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Villa's most memorable squad numbers revealed


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Aston Villa Football Ground

There’s no doubt that the Aston Villa Football Club is presently at a low ebb compared with its glittering past. An inability to secure an immediate return to the Premier League has left Villa facing up to a second successive term of Championship football, with boss Steve Bruce plotting a more successful and consistent 2017/18 campaign.

Last season’s squad was still too bloated and too full of top flight rejects who lacked the fight and spirit to roll up their sleeves for Championship street fights week in and week out. It’s hopeful that this time around will be different, with a strong finish to 2016/17, giving the Villa hope of better days around the corner.

But as the close season rumbles on and tiresome transfer rumours continue to placate impatient fans, now’s a great time to get all starry-eyed and wistful as we take a look at Villa’s glory days. We’re harking back to many of the club’s most talented stars who made many of the Villa squad numbers incredibly meaningful and prolific during the years of European and domestic dominance.

Certain numbers have always had special significance in many walks of life, not just at Villa Park. But let’s take a look at some of the squad numbers that have helped deliver the biggest successes on the Claret and Blue side of the Second City.

Number 2

This number has always been held in high regard thanks to the club’s longest-serving player, Charlie Aitken, a dependable left back who made 660 appearances in Claret and Blue during a 17-year spell at Villa. There’s no doubt that Aitken’s number 2 shirt gave him an advantage throughout his stay at the club, helping Villa through the divisions from Division Three back into the top flight, before lifting the League Cup in 1975 against Norwich City.

Number 9

Synonymous with the club’s leading marksmen, we had to include number 9, thanks in no small part to Peter Withe. Withe wore the shirt with distinction, particularly in the 1982 European Cup final when he shinned home the winning goal against Bayern Munich in Rotterdam. Withe was also the last Villa front man to notch 20-plus league goals in a season. There was a time in the 2016/17 campaign when it appeared that Jonathan Kodjia would break that record, but the Ivorian international eventually finished the season with 19 league goals to his name.

Number 10

This number conjures up memories of a true club legend who enjoyed three spells with the club during a glittering playing career. Midfield maestro, Gordon Cowans wore the number 10 shirt with distinction during Villa’s most decorated era as part of a First Division title-winning, League Cup-winning and European and European Super Cup-winning team.

Number 6

Lauded for leaving Villa’s West Midlands rivals Coventry, Dennis Mortimer enjoyed a decade of success at the heart of the Villa midfield, wearing number 6 of the Claret and Blue. The Villa skipper not only wore the number 6 when lifting the 1977 League Cup, but he also did so whilst leading the side to the 1980-81 league championship and the European Cup, alongside the aforementioned Gordon Cowans and Peter with. Heady days!

There’s still quite some time until Villa announces their squad numbers for the 2017/18 season. That leaves plenty of opportunity for new faces to arrive in the meantime, maybe even the Chelsea legend John Terry. But who do you think has what it takes to fill the boots of the number 9 shirt and score the goals to help Villa back to the promised land? Will we see a graceful number 10 racking up assists in the same manner that Sid Cowans did? We can only hope!

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