Aston Villa: Our Best XI?

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It’s been far too quiet on the Villa front just recently, with journalists seemingly clutching at straws when it comes to takeover rumours and new players. In addition, most of the footballing world is, understandably, glued to the World Cup so we just seem to be beating the same old rumours to death.

Given the lack of Villa news, I found the article by Steve Wollaston of ‘The Birmingham Mail’ below more interesting than I normally would have done, although it did get me thinking. Here’s the article:

“There have been some true Aston Villa greats to have pulled on the claret and blue shirts in recent years, but who are the best?

We have pulled together an elite team of former players who have pulled on the claret and blue jerseys since the Second World War.

We will be the first to admit that there are some top names missing from that list, try picking eleven though and see how you get on. It is tougher than you think!

What do you think?”

Here’s the team Steve picked: Nigel Spink; Stan Lynn; Allan Evans; Paul McGrath; Steven Staunton; Tony Morley; Dennis Mortimer; Gordon Cowans; Gareth Barry; Dwight Yorke; Gary Shaw.

I have been asked what my best Premier League XI, World Cup XI, best ever XI and best England XI would look like but never, maybe because a lot of my friends are not Villa fans, have I thought about who would make it into my best ever Aston Villa XI since World War II. Steve Wollaston’s article got me thinking about who would be in mine. Being only twenty-four, unfortunately, I haven’t seen some of the Villa all-time greats but I have read about them and have been told endless stories about the ‘greats’ by my father and grandfather.

A lot of you may not agree with this selection but it’s all just a bit of fun.

Here’s the team I have chosen: Nigel Spink; Stan Lynn; Martin Laursen; Paul McGrath; Charlie Aitken; Tony Morley; Dennis Mortimer; Ian Taylor; Gary Shaw; Dwight Yorke; Peter Withe.

I haven’t seen half of those players in action so I look forward to seeing who other Villa fans pick in their Aston Villa best XI teams. Please feel free to share your chosen side in the comments section below.

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10 commentsOn Aston Villa: Our Best XI?

  • Desperate Villan

    Delaney Laursen McGrath Staunton
    Townsend Barry
    Merson Young
    Yorke Benteke

  • I have been following Villa since 1975. Your pick will depend on how old you are, so I don’t remember Stan Lynn, Johnny Dixon, Peter Mc Parland, Billy Walker, Pongo Waring, Harry Hampton for example nor Charlie Aitkin apart from his last couple of games. My team is still pretty similar to the journalists pick although regrettably I have no room for Dwight Yorke. I also feel sorry about leaving out Gareth Southgate, Ugo Ehigou, Des Bremner, Kenny Swain, Tony Daly, Alex Cropley, Chris Nicholl, Colin Gibson, Alan Wright, Gabby Agbonlahor, Ashley Young and Paul Merson. My team with subs could win the champions league.

    Nigel Spink
    John Gidman
    Paul Mc Grath
    Alan Evans
    Steve Staunton
    Dennis Mortimer
    Gordon Cowans
    David Platt
    Andy Gray
    Gary Shaw
    Tony Morley


    Jimmy Rimmer
    Olaf Melberg
    Martin Laursen
    Ian Taylor
    Gareth Barry
    Brian Little
    Peter Withe

  • 5-3-2

    Gk Spink
    Rb Southgate
    Cb Sghogu
    Cb God
    Cb Laursen
    Lb Wright
    Cm Barry
    Cm Taylor
    Cm Cowens
    St Yorke
    St Carew

    I know Southgate isn’t a right back but had to get him in and I know Carew is an acquired taste but Yorke would live on the knock downs. UTV.

  • Why does everyone think Ian Taylor was so good? Ok, so he is a passionate Villa fan but he should be nowhere near the best XI.

    I’d go for: Bosnich, Gidman, McGrath, Evans, Staunton, Cowans, Platt, Mortimer, Saunders, Withe, Shaw.

  • Jeremy Mobberley

    Jimmy Rimmer

    Back Four
    John Gidman
    Paul McGrath
    Allan Evans
    Charlie Aitken

    Dennis Mortimer
    David Platt
    Gordan Cowans
    Peter McParland

    Andy Gray
    Brian Little

    Nigel Spink
    Stan Lynn
    Olaf Mellburg
    Bruce Rioch
    Ian Taylor
    Gary Shaw
    Gerry Hitchens

  • Ive been watching Villa since 1962 so the majority of you may not have seen most of my choices.

    Jimmy Rimmer
    John Gidman
    Charlie Aitken
    Paul McGrath
    Martin Laursen
    Gareth Barry
    Gordon Cowans
    David Platt
    Brian Little
    Andy Gray
    Paul Merson

  • Well, an interesting theme I have often thought about. I go back to the 50s. Stan Lynn was a cult figure like Aitken, MacParland and Dougan but the only player pre-Saunders (1976) worth considering is Gerry Hitchens.

    The theme is to select a team, not the eleven best players or our eleven favourite players. They have got to have balance and play together. Yorke and Shaw each need a big man, you can’t play them together and you can’t accommodate both of them as two number 10s with a big man. If you play 4-3-3 then either you play ‘Goals Galore’ or Grey and Little with a winger (probably Morley although they always played with a right side one so maybe Ashley Young). But if you play 4-3-3 with either Withe and Shaw or Little and Grey there is no room for David Platt in a balanced side because you need a winger.

    Paul McGrath is in everyone’s list and would be my first consideration as centre back along with Laursen but remember with Villa towards the end of his career he was one of a back three in a system with two wingbacks. He lacked pace. As one of two centre backs the defence would be exposed.

    Steve Staunton is a stand out choice at LB but the number of different names mentioned shows there is no obvious candidate for RB. Johnny Gidman has credentials but then you need a right side midfielder who runs like Frankie Carrodus and understands the meaning of “cover me”. We didn’t see enough of him but perhaps John Robson is the man.

    Then the midfield – depends upon the system and who is in the back four and front three. Everyone mentions Cowans and Mortimer but interestingly Ron Saunders always rated Des Bremner as the most important of the three.

    Nigel Spink was a favourite but Jimmy Rimmer the better keeper.

    Robson, Laursen and Evans, Staunton,
    Cowans Bremner and Mortimer,
    Young, Little and Grey

    And… who would be manager?

  • Rimmer

  • Surprised only one list had Peter McParland on, definitely one of the greatest players Villa has ever had.

    I absolutely loved Peter Withe as he always gave 100% but Gerry Hitchens was the most talented centre forward we’ve ever had.

    Wish we had players like that now…sigh

  • Bosnich, Mellberg, Mcgrath, Laursen, Aitken, Mortimer,Broadbent, Cowans, Grayden, Hitchens, Mcparland.

    Subs, Robson, Andy Gray, Dugdale, Nigel Simms, Morley.

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