Aston Villa: top 30 players - Number 5

Aston Villa 2

We continue our countdown of the greatest players in Aston Villa's history with the man affectionately known as God by supporters.

5. Paul McGrath

Born: Ealing, 4 December 1959

Aston Villa career: 1989-1996

Appearances: 323 Goals: 9

Widely regarded as Aston Villa’s best player of the Premier League era, it is testament to McGrath’s legacy that his name is still sung by the claret and blue faithful 20 years after his departure.

The Irish centre-back was signed by Graham Taylor from Manchester United in the summer of 1989 for £425,000 after a succession of knee injuries and off-the-field problems saw his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson deteriorate, but those well-documented issues never seemed to affect his performances for Villa.

Despite the conditions of his knees, which later prevented him from training, the classy defender helped Taylor’s side finish as Division One runners-up in his debut season and continued to maintain an astonishing level of consistency over the following years.

By 1993, he had been voted the club's Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive campaign and was also named PFA Footballer of the Year as Villa secured another second-place finish in the inaugural Premier League season.

The following year, the Republic of Ireland international picked up his first piece of silverware with the club as they beat his former side United 3-1 in the League Cup final, before winning the trophy again 24 months later with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Leeds United.

That would prove to be one of his final games for Villa, however, as the man nicknamed “God” eventually left B6 in the summer of 1996 to join Derby County after seven years of fantastic service.

He subsequently went on to have a brief spell with Sheffield United before retiring at the age of 38 with 83 international caps to his name – 51 of them won with Villa.

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 14, Number 13, Number 12, Number 11, Number 10, Number 9, Number 8, Number 7, Number 6

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