So for this article I am going to concentrate on the last ten years, although to be fair I probably only really remember the last ten years given my relative youth compared to some of you more senior citizens!
In goal I think there can only be one option – Shay Given. One of the best shot-stoppers I have ever seen and always on top of his game. It was just a shame how he left us, but that shouldn’t take away from how good he was and how important he was for us over the years.
My right-back is going to be Habib Beye. He may have only been with us a few seasons but his ability not only to defend but to get forward and make a real impact in the other half makes him a stand out performer.
My two picks for centre-half go to Jonathan Woodgate and Sebastien Bassong. They played in different eras but when they played you could tell they were different class as they had everything you would want from a defender. It was just a shame that injuries and relegation meant that we didn’t see them for as long as I would have liked.
Left back is a very close call but I am going to go with Olivier Bernard. He was originally a winger but when he was converted to left-back we seen his true quality. He may not have been the best defensively but going forward he was brilliant and formed a great partnership with Laurent Robert, and scored some greats goals too!
Midfield next and my first pick is Nolberto Solano. Nobby was brilliant in both spells that he was with us and his pin point set-pieces, great goals and his commitment made him a firm favorite with the fans. One of our great foreign imports.
Next are Gary Speed and Kevin Nolan. Speed was a true professional, had a great engine on him and was a great foil for Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas. A loyal servant.
Nolan may have only been with us for a few seasons but his impact since relegation has been nothing short of brilliant. His goal record is second to none and he’s a real leader for us. Also, who will ever forget his hat-trick against them lot from down the road?!?!
Only one man can be named in left midfield, and that’s Laurent Robert. Personally one of my favourite players, although he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and to say he didn’t do his defensive work was a bit of an understatement. It was hard to argue with his crossing and shooting ability though and it almost came as no surprise when he crashed in yet another screamer or provided yet another assist.
I don’t think it takes a genius to work out at least one of the positions for the striking role. Alan Shearer! What more do I have to say? Over 200 goals for us and a inspiration to everyone. Arguably our greatest ever player.
Partnering Big Al is Andy ‘judas’ Carroll. Still only 22 but in his year-and-a-half in the first team you could that tell he was going to be something special. He is the best header of the ball I have ever seen and if he’d have stayed with us he could have been the next Shearer, but he’s at Liverpool now and we move on. Few would argue that £35 million is a great bit of business – if invested back into the team.
Special mentions to; Steve Harper, Aaron Hughes, Nikos Dabizas, Jose Enrique, Scott Parker, Charles N’Zogbia, Obafemi Martins and Craig Bellamy who just didn’t make the cut.
So that’s my eleven… What’s yours? « Guthrie, Taylor and Pardew on Aston Villa. | Pardew backs Barton, but warns him to be careful. »