Aston Villa are not only the holders of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, they are also by far its most successful side having won the tournament a record six times and been in the final on a further two occasions.
The Midlands-based club won all three of their group matches in 2016 to advance to the quarter-finals ahead of Newcastle United, Kitchee and Hong Kong Football Club before Japan’s Kashima Antlers and Wellington Phoenix of New Zealand were put to the sword in the last eight and last four respectively.
A 2-0 victory over West Ham United in the final – the Villains’ first title since defeating Scotland’s Rangers 3-2 in 2010 – moved the club to six titles as young stars such as Khalid Abdo, Harry McKirdy and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy showcased their footballing potential.
Prior to last year, Aston Villa had brought with them an array of talent that had gone on to appear for the first team including current players Gabriel Agbonlahor and Jack Grealish, Chelsea defender Gary Cahill and Leicester City’s title-winning winger Marc Albrighton, who scored in the 2010 win over Rangers.
In recent years the club, whose proudest moment came in lifting the 1982 European Cup, has struggled on the domestic front. Despite reaching the FA Cup final in 2015, Aston Villa had flirted with relegation for several years prior to 2016, when the fateful day finally arrived.
Now under the guide of experienced manager Steve Bruce, Villa will look to bounce back strongly and reclaim their place in England’s top flight with a next generation of stars set to take to the stage at Hong Kong Football Club.