We continue our countdown of the greatest players in Aston Villa's history with a Scottish centre-half who scored over 60 goals during his 12 years at the club.
20. Allan Evans
Born: West Calder, 12 October 1956
Aston Villa career: 1977-1989
Appearances: 475 Goals: 62
While Evans stood firm in the heart of Aston Villa’s defence for over a decade, he actually arrived at the club as a striker.
A product of Dunfermline Athletic, the Scot turned heads with his exploits in front of goal at East End Park before joining Villa in May 1977 as cover for compatriot Andy Gray.
After his move to the Midlands, he played his first three games for the club up front – scoring in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United – but it was not long before manager Ron Saunders opted to move him back into defence.
It proved to be an inspired decision, as Evans and fellow Scot Ken McNaught soon struck up a centre-back partnership which would form the foundation of arguably the greatest side in the club’s illustrious history.
With the pair holding things down at the back, Villa conceded just 40 goals in 42 games during their League Championship-winning campaign of 1980-81, before going on to lift the European Cup and European Super Cup over the next two seasons.
After McNaught left for West Bromwich Albion in 1983, Evans continued to perform consistently through the mid-1980s and chipped in with an impressive amount of goals in the process, netting a total of 62 times during his 12 years with the claret and blues.
As well as being made club captain in 1984, his impressive form earned him four Scotland caps and a trip to the 1982 World Cup, and it was not until the latter stages of the team’s relegation campaign of 1986-87 that he lost his place in the starting XI.
Even then, though, he eventually worked his way back into the side to help Graham Taylor’s men return to the top-flight at the first time of asking and kept his place for most of the following season, making 27 league appearances.
However, by that stage the onset of Crohn’s Disease was beginning to affect his fitness, and after being told that his contract would not be renewed, Evans’ time at Villa Park came to end when he joined Leicester City in August 1989 on a free transfer.
The veteran stopper later had a brief stint at Darlington under former Villa teammate Brian Little before retiring in 1991, but he returned to B6 four years later to serve as Little’s assistant manager and help the club win the 1996 League Cup title – their last major piece of silverware.
Aston Villa: top 30 players