Aston Villa: top 30 players - Number 23

We continue our countdown of the greatest players in Aston Villa's history with a goalkeeper who will forever be remembered for his heroics on that glorious night in Rotterdam.

23. Nigel Spink

Born: Chelmsford, 8 August 1958

Aston Villa career: 1977-1996

Appearances: 460

Spink played 460 times for Aston Villa during his 19 years at the club, but his most celebrated performance came on just his second appearance – before he was even first-choice goalkeeper.

Only nine minutes into the 1982 European Cup final against Bayern Munich, things looked bleak for Villa when manager Tony Barton was forced to turn to the inexperienced 23-year-old after Jimmy Rimmer suffered a repeat of a recurring shoulder problem.

Spink, however, became the hero of that historic night in Rotterdam, pulling off a string of superb saves to thwart the German giants as Peter Withe’s 67th-mintue strike proved enough to secure Barton’s men a shock win.

Midway through the following season, the former Chelmsford City stopper seized the No. 1 spot shortly before helping the club win the European Super Cup, and it was not until the arrival of Mark Bosnich in the early 1990s that signalled the beginning of the end for his claret and blue career.

His final appearance for Villa was actually as an outfield player, when he replaced the injured Ian Taylor in the final minute of a 1-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers in December 1995, before the experienced custodian joined neighbours West Bromwich Albion the following month on a free transfer.

After 18 months with the Baggies, he dropped down to Milwall in Division Two and spent three seasons at The Den until opting to retire just before turning 42 in the summer of 2000.

He briefly made a comeback during a two-year spell as player-manager at Forest Green Rovers and later worked under Steve Bruce as a goalkeeping coach at Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Sunderland, respectively.

As consistent as he was for Villa, though, the former Holte End hero only earned one England cap, replacing Peter Shilton as a half-time substitute in a 1-1 friendly draw with Australia in 1983.

Aston Villa: top 30 players

Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24

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