The top ten Aston Villa players of all time - do you agree?
It's always difficult choosing top ten lists, primarily because it's tough to narrow a list down to just ten and also because of the element of controversy that they cause.
We've put our heads together and here's what we've come up with. Do you agree? What would you change?
Renowned for his sublime passing, Gordon Cowans’ is among the most decorated players in Villa’s modern day history.
Cowans boast European Cup, First Division championship, League Cup and European Super Cup medals.
Arriving as a 12-year-old schoolboy he went on to score 59 goals and make 527 appearances for Villa in three spells.
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.
The 1993 PFA Footballer of the Year award and two League Cup winners medals were the tangible achievement of his seven-year spell.
However, McGrath’s impact on the football club was far, far greater than those accolades.
In ‘Aston Villa: The Complete Record’, by Rob Bishop and Frank Holt, McGrath is credited with “turning the business of defending into an art form”.
McGrath’s contribution was all the more impressive given his problems with dodgy knees and the demon drink.
Dennis Mortimer will forever be known as the captain during Aston Villa’s greatest hour.
Mortimer was the man who lifted the European Cup during that famous victory over Bayern Munich in Rotterdam on May 26, 1982.
The Liverpudlian 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.
To this day Johnny Dixon remains the last man to skipper Villa to FA Cup glory, albeit it way back in 1957.
Dixon, who passed away aged 85 in January 2009, is one of the most revered players in the club’s history.
he inside forward’s claret and blue career began when he wrote to Villa asking for a trial because he liked the name of the club.
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 also coached the club’s youngsters.
Peter McParland was the first player to score in both the FA Cup and League Cup finals.
The fact achieved the distinction for Villa and the fact his goals in both showpiece matches were winners has catapulted into claret and blue folklore.
McParland bagged a brace in the 1957 FA Cup final victory over Manchester United and grabbed the decisive goal in the extra time win over Rotherham in the inaugural League Cup final in 1961. In all he scored 121 goals in 341 appearances for Villa.
With a strikerate of three goals every four games, it’s no wonder Tom Waring has a place among the Villa greats.
Better known by his nickname ‘Pongo’, Waring’s scoring heroics lit up the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Strong in the air and deadly with both feet, Waring’s claret and blue goal tally eventually totalled 167 in 225 appearances, including a debut hat-trick – an impressive return for the £4,700 Villa paid Tranmere for his services in 1928.
Goalscorers have always commanded a place in Villa fans’ hearts and they don’t come any more prolific that Billy Walker.
With 244 goals to his name, Walker remains Villa’s record scorer, almost half a century after his death in 1964.
Walker, who captained Villa and England during the 1920s, scored 12 League and FA Cup hat-tricks, including becoming the first player to convert three penalties in a game.
If that wasn’t impressive enough he also deputised in goal for club and country.
Allan Evans is one of the most respected defenders in Villa’s history, which is remarkable given that he was originally signed as a striker.
Soon after arriving from Dunfermline, the centre forward was converted to centre-half and never looked back.
Known for his consistency, Evans was a strong tackler and fine header. He played an integral part in Villa’s 1981 First Division title triumph, as Villa conceded just 40 goals in 42 games. He also helped Villa return to the top flight in 1988 following their relegation the previous season.
Without Peter Withe’s goal, the halcyon years of the early 1980s would not have been possible.
Between joining Villa for a record £500,000 fee from Newcastle in 1980 and leaving for Sheffield United in 1985, Withe scored 92 goals in 233 appearances.
Tellingly, 20 of those goals helped Villa win the First Division in 1981 and three decades on he remains the last player to score that many league goals in a season. The following year he scored the most famous goal in Villa history – the shinned effort which clinched the 1982 European Cup.
In September 1992 Saunders became Villa's record signing in a £2.5mil deal that reunited him with forner Liverpool players Steve Staunton and Ray Houghton. He bagged six goals in his first four league games and developed a strong partnership with Dalian Atkinson