that covers more than 20-years of turbulent Midland football history.


    Richard Sydenham was born into an Aston Villa-supporting family in Birmingham in 1974. He became a journalist in 1994 and initially wrote for newspapers in the West Midlands, predominantly on Aston Villa and Warwickshire CCC. He has mostly written on international cricket over the years for organisations including Reuters, the Associated Press (AP), The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Star Sunday and more, before starting his own sports agency, Big Star Creations.

    This is his sixth book after previous ones included ghost-writing the autobiography of cricket great Curtly Ambrose (Time to Talk) and his publication on a Hollywood icon, Steve McQueen: The Cooler King – His Life Through His Movie Career, which won the Beverly Hills Book Awards’ Biography of the Year.

    Richard lives in the West Midlands with his wife, Donna, and son, Isaac.

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