Aston Villa’s history is steeped with footballing legends. Fans are unlikely to forget Villa Park’s biggest icons and will want to keep a keen eye on what they’re up to in retirement.
We take a look at 10 legendary Villans below…
10) Martin Laursen
A modern-day Aston Villa legend, Martin Laursen made 91 appearances for the club after arriving from AC Milan, before retiring in 2009. Since retirement, the former defender has worked as a pundit on Danish TV for TV2, and has spent eight months in coaching at third tier Danish side BSV. As things stand, Laursen does not have a role in football.
9) Olof Mellberg
With 263 appearances to his name during his time at Aston Villa, Olof Mellberg is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the Midlands club’s Premier League history. And he has since taken that know-how to management. The former centre-back has taken charge of Brommapojkarna, Fremad Amager, and Helsingborgs, but is currently without a club.
8) Peter McParland
With 121 goals in 341 appearances, legends don’t get much bigger than Peter McParland, who managed Bournemouth and Glentoran, before going to work in Cyprus, Hong Kong, and Kuwait. Now 88, McParland is enjoying a step back from a role in football.
7) Gareth Barry
Making 436 appearances for Aston Villa, and also featuring for Manchester City, Everton and West Bromwich Albion throughout his lengthy career, Gareth Barry retired in 2020. Since retirement, the record holder for most Premier League appearances has taken up punditry with BBC and BT Sport, whilst also turning out for his local cricket team, according to Premier League Heroes.
6) Gordon Cowans
A true Aston Villa legend, Cowans made 286 appearances for the club, winning the league title and European Cup in the process. Following retirement, he returned to the club as a coach, with a place on Gérard Houllier’s backroom staff. Cowans, now 63, sadly announced in 2020 that he is suffering with early Alzheimer’s.
5) Charlie Aitken
With 561 appearances, Charlie Aitken is the all-time appearance maker at Aston Villa, and is an undoubted legend of the club. During his retirement, Aitken decided to move away from football, and into the jewellery and antiques industry, running his own business in Birmingham.
4) Allan Evans
Making 475 appearances for the club, Allan Evans is one of the biggest legends in Aston Villa history. The league-title winner has enjoyed retirement, in which he has had roles as a youth team coach at Plymouth Argyle. He also had a spell in charge of Brisbane United in Australia, and a spell at Leicester City as an assistant manager.
3) Peter Withe
The scorer of the winning goal in the 1982 European Cup final, Peter Withe is highly regarded in Aston Villa history. Since retirement, Withe has had management spells at Wimbledon and Stockport Sports (Woodley Sports). Now 70, the former player is not currently in charge of a club.
2) Paul McGrath
The winner of the PFA Player of the Year award in 1993, Paul McGrath made 253 appearances for Aston Villa, before retiring in 1998. After retirement, McGrath took up the Director of Football role at Waterford United for a period of time. The former player had a battle with alcoholism, which was well-publicised, before his book ‘Back from the Brink’ became a best-seller.
1) Dennis Mortimer
The captain of the 1982 European Cup-winning Aston Villa side, Dennis Mortimer is one of the biggest legends in the club’s history. Since retirement, Mortimer has had roles such as a Community Officer and then assistant manager at West Brom, as well as a role in developing coaches with the PFA.
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