Aston Villa - Who Were the Best and Brightest Players?

Aston Villa has had quite a remarkable history; only 6 years after being officially established, in 1894, the club became league champions. It went on to win several great awards over the next 20 years; notching up 5 championship titles and 5 FC Cups – an amazing feat. The club’s fortunes waned a little after World War I, but by 1936 Aston Villa was back on top.

This amazing history has given the club a strong tradition; it’s no stranger to the etiquette of wining league titles and other honours, just like a pro gambler is no stranger to casino etiquette, so it should be no surprise that Aston Villa has had the honour of being home to some of the best players in the world. Here’s a look at some of the best and brightest Villa players over the years.

Charlie Aitkin

Aitkin’s appearance record has never been beaten, yet. During his 17-year career, he played for the team 660 times, and in only three of those, he wasn’t in the starting line-up. He typically played as a left-back.

Peter Withe

In 1982, Withe scored the winning goal (albeit by what seemed to be either accident or luck) against Bayern Munich in the European Cup final. No Villa player has ever been able to match Withe’s record of league goals in one season.

Pongo Waring

Waring played for Villa before World War II, and he helped create the history of the club. With a strike record of three goals for every four games played, he will be remembered as one of the best. For him, there were no rules.

Paul McGrath

It’s not just the strikers that deserve fame. This defender was one of the greatest of his generation, and though constantly plagued with knee problems, McGrath was always where he was supposed to be, due to his canny ability to read the game so well.

Gabriel Agbonlahor

He’s the fan’s favourite, simply because he scored some spectacular goals. Hard to believe that one day he won’t be there.

Of course, there are many more – we’ve just named five of them. For example, there was also Olof Mellberg (the ‘Viking’ who had an obvious disliking of Birmingham City), as well as Gordon Cowens (a true legend, famous for his passing ability) who have earned their right to be included in the list of the best, so have Dennis Mortimer, Johnny Dixon, and Dwight Yorke – but if we mention them all, we’d have to write a book. Aston Villa has built its reputation on knowing how to play to win, and knowing how to pick the right players to achieve that.