Aston Villa and West Brom are from the West Midlands and share a local rivalry. Their stadiums are located just four miles away from each other. The atmosphere is always electrifying whenever these clubs share the pitch. Many great players have played for each club, however, some crossed the divide and turned out for both. In this article, let us look at the ten best players who have played for both Aston Villa and West Brom.
The ranking is done on the combined number of matches played for both clubs. Here are the 12 best players who have played for both Aston Villa and West Brom.
12. Liam Ridgewell
Aston Villa – 93 apps
West Brom – 78 apps
Ridgewell played for three West Midlands clubs in his career, namely Villa, Birmingham and West Brom. He began as a youngster at West Ham before Villa came in. He played over 90 games for the club before joining Birmingham City. That move was then followed by a move to Albion where he spent two seasons and played 78 times as Albion became a solid Premier League side.
11. Andy Gray
Aston Villa – 168 apps
West Brom – 35 apps
Andy Gray was at Villa Park in two spells between 1975-79 and 1985-87, scoring more than 50 goals. The Scottish striker made his name in English football at Villa in the late 70s before moving on to play for Wolves. His second spell with Villa wasn’t as fruitful. He was Albion for a season in 1987, netting ten times in 35 appearances.
10. Tony Morley
Aston Villa – 153 apps
West Brom – 33 apps
Tony Morley came to Villa Park from Burnley and went on to enjoy the best days of his career. He was a skilful, nippy winger who played over 150 games for Villa from 1979-83. Morley proved to be a huge cog in the side that won the league title and the European Cup in successive seasons between 1980-82. His brilliant dribble and cross set up Peter Withe for the winning goal against Bayern Munich in the final.
Morley had two spells at Albion. He signed from Villa in 1983 and was loaned at one point to Blues. He returned in 1987 and left in 1989. However, he never reached the same height that he showed during his Villa days. He is among the best players who have played for both Aston Villa and West Brom.
9. Sam Johnstone
Aston Villa – 70 apps
West Brom – 167 apps
Sam Johnstone spent seven years at Manchester United without playing a single game for the club. During this time period, he was loaned out to various clubs including Aston Villa. He spent 18 months on loan at the club.
West Brom signed the goalkeeper in July, 2018, following their relegation from the Premier League. He became a regular for the club and made over 160 appearances over four years. He moved to Crystal Palace in the summer of 2022.
8. Jim Cumbes
Aston Villa – 183 apps
West Brom – 64 apps
Jim Cumbes was a first-class cricketer too in his sporting career. He played for West Brom Albion between 1969-71 and made over 60 league appearances. He was then sold to Aston Villa in 1971, where he became a fan favourite.
Cumbes played over 180 times and kept goal in the 1975 League Cup final win. During the 1970s, Cumbes cemented his popularity as Aston Villa’s goalkeeper by presenting a series of shows on BBC Local Radio in the West Midlands.
7. Ken McNaught
Aston Villa – 221 apps
West Brom – 42 apps
Ken McNaught was signed from Everton and went on to become a legend for Villa. It was at Villa where McNaught’s career reached sky high with silverware in the League, European Cup and European Super Cup in which he scored against Barcelona.
McNaught left the club in 1983 to join West Brom in 1983. He became a first-team regular at the Throstles for a season, playing 42 times and scoring once.
6. Davy Walsh
Aston Villa – 113 apps
West Brom – 165 apps
Davy Walsh joined West Brom in 1946 from Irish club Linfield. He made a terrific start to his English League career by scoring in each of his first six games. Walsh continued to score regularly for WBA and was a key figure when they gained promotion in 1949.
He went on to score 100 goals for WBA before moving to Aston Villa for a fee of £25,000 in December 1950. He played 113 matches for Villa and scored 40 goals for them in five seasons.