6. Ron Atkinson
Ron Atkinson is one of English football’s most recognisable and popular characters, having been involved in management for a quarter of a century.
He was born in Liverpool in 1939, moving to Warwickshire as a child, where his football ability was recognised by Aston Villa; a club he would later manage.
He almost managed Aston Villa to the league title. He won the Football League Cup and had a win percentage of more than 43 with Aston Villa, earning him a place among the greatest Aston Villa managers of all time.
5. W.J Smith
W. J. Smith was a secretary/committee member of Aston Villa F.C. from August 1926 to May 1934. During this time, this was the equivalent of the modern-day manager’s position.
Before 1934, the team was selected by a committee. Smith was the last person to be a Secretary. Jimmy McMullan was appointed as manager when he retired.
Smith managed 354 games and won 175 of them. Having joined Aston Villa as a 17-year-old in 1910, he remained at the club until his death in 1957. His association with Villa lasted 47 years.
4. Joe Mercer
Joe Mercer joined Aston Villa in 1958, who were bottom of the First Division. Although he led them to the FA Cup semi-finals, Villa relegated to Division Two.
He molded a talented young side at Villa and his team became known as the ‘Mercer Minors’. He led Villa to victory in the inaugural League Cup in 1961 but suffered a stroke in 1964, and was then sacked by the Aston Villa board upon his recovery.