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Best Aston Villa XI of All Time

Thu 09 December 2021 | 17:30

Aston Villa has been playing in the English Premier League for 145 years and had spent 106 seasons in the top tier of English football. When a team has such a brilliant track record, it will be harder to pick the best. Here, in the best Aston Villa XI Of all time, we try our best to do so.

In March 1874 members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, founded

Aston Villa Football Club

. The club's first ground was Wellington Road, they played there from 1876 until 1897, and later on, they moved to Villa Park- their current home ground. Aston Villa was one of the dozen teams that fought in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the club's directors, William McGregor. Aston Villa appeared as one of the most successful English clubs. They have won FA Cup 7 times, the League Cup 5 times, and the Football League First Division 7 times. Many great players have played for the club over the years.

Winning European Cup once in the 1981-82 season, the Birmingham-based club is trying to find a way back to their successful roots by hiring Steven Gerrard as the manager. However, listing the best Aston Villa XI of all time, we understand how heavy this burden can be for the Anfield legend to bring Villa back among the elite Premier League clubs. To do that, the Anfield legend has to use some of the Aston Villa best player 2021 as many argue that the current team Gerrard has is perhaps Aston Villa best Premier League XI. However, many of Aston Villa best player 2021 missed our list as they couldn’t stand the glory of their past.

All You Need to Know About Best Aston Villa XI of All Time

Players that have played at least two seasons were considered eligible for selection, and listing some players who can also appear in Aston Villa best Premier League XI, we see faces from their golden era in the 1970s or even further back. We recall the players who will live long in the memory of Villa supporters.

The system we take for picking up the best Aston Villa XI of all time is the same system that won the club enormous glories, 4-4-2.

GK: Nigel Spink

Starting our

best Aston Villa XI

of all time from the goal-post, there’s no better candidate than Nigel Spink for the position. The goalkeeper made 460 appearances for the club during his 17-year spell and not surprisingly holds the club record for most appearances made by a goalkeeper.

With just over five minutes on the clock in the 1982 European Cup final, first-choice goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer injured his shoulder and was forced off. Enter Nigel Spink, the 23-year-old goalie with just a solitary appearance to his name before that night. The Chelmsford-born custodian went on to play the game of his life with several fine saves to deny hot favorites Bayern Munich, keeping a clean sheet as Villa lifted the trophy.

Winning the club their only ever European Cup trophy will make Spink a perfect candidate to be among Aston Villa best players of all time. He went on to make 460 appearances for Villa before moving to neighboring club

West Bromwich Albion

in 1996, almost two decades after first joining Villa. Spink made 24 appearances in all for Albion and became the oldest goalkeeper to appear for the club when, at the age of 39 years and 19 days, he kept goal in a League Cup tie against Cambridge United on 27 August 1997,[2] a record since broken by Dean Kiely at 39 years, 189 days.

CB: Paul McGrath

The next name on our list of the best Aston Villa XI of all time is Paul McGrath who was born on 4 December 1959 in Greenford, England. He started football as a schoolboy with Pearse Rovers and played junior football for Dalkey United and soon was given the nickname of "The Black Pearl of Inchicore". Shortly after he attracted the attention of Manchester United and in 1982 he joined Man united and stayed with "Red Devils" for seven years.

In August 1989, he got an offer from Aston Villa and with The Lions played some of the best football of his career, despite recurrent problems in his knees. McGrath-who is widely considered to be one of the greatest Irish players of all time- until 1996 made 187 appearances, scored 8 goals with Aston Villa. He had the following victories:

McGrath's serious lack of pace, due to constant knee problems, was never an issue; the Irishman's ability to read the game made him one of the most feared defenders around, with many Villa fans regarding McGrath as the greatest player in the club's history.

"Paul McGrath, M'Lord" can be heard at stadiums up and down the country with the Villa faithful always in full voice to honor their former hero.

CB: Allan Evans

Regarded as one of Aston Villa best players of all time, Allan Evans was signed from Dunfermline in 1977 as a center-forward but was soon converted to center-defender where he enjoyed a long and successful career for Villa, making 475 appearances.

Playing an important role in Villa’s 1980-81 league-winning season, Evans contributed to a splendid defensive record that saw the side concede just 40 goals in 42 games.

The Scottish central defender was a long-time servant of the club. During his 12 years, he would experience the highest of highs with the club winning the top-flight title before then going on to become Champions of Europe.

Besides the glories, Evans also suffered relegation with Villa towards the end of the 80s, but like the trooper that he is, he stuck around to put it right and get Villa back up at the first time of asking, as captain no less.

He finished his playing career with short, uneventful spells at

Leicester City

, Victoria Vistas, and Darlington before retiring in 1991. Evans won four caps for Scotland, all in 1982, and was a member of their 1982 World Cup squad.

LB: Charlie Aitken

Undoubtedly among the

Aston Villa best players of all time

, Scottish defender turned out 660 times in claret and blue during his 17-year stint with the club, starting 657 of them which is a record that is almost certain never to be beaten.

He came to Villa to accompany his friend Wilson Briggs, also a left-back, to a trial. They were both taken on, but Briggs ended up playing just two games in his career. Aitken was a member of the 1975 League Cup-winning team, having been a runner-up in 1971.

Starting his Villa career in 1959 and ending it in 1976, Aitken played in three separate divisions, winning the Third Division championship in 1972 and promotion back to the top-flight in 1975, when he was named Midland Footballer of the Year.

While his European adventure was restricted to just two games, he was a member of the side who played in the club's first-ever UEFA Cup-tie against

Antwerp

in 1975.

He missed very few matches during his time in claret and blue and was ever-present on five occasions. He also captained the team several times.

His finest moments were the club's Wembley victory over Norwich City in the 1975 League Cup final, the Third Division championship in 1972, and promotion back to the top flight in 1975, when he was named Midland Footballer of the Year.

Having passed Billy Walker's Villa appearance record in December 1973, he remained at Villa Park for a further two-and-a-half years before joining New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League in the summer of 1976.

RB: Stan Lynn

Making 324 appearances for the club with 38 goals scored in a career that spanned between 1950 to 1962, Stan Lynn was a no-nonsense defender with a thunderbolt of a shot. He is one of football’s highest-scoring full-backs and once scored a hat-trick against Sunderland in January 1958. His 38 goals in claret and blue gave him an average of more than one every 10 games

He established himself in the Villa team in 1954 and was a regular fixture in the side until 1960. He helped Villa win their seventh FA Cup in 1957, the Second Division championship in 1960, and the 1961 League Cup. Playing against Sunderland in January 1958, Lynn became the first full-back to score a hat-trick in a top-flight match.

He remains, in fact, one of the highest-scoring full-backs in football history, having hit a total of 70 goals during a career which spanned more than 500 games.

Lynn was Villa's regular right-back, although injury problems meant that only once was he an ever-present - when Villa won the Second Division title in 1959-60. By then he had helped the club to FA Cup glory over

Manchester United

in 1957 final, and he was also in the line-up for the first leg of the 1961 League Cup final against Rotherham when Villa became the competition's first winners.

Ironically, he picked up another League Cup medal two years later, when Birmingham City beat Villa in 1963 final and ended his career at Stourbridge in 1968. He died in 2002 at the age of 73.

CM: Gordon Cowans

Being ranked #1 in official Villa's Fab 50 list, Gordon Cowans is among the top candidates for being Villa’s best player of history. The midfielder made more than 400 appearances in three successful spells for the club he first joined in 1976. His three spells were 1976-1985, 1988-1991, and 1993-1994, which makes him eligible to enter the

Aston Villa best Premier League XI

as well.

He was always destined to wear claret and blue, having been on schoolboy forms at Villa Park from the age of 12, which probably explains why he was always tempted back.

On leaving school, he graduated through Villa's youth and reserve teams before being handed his first taste of senior football in 1976, when he went on as a substitute against

Manchester City

at Maine Road.

By the end of the following season, he was a first-team regular as well as winning a League Cup medal following a dramatic victory over Everton in the second replay of a marathon 1977 final.

Between 1979 and 1983, he didn't miss a single match as he became an integral figure in the most successful period of the club's history, adding league championship, European Cup, and European Super Cup medals to his collection.

Cowans started his coaching career at Burnley before moving back to Villa Park for a fourth time to become youth team coach, then going on to become first-team coach during Gérard Houllier's reign. With the departure of Houllier, the Villa hierarchy let it be known that both Cowans and Kevin MacDonald would have futures at the club no matter who the new manager was. In April 2014 Aston Villa suspended Ian Culverhouse, their assistant manager, and Gary Karsa, the head of football operations pending an internal investigation. Cowans and veteran goalkeeper Shay Given were temporarily promoted in their place.

CM: Dennis Mortimer

The Liverpool-born midfielder enjoyed a successful career in the claret and blue strip as he spent ten years at Villa following his transfer from West Midlands neighbors Coventry. He will forever be remembered for captaining the side in the European Cup final win over

Bayern Munich

.

He was also skipper of the side who, 12 months earlier, had become Football League champions for the first time since 1910.

Those achievements alone make him one of the greatest players in Villa history, although he served the club for rather longer than two glorious seasons, having made more than 400 appearances during a decade in claret and blue.

He was the longest-serving member of that all-conquering team and was the undisputed driving force, making great demands on himself and his colleagues as well as producing powerful runs which struck fear into the hearts of opposition defenses.

Mortimer left Villa to join Brighton in 1985 and by the time he retired two years later he had amassed more than 700 appearances for his various clubs.

Mortimer played more than 400 games for Villa, scoring more than 40 goals. Undoubtedly, one of the greatest Aston Villa players of all time. Mortimer received an honorary doctorate from the University of Worcester in 2011 for "his outstanding contribution to football"

Following his retirement, he worked for The Professional Football Association as regional director of coaching in the Midlands area from 1996–2005. Mortimer joined the Birmingham City Football in the Community coaching scheme in 2006 -2007. Mortimer joined the Football Association education coaching department in 2008 where he worked until the end of 2015.

LM: Tony Morley

Continuing through the

best Aston Villa XI of all time

, we reach their unforgettable Champions League-winning midfielder, Tony Morley.

Joining Aston Villa for £200,000 in June 1979 from Burnley, the winger brought flamboyance, skill, and excitement to the Villa team of the 80s, a team built on hard work and endeavor.

Supporters rose to their feet in anticipation whenever the flying winger had the ball - and his pace and silky skills rarely disappointed them. Apart from his ability to create openings for colleagues, Morley also contributed a fair number of goals.

For sheer showmanship, Morley's twisting and turning before he crossed for Peter Withe to hit the European Cup winner is a moment that is still vivid for Villa supporters who either witnessed it at the time or have subsequently watched video footage of the memorable moment.

Morley was a key component in the team that won the 1980-81 league title and played as significant a role as Peter Withe in Villa's winning goal against Bayern Munich in the European Cup final. Morley's sensational dribble down the left wing was followed by a pinpoint cross that set up the goal and sealed victory for Villa.

Morley featured for Villa 180 times before joining rivals, West Brom. The winger scored 34 goals in a total of 180 appearances he made for Villa, and his spectacular effort against Everton during the 1980-81 campaign won goal of the season.

RM: Peter McParland

Certainly a hero for Aston Villa that failed to win a trophy in the preceding 37 years, James McParland McParland joined Villa from Irish club Dundalk in 1952 and accomplished many great things during his time at Villa, but the main reason he is widely considered as one of the all-time greats is because of his goals in the 1957 FA Cup final as his two second-half goals secured the cup over then-dominant Manchester United side.

However, McParland's contribution to the Villa cause extended far beyond his predatory instincts on that glorious May afternoon, he scored a total of seven FA Cup goals that season and his winners' medal certainly wasn't the only medal the winger collected during a decade in claret and blue.

He also helped Villa to the Second Division title in 1959-60 - and scored the extra-time winner which secured a 3-2 aggregate victory over

Rotherham United

in the inaugural League Cup final in 1961.

The North-Irishman made 293 League appearances for Aston Villa and scored 98 goals. He also made 34 appearances for his country, Northern Ireland. McParland joined local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers for a brief spell in 1962. Although he was only there for one season, he did manage to score 10 goals in 21 games. The following season McParland moved on to Plymouth Argyle and ended his career as player-manager of Glentoran.

ST: Billy Walker

As a pre-Second World War player, Walker spent 19 years with the club. With 244 goals to his name, the striker still remains Villa's all-time leading goalscorer despite almost half a decade passing since his death in 1964. The forward captained both Villa and England in the 1920s

With 12 League and FA Cup hat-tricks to his name, Billy Walker is a man that will never be forgotten by his adoring fans. He also became the first player to convert three penalties in a game.

He also led 

Sheffield Wednesday

 to the FA Cup in 1935, and managed Nottingham Forest from 1939 to 1960, bringing promotion to the First Division in 1956-57 and an FA Cup final triumph two years later. He was also the first Englishman to score at Wembley, when he scored against Scotland on April 12, 1924, in addition to being the only manager to win the trophy both before and after the Second World War. He died in November 1964, four years after retiring as Nottingham Forest manager

In March 2003, nearly 40 years after his death, he was named by BBC Sport as the former player Aston Villa needed in their modern-day team, who were struggling for goals that season and narrowly avoided relegation from the FA Premier League, and would be still welcome in Steven Gerrard’s side as he would be

Aston Villa best player 2021

.

ST: Harry Hampton

The final entry in our list of

best Aston Villa XI of all time

is a World War veteran that brought glories to Villa at beginning of the 20th century.

Hampton began his playing career with the Lilleshall Iron Works team then joined Wellington Town, before transferring to Aston Villa on a professional contract for £120 in April 1904.

The talented forward soon caught the attention of scouts from Aston Villa and signed professional terms with the Birmingham outfit in 1904, reportedly for a fee of £120.

Hampton made an immediate impact at Villa and scored 22 goals during an impressive first season at the club. He then went on to score both goals in Villa’s 1905 FA Cup Final triumph over Newcastle United and later helped them to the 1909/10 First Division title.

 

Hampton continued his prolific form throughout his Villa career and eventually struck 215 times in 341 games. In 1911/12, he finished as the joint top scorer in the country. Despite this impressive goal-scoring record, Hampton was only ever capped four times by England but did manage to score two goals in games against both Wales and Scotland. His career stalled as the first World War began.

Hampton served on the Somme during the First World War and suffered from the effects of mustard gas poisoning, which deprived him of becoming the same player he was before the war.

He moved to Birmingham City in 1920, where his 16 goals made him their top scorer for the 1920-21 season and helped the club to the Second Division title.

Following his retirement from playing, Hampton was a coach at Preston North End and former club, Birmingham. He died in 1963 at the age of 77.

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