It takes a unique character for a man to play all his football at one club. With lucrative offers pouring left and right, these rare souls ride on a sweet blend of passion, loyalty and commitment to give their all to one club.
Aston Villa has always been a special club with its mix of greatness and blunders. For die-hard Aston Villa fans, there is no place like Villa Park. We look at the seven Aston Villa fanatics who spent their entire playing careers at the club they loved. These seven legends rightfully earn their place in the elite company of the One-Club Men of Aston Villa!
Including players who have at least spent ten seasons with the club, here are the five one-club men of Aston Villa.
7. Ernie “Mush” Callaghan [1930-1947] [142 appearances]
Ernie Callaghan signed for Aston Villa in 1930 and continued to serve his beloved club till 1947, when he finally hung his boots at the ripe age of 39.
They say legends are made of special stuff, and Ernie “Mush” Callaghan was no different. Besides playing for Villa for 17 years, Ernie also earns his claim to fame for refusing to give Hitler his “Nazi Salute” as part of the touring Aston Villa team in 1938.
Ernie also earned a British Empire Medal for bravely saving workers in his duties as a police constable during World War II. His place in the hallow portals of Villa Park heroes is irreplaceable.
6. Howard Spencer [1892-1907] [292 appearances]
Perhaps the greatest hero in Aston Villa lore, Howard Spencer, is hailed as the “Princes of Fullbacks”. Spencer symbolised what Aston Villa represents – well mannered, nicely dressed, solid fullback, ferocious in the game but always lending a hand to a fallen opponent.
But most of all, Spencer was known for his sportsmanship and commitment to fair play. His cabinet boasts of four First Division Championship trophies, two of which came in the successive seasons of 1898-99 and 1899-1900.
He also won three FA Cups with Villa, including an all-conquering Double in 1896-97. Howard Spencer remains the greatest captain and one of the most-loved players to ever play for Aston Villa.
5. Harry Parkes [1939-1954] [345 appearances]
Harry Parkes was the pied-piper at Villa Park. Popular among teammates and alike, Harry plied his trade in various positions – winger, right-half and centre-forward.
But he truly came into his own with Aston Villa as a fullback. A keen follower of the ball, with an uncanny eye to anticipate the forward’s next turns, and a brilliant tackle – Harry was the nemesis to many attackers.
Apart from 345 official apps, he also made 145 wartime appearances for Aston Villa. The highlight of his stay at Aston Villa came in 1944 when he won the League War Cup with them.
4. Billy George [1897-1911] [401 appearances]
Billy George is hailed as the greatest goalkeeper ever to keep the post in goal at Villa Park. His achievements back that claim – Billy was the first-choice goalkeeper when Aston Villa won the League in 1899 and 1900 and again in 1910.
He also kept the goal for the 1905 Cup winning Villa team. Famous for his all-around goalkeeping skills, Billy also had one of the longest clearing kicks in the game. Spending his entire career with Villa, he is one of the few one-club men of Aston Villa.