AVILLAFAN XI (1990-Present) – LEFT BACK
Steve Staunton – 55%
Alan Wright – 25%
Wilfred Bouma – 20%
Other – 0%
D.O.B. – 19th January 1969
Nationality – Republic of Ireland
Aston Villa (1991-1998 and 2000-2003)
Appearances – 287 (Competitive)
Goals – 16
Steve Staunton signed for Aston Villa from Liverpool in August 1991 for £1.1 million.
The Irishman came with a good pedigree having won the F.A. Cup and then the following season he was part of the last Liverpool team to win a league title.
Staunton made his debut in the opening game of the season against Sheffield Wednesday and scored the winning goal late on as Villa went on to defeat the Owls 3–2 at Hillsborough.
Staunton became a firm fixture in the starting line-up under new manager Ron Atkinson and would form a part of a much improved Villa side that finished 17th in the previous season.
Staunton was joined by a host of new signings including the likes of Dalian Atkinson, Shaun Teale, Mark Bosnich, Ugo Ehiogu and Kevin Richardson all key players in the years to come.
The first season would see the side finish 7th.
The 1992-93 season was the first season of the newly established Premier League as football was restructured and paved the way for the media coverage and wall to wall football we are used to today.
It was an impressive campaign and Villa would rival Manchester United for the title until late into the season.
Staunton scored the first goal at Old Trafford in a game that many believe would have potentially led Villa to the title had they won the game which ended up a 1-1 draw.
The goal itself was an iconic goal in that it has been replayed many times and included in many of the greatest goals videos from over the years.
Bryan Small pounced upon a poor clearance and passed the ball across to Staunton who was positioned on the edge of the box to the left. He controlled the ball with the inside of his left foot before despatched a rocket of a shot past defender Paul Parker and the ball flew past goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.
The noise is one thing that stood out as it hit the support between the post and bar only adding to the goal.
The second-place finish ensured UEFA Cup football at Villa Park in the next season.
1993-1994 saw a 10th place finish but will be fondly remembered for the League Cup campaign as Villa gained revenge for missing out on the League in the previous year by defeating Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley. It would also complete Staunton’s set of domestic winners medals.
Staunton was one of several players that played in the Republic of Ireland squad that season too which has subsequently made Villa such a well-supported club in Ireland.
Alongside him were Paul McGrath, Andy Townsend and Ray Houghton who were firm favourites for both club and country and would be icons for their nation in the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.A.
1994–95 was a mixed season as manager Ron Atkinson would be replaced by Brian Little and Staunton played his part by captaining the side a number of times.
1995–96 was a tough season for Staunton personally as he suffered numerous injuries which cut down the number of games he was able to play consistently.
However, a second League Cup win in three years occurred as Villa would beat Leeds United 3-0. The main frustration was that this time he would be an unused substitute in this final as a result of previous injuries.
The next two seasons would be his last during his first spell at Aston Villa. He was a key member of the side that made it to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1996–97, narrowly missing out on away goals to Atletico Madrid. Villa would finish 5th this season and have failed to finish this high in the league since.
Staunton would leave to rejoin Liverpool before reversing the move again in 2000.
His return would be a relatively low point for Villa as they struggled in the league under former manager Graham Taylor.
He would go on to play for Coventry City before a brief spell at Walsall.
It should also be noted that he played over 100 times for the Republic of Ireland.