Friday, 17 May 2024

9 Best Aston Villa Players of All Time

Aston Villa FC

Birmingham is known for the Peaky Blinders and Aston Villa FC, and today we’re going to take a look back at the history of Aston Villa, one of the founding members of the Football League.

With a rich history comes a long list of players who have worn the famous claret and blue jersey of Aston Villa. Some of these players have become club legends.

Current Villa manager Steven Gerrard, a man accustomed to winning, is hoping that the current group of players can bring Aston Villa back to the top of English soccer.

9. Johnny Dixon

Johnny Dixon

  • Position: Second Striker

Playing your entire professional career for one club is quite an achievement. It shows loyalty, something that fans appreciate. Johnny Dixon is a perfect example of a one-club man, having played for Aston Villa for his entire 16-year career.

Playing in the classic Inside-Forward position, Dixon scored a respectable 132 goals in 392 league games and was a member of the 1957 Villa team that won the FA Cup.

Dixon’s loyalty and goal-scoring abilities make him a player that cannot be excluded from any list of Aston Villa greats.

8. Dwight Yorke

Dwight Yorke

  • Position: Centre-Forward

Dwight Yorke, arguably the greatest soccer player Trinidad and Tobago have ever produced, owes his career to Aston Villa.

During a pre-season tour in Trinidad, legendary manager Graham Taylor spotted the young Yorke. Impressed by his skills, Yorke was promptly signed for Aston Villa.

Yorke played for Aston Villa for eight seasons, establishing himself as one of the best strikers in the Premier League. In 238 league appearances, he scored 77 goals.

Yorke helped Villa win the 1996 League Cup, and his exuberant style of play made him a fan favorite. Despite a controversial transfer to Manchester United, Yorke’s time at Villa Park left a lasting impact.

7. Gabriel Agbonlahor

Gabriel Agbonlahor

  • Position: Centre-Forward

Birmingham-born Gabby Agbonlahor spent 13 years at his boyhood club, becoming one of Aston Villa’s longest-serving players. He played 391 times for the club, becoming the leading Premier League goalscorer in the club’s history.

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Agbonlahor was a versatile player, capable of playing as a right-winger or center-forward. He possessed both pace and the ability to score goals, often arriving late in the penalty box.

Although Agbonlahor was sometimes blamed when the club struggled, his loyalty and consistent performances earned him several long-term contracts. Agbonlahor retired at the age of 32.

For his contributions to Aston Villa and his goalscoring feats in the Premier League, he deserves recognition as one of the greatest players in the club’s history.

6. Stiliyan Petrov

Stiliyan Petrov

  • Position: Central Midfield

Bulgarian legend Stiliyan Petrov joined Aston Villa in 2006, following his former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill. He eventually became the club captain.

Petrov had a successful career in Scotland, winning several league titles with Celtic. He quickly settled into the Aston Villa midfield, and by 2008, he was named the club captain.

Respected by both players and fans, Petrov was a hard-working and determined leader. Unfortunately, his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012. Despite battling the disease, Petrov’s impact on Aston Villa cannot be understated.

As one of Aston Villa’s best captains, Petrov was a superb player and an example of hard work and leadership.

5. Gareth Barry

Gareth Barry

  • Position: Defensive Midfield

Gareth Barry, one of the most consistent and effective defensive midfielders of his generation, played 441 times for Aston Villa, many of them as the club captain.

Barry joined Aston Villa at the age of 17 and became an England international two years later. He went on to earn 53 caps for his country.

Known for his calm and composed style of play, Barry was the link between the Villa defense and attack. He possessed excellent defensive abilities and contributed 41 goals in the Premier League.

Barry’s loyalty and longevity make him one of the longest-serving players in Aston Villa’s history, with 680 appearances in the Premier League.

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4. Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath

  • Position: Centre-Back

Irish legend Paul McGrath was one of the strongest and fiercest defenders of the 1980s and 1990s. He was a hugely popular player at Aston Villa and Manchester United.

After struggling with injuries at Manchester United, McGrath was sold to Aston Villa in 1989. In his first season, he helped the club to a second-place finish in the league.

Widely regarded as one of the best Irish soccer players of all time, McGrath consistently performed at a high level. Despite his injury troubles, he made 478 league appearances in his career.

McGrath’s influence and defensive prowess make him one of the best defenders in Aston Villa’s history.

3. Peter Withe

Peter Withe

  • Position: Centre-Forward

Peter Withe is one of the few players on our list who can claim to have won trophies with Aston Villa. He won the First Division, FA Charity Shield, European Cup, and European Super Cup during his time at the club.

A strong and skilled center-forward, Withe was difficult to dispossess and lethal in the air. He scored 90 goals in 232 appearances for Aston Villa, including the winning goal in the 1982 European Cup Final.

Withe’s performances earned him a call-up to the England squad for the 1982 World Cup, and he ended up with 10 caps for his country. He will forever remain a club legend at Aston Villa.

2. Charlie Aitken

Charlie Aitken

  • Position: Left-Back

Charlie Aitken holds the all-time record for the most appearances in an Aston Villa jersey. Aitken, who initially attended trials to keep a friend company, went on to play 561 times in the league for the club.

Aitken’s stroke of luck led him to a Third Division title and a League Cup victory with Aston Villa. He also had the privilege of playing alongside Franz Beckenbauer and Pele in the NASL during his career.

Aitken’s incredible journey from attending trials to becoming an Aston Villa legend is a testament to his talent and dedication.

1. Gordon Cowans

Gordon Cowans

  • Position: Midfielder

Gordon Cowans, an exceptional player, rightfully claims the top spot on our list of the greatest Aston Villa players. Cowans spent a combined 12 seasons at Aston Villa, playing a pivotal role in the midfield.

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Cowans was part of the Aston Villa team that won the League, League Cup, European Cup, and European Super Cup. He was known for his excellent tackling, passing, and playmaking abilities.

In addition to his technical skills, Cowans scored 49 goals over his three spells at Aston Villa. He is widely regarded by fans as one of the best players in the club’s history.

Cowans had a career that spanned over two decades, playing for nine different clubs. His return to Aston Villa after a spell at Bari delighted fans and allowed him to play an additional 117 games for the club.

Gordon Cowans is the most outstanding player ever produced by Aston Villa.


Q: Who is the most capped Bulgarian soccer player of all time?
A: Stiliyan Petrov is the most capped Bulgarian soccer player ever.

Q: How many times did Gareth Barry play for England?
A: Gareth Barry earned 53 caps for England.

Q: How many goals did Johnny Dixon score for Aston Villa?
A: Johnny Dixon scored 132 goals in 392 league games for Aston Villa.

Q: Did Gordon Cowans win any international honors?
A: Gordon Cowans represented England and won several domestic and international trophies with Aston Villa.


Aston Villa has been blessed with some incredible players throughout its history. These nine players have left a lasting impact on the club and are regarded as some of the greatest to have ever worn the claret and blue jersey.

Their loyalty, skill, and dedication to the club have made them legends in the eyes of Aston Villa fans. Whether it’s Johnny Dixon’s goal-scoring prowess, Dwight Yorke’s exceptional performances, or Gordon Cowans’ all-around midfield excellence, each player has helped shape the club’s history.

As Aston Villa continues to compete at the highest level, fans eagerly await the emergence of new heroes who can follow in the footsteps of these legendary players.