Cairney's first-half goal was decisive as Fulham, owned by U.S. billionaire Shahid Khan, held on to their narrow lead despite having defender Denis Odoi sent off after 70 minutes as tempers began to fray on a sultry afternoon.
It wasn't to be for Villa, who had an extra man for the final 20 minutes after Denis Odoi was sent off for a brutal challenge on Tom Grealish.
For Fulham, there was the fear that this wonderfully technical group of players - and their manager - will be feasted upon by Premier League vultures this summer.
Ryan Sessegnon found himself in space just outside the box before threading a flawless ball through to Tom Cairney who made no mistake with the finish. "I had the best three and a half, four months of my career".
"I think that's why I said we needed to win today".
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Financial muscle is supposed to dictate the order of things these days, but Fulham now join Bournemouth and Huddersfield as gatecrashers in the promised land of the Premier League and only the most ardent of Villa fans could argue.
The 18-year-old has earned rave reviews for his performances this season, with speculation rife about which top-flight side would secure his signature in the close season.
Fulham has been in the Championship since 2014-15 after being relegated and almost secured an automatic promotion place, only to narrowly miss out to Cardiff City. "He is really happy where he is right now", said Jokanovic.
Captaining his side yet again, the 27-year-old was a key component in the midfield battle up against tough opposition in Robert Snodgrass, Mile Jedinak and Conor Hourihane.
That figure could rise to in excess of 280 million pounds ($370 million) if the club from southwest London survives its first season back in the Premier League. But then, the Fulham defender stamped on his opponent's knee which went unseen by the referee, who would have given a red card had he seen it.