Top 5 Aston Villa Players of the Last Decade

Aston Villa BadgeAston Villa are riding high under the tutelage of Martin O’Neill, a good crop of young English player have established the club in the higher echelons of the Premier League, but the last ten years has seen a number of player come and go at Villa Park, but who are the top five from the previous decade. Let’s find out.

5. Paul Merson: 1998 – 2002, 117 apps

He may not have played for much of the decade, he also had his troubles off the park, but the impact Paul Merson had on Aston Villa cannot be understated. Signed in the summer of 1998 for £6.75 million, he quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite, helping them reach the F.A. Cup Final in 2000. The goal below does nothing but demonstrate his immense talent.

4. James Milner: 2005-2006 & 2008 – present, 88 apps

A more recent edition to the list, James Milner has had two spells at Villa. First joining in 2005 for a season long loan spell from Newcastle United, he was one of the few players to gain any credit during a disappointing season for Villa. Newcastle then refused to sell the winger come midfielder and it wasn’t until 2008that a permanent transfer was completed. His versatility and work rate have ensured Milner is a key component in this Aston Villa side.

3. Gareth Barry: 1997 – 2009, 365 apps

Forget the way he left the club; remember the years he was there. An excellent passer of the ball, Barry’s great strength was his versatility which allowed him to play as a holding midfielder, attacking midfielder, or defender. Former club captain and youth graduate, he spent more than a decade with Villa. He is also seventh in the all-time list of appearances for the club.

2. Olof Mellberg: 2001 – 2008, 232 apps

A giant of a man and an excellent defender with some stunning facial growth. The big Swede signed from Racing Santander in 2001 and instantly became the rock the heart of the Villa defence for many years. His parting gift on his last game for Aston Villa, away to West Ham, he gave every single Villa fan at Upton Park either a home or an away shirt with his name and number on the back emblazoned with the message ‘Thanks 4 Your Support’.

1. Martin Laursen: 2004 – 2009, 91 apps.

An injury plagued career ensued at Villa, the £3 million signing from AC Milan in 2004, would prove to be key in Aston Villa’s chase for success. Initially, a frustrated figure, Laursen would soon prove himself as the number one defender at the club, an excellent scorer of goals and taking over the club captaincy from Barry in 2008, he was a natural leader. He was also voted the Supporters’ Player of the Year in 2008. Retiring from the game in May 2009, he gave an emotional speech at Aston Villa’s final game of the season at home to Newcastle United.

Do you agree with Martin Laursen as number one? Would you have Gareth Barry in the list given his exit from the club and does Paul Merson deserve to be on the list at all? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

10 thoughts on “Top 5 Aston Villa Players of the Last Decade”

  1. Not a Villa fan but on the basis of the last decade though, it must surely be Gareth Barry, the only reason Villa fans would probably overlook him is because of the circumstances in which he left.

    I do believe that Martin O’Neill misses Martin Laursen more than Barry though, in signing Richard Dunne he has attempted to replace him. He may well have plugged the hole at the back left by Laursen, but I don’t think he is ever going to replace the goals he scored.

    Wheres Ian Taylor?

    And by the way, how the hell has ex Villa manager David O’Leary managed to get a job summarizing on the Spanish football on Sky?

    You watch a beautiful performance from Barcelona and then have to listen to him analyse it.

    What are his credentials on Spanish football? I don’t recall him ever playing or managing there? Or managing anywhere (properly) for that matter.

  2. better question is… who would care? its not like Villa won anything. I’m West Ham and listing the team of the last decade would be pointless. why not the best Wigan 11 ever. or best knuckle draggers ever at Bolton. What would be a winner would be, most ethically challenged footballers in the last decade!

  3. Barry easily. I think these polls should never be conducted by a clubs supporters but their opposition fans. Barry if playing yesterday would have given some composure to a team that looked more similar to Hull than a team with a league cup final and aiming for 4th. I couldn’t pay to watch that every week, and MON now looks stupid because on that showing for once most Spurs fans agree with Wenger about Villa being a bit drab.

  4. patrick- Reo Coker and Harewood cost £12 million? Do some research, get a calculator and then come back with your head hanging in shame. And I care by the way, and so do the 40, 000 people who attend home matches. And so do ESPN who seem to have figured that Villa get the biggest viewing figures outside the so-called top four. If all you care about is winning then Lord knows why you are a West Ham fan in the first place. Not everyone thinks that a trophy is the only thing that matters in football. If you ever attended any matches you would know that.

    And to DM, concluding that a team which beat Liverpool at Anfield 3-1 and Man United at Old Trafford are dull simply because they had a tense, tactical match against two arrogant teams from the South (whose deluded fans think they are watching the equivelant of Brazil 1970 every week) shows how much you know about football as well. Who hasn’t seen Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, Liverpool, Spurs and Everton play that way?

    1. yes I freely admit, that 12m was off the top of my head. So I did research it. Reo Coker 8.5m, Harewood 4m so I was wrong. It was 12.5 million pounds.

      West Ham has great support as well, but my point is you are hardly listing world beaters there. Maybe I should do a list of West Ham players that got away. and trust me I know its NOT about silverware. Its about getting behind your club no matter. Like I will next season when we are playing in the fizzy pop.

  5. “Do you agree with Martin Laursen as number one? Would you have Gareth Barry in the list given his exit from the club and does Paul Merson deserve to be on the list at all? Let us know by leaving a comment below.”

    Have I stumbled onto Soccer By Ives?! :-)

  6. Brad Friedel should be on the list. In the last few years as Villa have pushed for a top 6 spot he has kept them in games. I would say 10 points a year can be attributed to Friedel’s play alone. A good example is this years game at Old Trafford if not for Friedel that game is 4 to 1. Performances like that are why I think he should be included.

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