Friday, September 23, 2016

Aston Villa Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   This entry of his was written in October 21, 2020, but mine was uploaded in a few weeks before his 2020.   Another entry of his was written in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

European Cup 1982
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Manchester UnitedLiverpoolArsenalIpswich
ChelseaTottenhamManchester CityEverton,
Aston VillaNewcastle UnitedNottingham Forest
Leeds UnitedLeicester CityWest Ham
West Midlands

Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham. The four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villa are one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in the history of English football. Villa won the 1981–82 European Cup, and are thus one of five English clubs to win what is now the UEFA Champions League. They have the fifth highest total of major honours won by an English club,  having won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the European Cup and UEFA Super Cup double in 1982.

Villa have a fierce local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the teams has been played since 1879. The club's traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and sky blue socks. Their traditional club badge is of a rampant lion
1995-1996 League Cup
GK: Nigel Spink (England)
Nigel Spink joined Aston Villa in 1977.  He played once for Aston Villa for almost 5 years before he played in the 1982 European Cup Final after starter Jimmy Rimmer was injured.  He went on to make 460 appearances for Villa before moving to neighbouring club West Bromwich Albion in 1996.  He later played for Millwall and Forest Green Rovers.  In 1983, he played his only time with England, but only for 45 minutes.

GK: Jimmy Rimmer (England)
Jimmy Rimmer is considered to be the greatest Aston Villa goalkeeper. He won two European Cup medals: 1968 with Manchester United and 1982 with Aston Villa.  He was Alex Stepney's understudy in the 1968 Final.  In the 1982 Final, he only played 9 minutes before getting an injury. He played 3 seasons with Arsenal, where he was their player of the year in 1975. He was capped once in 1976.

GK: Mark Bosnich (Australia)
Bosnich was voted as Oceania Goalkeeper of the Century.  He was known for his career with Aston Villa.   He earned himself a transfer back to Manchester United in 1999, but his career started to fall apart over there.  He also played for Chelsea. He also played in Australia for  Sydney United, Central Coast Mariners and Sydney Olympic. For the national team, he only earned 17 caps due to club's commitment.

RB: Stan Lynn (England)
Nicknamed "Stan the Wham", Stan Lynn was renowned for his powerful right-footed shots which came from his "Booming Boots".  He started with Accrington Stanley.  He was all-time great with Aston Villa. Playing against Sunderland in January 1958, Lynn became the first full-back to score a hat-trick in a top-flight match. He moved to Aston Villa's arch-rivals Birmingham City in 1961.

RB: Howard Spencer (England)
Spencer is considered one of the greatest Aston Villa captains of all time. He played for them between 1892 to 1907. He helped the side to four First Division championships and three FA Cup victories, as well as becoming the first Aston Villa player to captain England.  He was 
known for his good sportsmanship which earnt him the nickname the "Prince of Fullbacks".

CB: Martin Laursen (Denmark)
Martin Laursen played three seasons for Italian club AC Milan, with whom he won the 2003 UEFA Champions League and the 2004 Serie A championship. He also played for Italian clubs Hellas Verona and Parma FC, and Aston Villa. Capped 53 times from 2000 to 2008, and he was named 2008 Danish Football Player of the Year. He represented Denmark at the 2000 European Championship, 2002 World Cup, and 2004 European Championship tournaments.
Martin Laursen 
CB: Olof Mellberg (Sweden)
Olof Mellberg is best known for playing 7 seasons at Aston Villa as well as spells with Italian side Juventus and Greek side Olympiacos.  He was a former captain with the Swedish national team, earning 117 caps.  He played in both 2002 and 2006 World Cup Finals as well as the Euro 2000, Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He won the Guldbollen as Sweden's Football of the Year in 2003.  He had a feud with Fredrik Ljungberg while both played for Sweden.

CB: Allan Evans (Scotland)
Allan Evans played for Dunfermline Athletic (1973–77), Aston Villa (1977–89), Leicester City (1989–90) and Darlington (1990–91).  He won the league title in 1980/1 and was part of Villa's 1982 European Cup winning team. Evans was later club captain and helped Villa win promotion back to the First Division in 1988. Evans won four caps for Scotland, all in 1982, and was a member of their 1982 World Cup squad.

CB/DM: Paul McGrath (Ireland)
Paul McGrath is one of Ireland's greatest players.  He played 83 times for Ireland. He appeared at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals, as well as the Euro 1988.  He played for St Patrick's Athletic and then, joined Manchester United in 1982.  He had a run-in with Sir Alex Ferguson who was the new manager at Manchester United and moved to Aston Villa in 1989 where he won the PFA Player of the Year in 1993. He later played for Derby County and Sheffield United.
Paul McGrath

LB/CB: Steve Staunton (Ireland)
Steve Staunton was capped 102 times for Ireland.  He was the first footballer to have reached a century of caps for them. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994.  He captained Ireland at the WC Finals in 2002 after the depature of Roy Keane. For his club career, he started his career with Dundalk.  He played mainly for Aston Villa  and Liverpool with two spells each.  He also played for Coventry and Walsall.

LB:  Charlie Aitken (Scotland)
Charlie Aitken is the all-time record appearance holder at English club Aston Villa. He played for Villa from August 1959 until May 1976, a period of 17 seasons. Aitken was a member of the 1975 League Cup winning team, having been a runner-up in 1971. He spent the last two seasons of his professional career in the NASL with the New York Cosmos.

DM: Gareth Barry (England)
Gareth Barry has made 597 appearances in the Premier League, including 365 for Aston Villa, putting him third on the all-time appearances list, and top among current players. In 2009, he joined Manchester City, where he won the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title the following season. After a season on loan, he joined Everton on a three-year contract in July 2014. He played 53 times for England.  He was a member of Euro 2000 team, and then, the 2010 World Cup team.
Gareth Barry
CM: Dennis Mortimer (England)
Dennis Mortimer captained Villa to the 1982 European Cup Final. A 1–0 victory against Bayern Munich in the De Kuip Stadium was courtesy of a Peter Withe goal. From 1975 to 1985 he made 403 appearances for Villa scoring 36 goals. He also played for  Coventry City, Sheffield United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Birmingham City.Mortimer was capped by England at Youth and under-23 level and captained the England B but was never capped for the full England team.

AM/CM: Gordon Cowans (England)
Cowans started his career at Aston Villa as an apprentice in 1974, and signed as a professional in 1976. During his time at Aston Villa, he won the League Cup, the League Championship, the European Cup and the European Super Cup.  He also played for Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Bradford City, Stockport County, Burnley and Bari in Italy.  Capped 10 times.

CM: David Platt (England)
Platt began his career as an apprentice at Manchester United but later moved to Crewe Alexandra where he began building a reputation as a goal scoring midfield player. In 1988, he signed for Aston Villa and made his debut for England a year later. At the 1990 World Cup, his performances in Italy earned him a move to Bari in 1991. In 1992, Platt moved to Juventus, where he spent one season. In 1993, he moved to Sampdoria where he stayed for two seasons before returning to England with Arsenal.  Capped 75 times.
David Platt
AM/CM: Jack Grealish (England)
Jack Grealish joined Aston Villa at the age of six, and made his debut for the club in 2014, following a loan at Notts County. He was capped by the Republic of Ireland up to under-21 level before switching to play for England in April 2016.  He made his debut for England in 2020 and played in the Euro 2020. He is considered to be the future of English football.

LW Tony Morley (England)
Morley played for Preston North End, Burnley, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City, as well as playing for other teams in Hong Kong and the USA. His goal against Everton at Goodison Park won him the 'Goal of the Season' award for 1980–81. He was a vital part of the Villa side that won the League Championship in 1980–81 and the European Cup the year after. His brilliant dribble and cross set up Peter Withe for the winning goal against Bayern Munich in the final. Capped 6 times for England.
Tony Morley
FW: Archie Hunter (Scotland)
Hunter was one of Victorian football's first household names. He was first captain of Aston Villa to lift the FA Cup, in 1887. Despite being one of the greats of the 19th century game, Hunter never fulfilled his dream of playing for Scotland against England. This is because at the time the Scottish Football Association had a policy of not picking 'Anglo-Scots' (i.e. Scots who played in the English League).

FW: Pongo Waring (England)
Tom "Pongo" Waring is one of Aston Villa's all-time great centre forwards. He signed for Tranmere Rovers in 1926, scored 6 of the 11 goals scored against Durham City. He moved to Aston Villa for £4,700 in 1928. As well as playing football, Waring also worked for The Hercules Motor and Cycle Company in Aston.  He was capped 5 times for England.

ST: Peter McParland (Northern Ireland)
Peter McParland scored two goals against Manchester United at the FA Cup Final of 1957.  He was also remembered for injuring Manchester United keeper Ray Wood in a legal move during the game. He also won the Second Division title in 1960 and the League Cup in 1961 while with Aston Villa. Represented Northern Ireland 34 times and starred for them in the 1958 World Cup in which he scored five goals and helped his team to the quarter-finals. 
Peter McParland
FW: Johnny Dixon (England)
Johnny Dixon played for Spennymoor United before he signed as a professional for Aston Villa shortly after the Second World War.  He played for them from 1945 to 1961.  He also scored 144 goals, including five during the 1957 Cup run.  The 1957 FA Cup was Aston Villa's first FA Cup victory at Wembley.  He was considered an important player for Aston Villa.

ST: Andy Gray (Scotland)
Andy Gray joined Aston Villa in 1975. His 29 goals in the 1977-78 season earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year and PFA Players' Player of the Year awards.  At the time he was the youngest player to earn the Players' Player of the Year award.  Later, he had successful careers with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton.  With Everton, he was a part of their great team of the 1980's, winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. He won 20 caps for Scotland. Despite winning the Player of the Year award, he was not selected for the WC Finals in 1978.
Andy Gray
ST: Peter Withe (England)
Peter Withe was a much-travelled English footballer who played as a striker between 1971 and 1990.  The highlights of his career came at Aston Villa, where he was a key player in the Football League title triumph of 1980–81 and scored his side's only goal in their 1982 European Cup Final victory.  Capped by England 11 times, Withe scored once, and was the first Aston Villa player to be selected in an England World Cup Finals squad (in España 82).

ST: Brian Little (England)
Brian Little played his entire career with Aston Villa from 1971 to 1980.  He made his debut in the Third Division.  He was part of Villa's League Cup winning teams of 1975 and 1977, scoring two goals in the second replay victory over Everton in the latter final, as well as helping the club climb from the Third to First Division in the early part of the decade.  He played once for England.

ST: Billy Walker (England)
Billy Walker is considered by many to be the greatest footballer to ever play for Aston Villa Football Club. He made 531 appearances for Villa between 1914 and 1934, scoring 244 goals, of which 214 came in 478 league matches.  He remains Aston Villa's all-time top goalscorer to this day. He was an FA Cup Winner with Villa in 1920. Walker is the only-player to have scored a hat-trick of penalty kicks in a Football  League game, doing so against Bradford City in November 1921.
Billy Walker

Honorable Mention
Nigel Sims (England), Brad Friedel (USA), Sam Hardy (England), Shay Given (Ireland), Gareth Southgate (England), Kenny Swain (England), Richard Dunne (Ireland), Richard Dunne (Ireland), Ian Taylor (England), Gerry Hitchens (England), Ken McNaught (Scotland) and Chris Nicholl (Northern Ireland), Gareth Southgate (England), Ken McNaught (Scotland) and Chris Nicholl (Northern Ireland) , Stiliyan Petrov (Bulgaria), Gabriel Agbonlahor (England), Juan Pablo Angel (Colombia), Brian Little (England), Clem Stephenson (England), Jack Devey (England), John Gidman (England), Trevor Ford (Wales), Darius Vassell (England), Clem Stephenson (England), Kent Neilson (Denmark), Dwight Yorke (T&T), Jack Grealish (England).

Squad Explanation
-- In August 2021, I did a review of the team.  I could not believe that some of the selections I have made in 2016.  So I completely redid the team.
-- Aston Villa's greatest achievement is their victory at the 1982 European Cup.  Peter Withe, Jimmy Rimmer, Tony Morley, Dennis Mortimer played in the Final.  Of course, they also won the league title the season before.
-- Aston Villa was dominating football in the 1890's.  They won five League titles and three FA Cups by the end of Queen Victoria's reign in 1901.  Howard Spencer and Archie Hunter came from that era.
Aston Villa 1890's
-- Mark Bosnich has a remarkable career with Aston Villa.  His career after Villa Park faded quickly.  He won the 1995-1996 League Cup.  At the time of writing, it was Aston Villa's only major trophy since 1982. Paul McGrath also played on that team.
-- Jack Rimmer helped Aston Villa to reach the 1982 European Cup Final, but he was injured during the game in which Nigel Spink stepped in.  Spink helped Aston Villa to win the European Cup. He  spent 17 years with the club and holds the club record for most appearances (460) made by a goalkeeper.
-- Sam Hardy was the best goalkeeper in England during the 1910's.  He won two FA Cup with Aston Villa.  Peter Schmeichel only played one season with Aston Villa. I never considered him.  Brad Friedel was mentioned frequently, but he only played three seasons here.  
-- Paul McGrath won the PFA Player of the Year in 1993 with Aston Villa.  His career with Manchester United was marked with off field issue.  His career took off while playing here.  He is probably Aston Villa's greatest player.  His honours in a Villa shirt included winning the League Cup in both 1993-94 and 1996-97.
-- The older fans considered Allan Evans as their greatest central defender and the younger fans usually listed Olof Mellberg or Martin Laursen.  Evans started as a striker, but manager Ron Sauders turned him into a central defender. He stayed with the club when they relegated in 1987 and helped them back to the First Division.
-- Gareth Southgate was more famous than the defenders selected due to being a member of the English national team. Ken McNaught (Scotland) and Chris Nicholl (Northern Ireland) were also legends over here.  Home grown Gary Cahill was not given a chance here.
-- Olof Mellberg spent seven seasons here and was a fan favorite. He captained the team for many years. While Martin Laursen's career was great here, he had some injury problems, but many considered him one of the greatest in the Preimership era.
-- Birmingham Mail selected Stan Lynn and  Steve Staunton as their starting fullbacks.  Leftback Charlie Aitken holds the club's appearance record.  So the second leftback was easy to choose from.  On right side, I could not find information on Howard Spencer.  He was probably a rightback. In his time, he was the greatest fullback of the game.  RB John Gidman was actually as well-known as Stan Lynn, but I had no space for him. I did not know how to rank RB/CB Tommy Smart so I left off him off.  Kenny Swain was also considered.
-- In midfield, Paul McGrath, Dennis Mortimer and Gordon Cowans were three of the greatest Aston Villa players.  Gareth Barry made the most appearances in Premier League history.   He was also home grown.   I have to decide between David Platt, Stiliyan Petrov, James Milner and Ian Taylor for the last spot.
-- James Milner led Villa to their strongest season in the Premier League to date, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Petrov spent 6 seasons here and became club captain during his six seasons at Villa Park.  I took David Platt because he was voted PFA Players' Player of the Year for the 1989-1990 season.  His form led to the World Cup glory that summer.
-- Danny Blanchflower's career with Aston Villa often got overlooked. He did not fit into the team's playing style at the time.  However, I did not put him on honorable mention.  
-- The right wing was the weak link.  Ray Graydon was a club hero. His accomplishment however was mainly at the lower divsion, but he won two League Cups over here.   Tony Daley was inconsistent over here. An injury kept ST/RW Gary Shaw to fulfill his early promise.  James Milner played mainly as a midfielder over here.
-- At the time of writing, Jack Grealish has not hit his prime.  In this modern era, he is unlikely to stay with the club in his prime. He had been Aston Villa's first team for many years, but he also spent many years in the lower division.   However, he was probably their best home grown player since Gareth Barry. He was also the best player in the Preimership in the 2019-2020 season. Furthermore, the team needed a playmaker.  
Jack Grealish
-- Tony Morley kept Ashley Young and Eric Houghton off the team.  Morley was one of the most important player in the club's greatest period in the 1980's.  He was ignored by England during his prime.  I selected him because he was a hero of Aston Villa's European Cup in 1982.  See my blog. Peter McParland also could play as an outside left. Eric Houghton was a Hall of Flamer over here.  He formed a famous attack line with Billy Walker and Pongo Waring. 
-- For forwards, Pongo Waring, Peter Withe and Billy Walker were automatic selections.  Billy Walker was all-time leading scorer.  Then, I took Johnny Dixon, Archie Hunter and Andy Grey.  Dixon was listed among the greatest Aston Villa players.  Johnny Dixon was overlooked by my origin team.   He had a long service and large appearance total.  He was also their captain. The fans probably forgot about Archie Hunter.  He was probably Aston Villa's first football hero and probably the greatest footballer of his time. Andy Gray won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award while with the club.
-- Jack Devey captained Aston Villa during which time they won the League championship five times between 1894 and 1900 and the FA Cup twice. Including the famous 'Double' in the 1896–97 season, but I still have no room for him.  
-- Gabriel Agbonlahor might be Villa's all-time leading scorer in the Premier League, but he did not bring any trophy to the club.  The others were all decorated.  Brian Little was probably the biggest surprised omission.  I left Dwight York off the team because of his controversial departure from Aston Villa.  One article listed Harry Hampton as Aston villa's fifth's greatest player, but I already have 6 attackers.  Trevor Ford only spent three seasons with Aston Villa. While his scoring rate was high, I took players who had a longer tenure with the club.  
-- The last spot was difficult to chose.  The bigger names left in the pool were Eric Houghton, John Gidman, Ken McNaught, Chris Nicholl, Stiliyan Petrov, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Dwight Yorke, Brian Little, Harry Hampton, Gerry Hitchens and Jack Devey. Ideally, I should take a right winger, but both Tony Daly and Ray Graydon had less merits than the others.  In the end, I took Brian Little whom I believed to be the best player left on the pool.  Hampton just missed out.

The right side is the problem.  I am testing David Platt on the right.  Jack Grealish had played on the right side before even through it was not his best position.


  1. Hello Lincoln I love your blog, I would like to team up with you and create a simulation league of all time Champions League winning teams from all six continents. If you are interested in how the project would work contact me on my e-mail.

  2. Rimmer
    Swain Evans McGrath Alan-Wright
    Young Milner Platt Morley
    Devey Hampton

    Wright was the PFA leftback of 95-96.
    Hampton scored 242 goals in 373 matches. He was the king of the FA Cup.
    Just like Lincoln, I valued the European Cup win.