Aston Villa: top 30 players - Number 1

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We conclude our list of the greatest players in Aston Villa's history with the man affectionately known as 'Sid'.

1. Gordon Cowans

Born: West Cornforth, County Durham, 27 October 1958

Aston Villa career: 1976-1985, 1988-1991, 1993-1994

Appearances: 527 Goals: 59

One of the most decorated players in Aston Villa’s modern history, you would be hard-pressed to find a supporter who had a single disparaging word to say about Cowans.

Popularly known by his middle name ‘Sid’, the County Durham-born midfielder signed schoolboy forms with the club at the age of 12 and went on to make his first-team debut five years later during the 1975-76 season while still an apprentice.

He became an established first-teamer over the second half of the following campaign, lifting the League Cup in the process, and went on to be named the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1980 before adding League Championship, European Cup and European Super Cup winner’s medals to his collection over the next three seasons.

Astonishingly, he did not miss a single match from 1979 until breaking his leg in a pre-season friendly ahead of the 1983-84 campaign, while he also made seven England appearances before being sold to Italian club Bari by Graham Turner in 1985 for £250,000.

That was certainly not the end of the middle man’s Villa story, however, as he was eventually brought back to B6 by Graham Taylor three years later and once again excelled, helping the club finish as Division One runners-up to Liverpool in 1990.

Later that year, Taylor was named England manager and promptly handed him his 10th and final England cap, before he was on the move again in 1991 when new Villa boss Ron Atkinson decided to sell him to Blackburn Rovers.

Nonetheless, the Holte End hero could still not stay away from his spiritual home for long. He later returned to Villa Park in the summer of 1993 on a free transfer for one final season before going on to stints with Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Bradford City, Stockport County and finally Burnley.

After hanging up his boots in 1997, he was soon offered a coaching role back at Bodymoor Heath and now manages Villa’s Under-21 side.

Renowned for his incredible passing ability and outstanding work rate, the club will certainly struggle to produce another player quite as special as Sid.

Aston Villa: top 30 players

Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24, Number 23, Number 22, Number 21, Number 20, Number 19, Number 18, Number 17, Number 16, Number 15, Number 14Number 13, Number 12, Number 11, Number 10, Number 9, Number 8, Number 7, Number 6, Number 5, Number 4, Number 3, Number 2

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