Aston Villa is one of the most followed clubs in England. The club was founded in 1874 and has seen many great players plying their trade in its rich history. In this article, let us have a look at some of the greatest Aston Villa players ever.
Considering important factors like consistency, longevity, impact on the club, success, etc, here are the 10 greatest Aston Villa players ever.
=10. Billy Walker
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.
He captained Villa and England during the 1920s, scoring 12 League and FA Cup hat-tricks. He became the first player to convert three penalties in a game. If that wasn’t impressive enough he also deputized in goal for club and country.
=10. Peter McParland
Peter McParland was the first player to score in both the FA Cup and League Cup finals. The fact that his goals in both showpiece matches were winners has catapulted him into claret and blue folklore. Villa fans knew him as one of the best strikers and headers of the ball.
The North Irishman made 293 League appearances for Aston Villa and scored 98 goals. He will always be regarded as one of the greatest Aston Villa players ever.
9. Allan Evans
Allan Evans is regarded as one of Villa’s all-time greatest defenders. He was signed from Dunfermline in 1977 as a centre-forward but was soon converted to centre-half where he enjoyed a long and successful career for Villa, making 475 appearances.
Evans played an important role in Villa’s 1980-81 league-winning season. He contributed to a splendid defensive record that saw the side concede just 40 goals in 42 games. Consistent at the back and a fine header of the ball, Evans claimed a number of trophies in his time at the club, including the European Cup.
8. Peter Withe
Peter is the man who got that famous winning goal against Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in 1982. He spent five years at Villa, scoring 92 goals in 233 appearances. 20 of those came in the title-winning season. One of the greatest Aston Villa players ever, Peter Withe will always be remembered by the Villa fans.
7. Johnny Dixon
Johnny Dixon spent his entire professional career as a footballer at Aston Villa after writing to the club asking for a trial simply because he liked their name.
Dixon went on to score 144 goals in 430 games and, on top of the 1957 Wembley triumph, he helped Villa back into the top flight by winning the Second Division title in 1959-60. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Aston Villa players ever.
6. Harry Hampton
Harry “Happy” Hampton played as a centre-forward for Aston Villa from 1904 to 1920. He scored 242 goals for the club in just 376 matches.
He scored both goals against Newcastle United in the 1905 FA Cup Final Hampton was a prolific goalscorer and once scored five goals when Aston Villa beat Sheffield Wednesday 10–0 in a First Division match in 1912.
Between 1913 and 1914 Hampton was capped by England four times, scoring two goals in games against Wales and Scotland.
5. Tom ‘Pongo’ Waring
Pongo Waring was just over six feet tall and had everything a top striker needs. Height, speed, amazing strength – he was almost impossible to knock off the ball – and intelligence.
With a strike rate of three goals every four games, Pongo will live long in Villa’s history. He was rated one of the most dangerous centre forward between the wars. The Villa Park crowd loved Pongo and he was certainly a colourful character.
In his 226 appearances for Villa, he scored 167 goals, including 10 hat-tricks. He holds a club record of 49 league goals in the 1930–31 season, and 50 goals in all competitions.
4. Charlie Aitken
Charlie Aitken is the record appearances maker for Aston Villa. He turned up for Aston Villa on 660 occasions. During the mammoth amount of appearances, Aitken played in three separate divisions, as well as the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup—and the Charity Shield, too.
Aitken’s finest moment in a Villa shirt was lifting the League Cup in 1975 as Villa beat Norwich at Wembley. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest Aston Villa players ever.
3. Dennis Mortimer
Dennis Mortimer will forever be known as the captain during Aston Villa’s greatest hour. He was the captain of the team when they won the European Cup Final against Bayern Munich by 1-0 in 1982.
The talented midfielder played a crucial part in Villa conquering the continent, having led the claret and blues to the First Division title the year before. Mortimer played more than 400 games for Villa, scoring more than 40 goals.
2. Paul McGrath
Regarded by many as the greatest player in Aston Villa’s history, Paul McGrath’s name is still the most chanted by the Villa Park faithful.
He won the 1993 PFA Footballer of the Year while playing for Aston Villa. During his seven years at Aston Villa, he also won two League Cups. Villa fans affectionately refer to him as ‘God’. He made 253 league appearances for his club and scored 9 goals to his name.
His achievements are all the more surprising seeing that he played with dodgy knees and had a drinking problem.
1. Gordon Cowans
Gordon Cowans is considered one of the greatest Aston Villa players ever. Renowned for his sublime passing, he is among the most decorated players in Villa’s modern-day history. Arriving as a 12-year-old schoolboy he went on to score 59 goals and make 527 appearances for Villa in three spells.
The talented player enjoyed quite a successful career at Aston Villa. He won the European Cup, the European Super Cup, the League Cup and the First Division championship for Villa fans.
He also represented England at the international level several times and scored 2 goals against Egypt and Scotland.