ASTON Villa fans from across Worcestershire - and indeed, the world - are joining in the anniversary celebrations of one of the club's greatest ever achievements.

A new soft-cover book is available to fans – just in time for Christmas - as part of the AV40 project, a year-long celebration to mark Villa winning the First Division title in 1981.

A special hard back edition of the book with a 500 print run sold out in just six weeks, with many snapped up by members of local supporters groups like Kidderminster and Worcester.

But it’s also made its way into the homes of Villa fans across the world, including Australia, Canada, Italy and Ireland.

The special edition were all signed by the players and cost £40. The soft cover ones are £10, or £20 for copies signed by five of the team.

Stourbridge businessman Jim Cadman has written the book in association with his friend Dennis Mortimer, one of the members of the team and a driving force behind AV40.

Forty years ago Aston Villa were sitting atop the First Division having fought off the challenge of Liverpool and Ipswich Town, and they stayed in the top four until they were crowned Football League champions for the first time in 71 years on May 2, 1981.

What made the achievement more remarkable was that the club used a squad of just 14 players.

To celebrate the remarkable 1980-81 season, Mr Cadman has worked with the players to create the Aston Villa 40th Anniversary Tribute book.

It contains reports of every match, programme covers, player profiles, action photos, memorabilia, statistics and league tables plus personal recollections from the players.

The five players to sign the soft cover edition are Dennis Mortimer, Gordon Cowans, Des Bremner, Tony Morley and Gary Shaw.

There is also a range of signed AV40 memorabilia including footballs, player trade cards, rosettes and pin badges.

The money raised goes into a players’ fund.

Mr Cadman, who has a keen interest in football history, particularly the West Midlands, and is also Chairman of the Duncan Edwards Tribute, said a series of events are planned once Covid will allow, with the emphasis being on reconnecting the fans with the players.

And there’s more to come. After the title in 1981, the team went on to lift the European Cup the season after. Watch out for more celebrations and tributes.

For more info and to buy memorabilia, go to: