Aston Villa are in the Champions League - here's how to get your souvenir special

Aston Villa are well and truly back in the big time after crowning a remarkable campaign with Champions League qualification.

Next season, Villa will compete in European football's most prestigious club competition for the first time in more than four decades.

After famously lifting the old European Cup in 1982, their last involvement in the tournament was the following season, 1982-83.

Back then it was still restricted to each country's title-winners and the European Cup holders themselves, of course.

Villa suffered a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Italian champions Juventus, losing 2-1 at home on March 2, 1983, and 3-1 away on March 16.

As Unai Emery's top-four heroes prepare to test themselves against the cream of the continent, Champions League fever has gone into overdrive among the claret and blue faithful.

In response to the sense of excitement engulfing Villa Park, the Birmingham Mail has produced a souvenir special to celebrate the occasion.

Our bumper 48-page special edition tells the story of how Villa secured their top-four spot, relives the best moments of a historic campaign, looks ahead to next season and brings you some of the most iconic images of the year.

It will be on sale in shops from Wednesday, May 29 - or you can pre-order it from our online shop, priced £3.50 plus postage and packaging.

To pre-order your copy for home delivery while stocks last, click here.

Villa have clocked up an impressive 68 Premier League points with a match to spare and aim to round off the season in style against in-form Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

It took Manchester City's tense victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night to finally end the challenge of Spurs for the fourth-placed spot that Villa have made their own for most of the campaign.

Emery and his inspirational class of 2023-24 were enjoying their end of season awards night at Villa Park when their Champions League place was sealed in North London.

"It’s a very special day,” said the Villa boss. "It’s our dream, and it was our dream when we started the season to be here.

"To play Champions League is, after the Premier League, the best. You can play in the Premier League against the best teams in the world, it’s very difficult. When you are playing in the Champions League you are playing against the best teams, at the same time, from other countries. And it’s amazing.

"And we are always responsible about the history here, we know the history of Aston Villa is so long and so successful. Even in the Champions League, before it was the European Cup, we knew the responsibility was to try to increase our level, try to be demanding and to dream.

"And now to win the Champions League like Aston Villa did in 1982, if we are there and we are in, then it’s more easy than if we are not. It’s another dream and the most important is to have dreams and try to work hard for it.

“Of course, I’m very, very, very happy and very proud of you (the supporters), the players and everybody. I want to enjoy more and, next year, now the new challenge starts for us. To build again a team, being strong and being strong to go and always increase our level.

"This is our objective and always it’s trying to enjoy with you, the supporters; you are the heart of the club. Up the Villa!"

Describe how you feel about Villa qualifying for the Champions League HERE