Swansea City Greatest XI v Aston Villa Greatest XI. Who Wins?

Sharpen your typing fingers Villa fans because Swansea City have the measure of Aston Villa in a clash between the greatest ever players to grace each side.
Publish date:


Sharpen your typing fingers Villa fans because Swansea City have the measure of Aston Villa in a clash between the greatest ever players two fans have seen in the flesh...

Greatest Ever Swansea City XI

GK. Roger Freestone

All time appearances record for Swans, who, if truth were told, have not been blessed with the most secure custodians in the game over the decades. Anyone familiar with the name Gary Sprake…? 8

RB. Wyndham Evans

Exponent of the classic school of defending where you left your mark on the opposition in the first 10 minutes. If that didn’t break them, you just kept on dishing it out until it did. A folk hero, in the true sense of the word. 8

LB. Wilfred Milne

The Northumberland League player played 586 times for Swansea over 16 seasons spanning the 1920s and 30s. If you’re looking for a Brian Glanville-style analysis of his playing qualities you’ve come to the wrong place. His place is secured on the basis of valiant years of service and the Wikipedia entry stating that he was signed from Walker Celtic for the price of a fish supper and a cup of tea. 8

CB. Ante Rajkovic

It wasn’t only Ipswich that went for the cut-price version of the Argentinian pair that Spurs signed after the ’78 World Cup. Town bought Mühren and Thyssen, City went for Bosnians Dzemal Hadziabdic and Ante Raikovic. The former was a creative left-back who won’t be the only one scratching his head at his omission from the greatest Swansea team of all time. Ante Raikovic was a stopper with skill – largely unheard of at the time, where you were either a clogger or a fairy. And he also played sweeper. Madness! 9

CB. Mel Charles

So tempting to have a father and son combination at centre back – Mel’s injury-plagued son Jeremy played for Toshack’s Swansea side and Wales. All three Charles boys (Mel’s brother was called John – you might have heard of him) played successfully at the heart of defence and at centre-forward. Which is bonkers, when you think of it. 8

CM. Ian Callaghan

My head says John Mahoney, as he and Robbie James could boss the centre of the park while the rest indulge themselves in their creative flights of fancy. Mahoney was chiefly a mainstay for Stoke City and Wales, but his contribution to the Toshack era is completely underappreciated. But this isn’t real life, so Ian Callaghan, Liverpool FC legend, gets the freedom of the centre circle, just as he did when he moved from Anfield to The Vetch Field in 1978. The former wingman was a joy to watch at Swansea and was instrumental in the club’s rise up the divisions. 9

CM. Robbie James

He of the barrel chest and the hotshot Hamish tendency from anywhere around the box, James played like an unreconstructed Jimmy Case and shared a penchant for the kind of bad moustache that littered the pages of Panini annuals throughout the 70s and 80s. 7

LM. Ivor Allchurch

Ridiculous to find yourself deleting Cliff Jones’ name from any list of football greats, but when it comes to making your mark on Swansea City, there are very few that match Ivor Allchurch, who scored 164 goals in two spells at the club, ghosting past defenders with ease and striking the ball effortlessly with his cultured left peg.10

RM. Leighton James

Every team of the early 80s seemed obliged to have someone haring down the wing like a startled, er, hare, unruly mop of blond hair trailing close behind. Leighton James was more than a contractual obligation. Swansea to the core, he was suspended from his punditry gig by the BBC for anti-Cardiff City remarks made in his newspaper column. 10

ST. Alan Curtis

If you remember anything about Curtis it’s likely to be his perm and the boyish grin he wore whenever he scored. He was the perfect fit for the Toshack side of the early 80s – effervescent and eager to the last. Swansea had had its share of great homegrown strikers – Dean Saunders arguably the greatest of them all – but Curtis was the best by a long way. 9

CF John Toshack

it would be churlish not to include Tosh in a list of Swansea greats, even though his best playing days were behind him by the time he arrived at The Vetch. As manager he took the Swans from the Third Division to the top flight – undeniably the most exciting era in the club’s history. Yet the Cardiffian remains a hugely respected but curiously unloved character in his adopted home. Funny that… 8

Player/ Manager. John Toshack

Despite what I’ve said above it can’t really be anyone else, Martinez had us playing the best football and Rodgers might reach the promised land but what Tosh achieved borders on the ridiculous. 9

Swansea Total: 103

Despite being a boozer with dodgy knees who couldn’t train, McGrath was one of the finest defenders ever to grace the game.

Greatest Ever Aston Villa XI

GK: Mark Bosnich - Aussie legend Bosnich was undeniably brilliant before Man Utd, pies and Colombian marching powder ruined him. His penalty saves against Tranmere Rovers, which got Villa into the 1994 League Cup Final, will loom long in the memories of Villains everywhere – but not as long as his videotaped escapades with a bunch of bimbos, Dwight Yorke, a whip and a nice dress.  8

LB: Steve Staunton - Bought from Liverpool in 1991, Staunton was as reliable at the back as he was dangerous getting forward. Many a defence fell foul of his tin opening left-foot (and perhaps many a tin), and his goals included a notable rocket at Old Trafford in the inaugural Premier League season of 1992/3. He also scored directly from corners for both the Republic of Ireland and Villa, the show off.  8

RB: John Gidman - An attacking right-back who was with Villa from 1971-79, before going on to play for Everton, Man Utd and Man City. Gidman was solid in defence, but loved tearing down the wing and sticking the crosses in. A bit like a 1970‘s Glen Johnson, but actually able to defend and with much better hair. 7

CB: Martin Laursen - Won the Champions league and Serie A title while at AC Milan, then joined Villa in 2004. His spell was dogged by knee injuries, but when fit he was a towering colossus at the back (and handsome with it), though he often got forward to score, including two goals in a 4-4 draw against Spurs at White Hart Lane. 9

CB: Paul McGrath - The Black Pearl of Inchicore. Despite being a boozer with dodgy knees who couldn’t train, McGrath was PFA Player of The Year in 1993, and one of the finest defenders ever to grace the game. His legendary performance against Italy in The Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 win at USA94 had God watching his back. 10

CM: Gordon ‘Sid’ Cowans - Slight midfielder who could deliver a ball on a sixpence from one pitch to another (if necessary). Won a League and European Cup winners medal with Villa in the early 80s, but criminally overlooked by England – even with that nose. 9

CM: David Platt - The other English star of Italia 90 (apart from Gazza and his plastic breasts), Platt scored the last-minute volley that beat Belgium to send England through to the quarter finals. A box-to-box midfielder who scored plenty of goals and helped Villa win promotion in 1988, Platty went on to shine for Juventus, Sampdoria and Arsenal, and notched 27 goals in 62 appearances for England. Now coaching at Man City, he looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy’s reflection in the back of a spoon. Unlucky. 8

LM: Tony Morley - Tricky winger who spent most of the early 1980s setting fire to the flanks of pitches up and down England. Scored the goal of the season in the 1980/81 Championship season against Everton at Goodison. Also rumoured to have pissed in the European Cup. That’s the spirit.  8

RM: Paul Merson - He might have been as one-footed as Heather Mills, but what a right foot. Merson had enjoyed a fine career with Arsenal, but many believe he played his best football with Villa. Often enjoying a playmaker’s role, his passing was sublime and he could hit the target almost as often as he hit the bar and the bookies. 8

CF: Brian Little - Member of Villa’s 1972 FA Youth Cup winning side who went on to become a true Holte End hero. He was all hair, sideburns and prodigious skill, and he scored goals too – 26 of them came in the 1976/77 season, during which his strike partner, a certain Andy Gray, scored 29. Another Villain to be ignored by England and have his career cut short by injury, he did later return as manager, winning the League Cup, which he also won with the club as a player. 9

CF: Dwight Yorke - Discovered by Graham Taylor in his native Trinidad & Tobago, Yorke spent nine years at Villa scoring 73 league goals and helping Villa to lift the League Cup in 1996. Went on to enjoy more success at Old Trafford, where he won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble. No wonder he was always smiling.  8

Manager: Ron Saunders - Old-school, hard-boiled manager, with a penchant for SS-style long leather coats, Saunders won promotion to the top flight in his first season as Villa manager. Two league cups later, he clinched the league title with Villa in 1980/81 – the club’s first in 71 years – after famously telling the Ipswich-obsessed press: “Do you want to bet against us?” 9

Aston Villa Total:101 Swansea Total: 103

In something of a surprise result the Swans win out by battering Villa's fancydan modern attack-line with boots so leathery they still moo. 'Wynd-em' Evans scares the life out of Tony Morley early on by swiping his legs away while boisterously belting out a traditional Welsh hymn. Mel Charles meanwhile has Yorke in his pocket throughout. At the other end Allchurch runs Gidman ragged and the curly-haired scouser admits defeat and heads off to the local for a swift half at half time. This depletes an already struggling Villa side who eventually are content at a slender 2-0 reverse. Saunders does his nut in after the game and makes them run ten consecutive marathons. Despite his knee problem miracle man Mcgrath is the only player who manages to complete them.

Click here for more Football and Sport stories

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook