Aston Villa: top 30 players - Number 27

Aston Villa 2

We continue our countdown of the top players in Aston Villa's history with a goalscoring winger who played in three divisions, two League Cup finals and two promotion-winning teams during his six-year spell at the club.

27. Ray Graydon

Born: Bristol, 21 July 1947

Aston Villa career: 1971-1977

Appearances: 231 Goals: 81

When Graydon was signed from his hometown Bristol Rovers in 1971, Villa were sitting in the Third Division following a period of deep turmoil. By the time he left for Coventry City six years later, they were back in the top-flight with two more League Cup titles to their name.

A speedy winger with a nose for goal, the former England youth international proved an integral part of Vic Crowe’s team that won promotion in his first year at the club, but his best period in claret and blue coincided with Ron Saunders’ debut campaign of 1974-75.

It was Villa’s centenary season and it not only ended with the club securing a place back in the top-flight but also League Cup success, with Graydon netting the only goal of the final against Norwich City.

The experienced wide man bagged a team-leading 27 goals that season and was again the club’s top scorer the following campaign, netting a further 14 times to help Saunders’ men avoid the drop.

His appearances were limited during his final year at Villa Park, but he was in the line-up when the team lifted the League Cup once again in 1977 by beating Everton 1-0 after extra-time in a dramatic second replay at Old Trafford.

Upon leaving for neighbours Coventry a few months later, the then 30-year-old had amassed over 230 total appearances for the Villans and recorded an impressive 81 goals.

He also holds the distinction of scoring the club's first goal in European competition in September 1975, albeit in a 4-1 UEFA Cup first-round defeat to Belgian side Royal Antwerp.

After retiring in 1981 following spells with Coventry, the NASL’s Washington Diplomats and Oxford United, Graydon became a highly respected coach and went on to manage Walsall and Bristol Rovers, leading the Saddlers to promotion to the second tier on two occasions.

Aston Villa: top 30 players

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