A 17th place finish the following season was followed by 20th place in 2015/16, and after missing out on promotion a year ago in the play-offs having ended in sixth, Slavisa Jokanovic's side finished the recently completed season in third before overcoming Derby County and now Steve Bruce's Villa.
Slavisa Jokanovic says Fulham will have to invest in their squad after winning promotion to the Premier League.
Unfortunately for the midfielder, and Villa, he was unable to do so having been so tightly, and sometimes illegally, marked throughout the game.
Another blank in front of goal, Grabban has now gone seven Championship play-off games without scoring including runs to the final in 2015 with Norwich City and last season at Reading.
For some of Aston Villa's old stagers it was now or never.
They succeeded, and will play in the Premier League for the first time since relegation in 2014 ended 13 straight seasons in the world's wealthiest and most-watched division.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, is looking to return to the top flight after two seasons in the Championship.
The Villans were a much better side in the early stages of the second stanza, showing a sense of urgency as they pushed for an equaliser.
As Fulham went into the break one-up, both sets of supporters were "treated" to a game of Federation Internationale de Football Association on the big screens. Aged 37, even if he remains with them and they secure promotion in 12 months' time, a further year at the highest level will by then most likely be beyond him.
Grabban managed just one shot on goal at Wembley, with it being blocked nearly as soon as it left his foot.
Loan deals are never ideal, permanent signings are what supporters want to see, but this is is a move that could be a benefit for both parties and something Steve Bruce should strongly consider.
Villa also had a penalty appeal turned down but Grealish was lucky to escape a red card with a reckless tackle on Cairney.
Fulham prevailed, recording a 1-0 win that means they will be in the Premier League next season.