sirdennis with his bunch of fives. Heroes.
1/ It can’t be anyone else than Dennis Mortimer.
Saw him make his debut for us on boxing day 1976 and Ron Saunders described the signing as his Christmas present to the fans , and what a present. I don’t think he ever had a bad game and it is one of lifes great mysteries that he never got an England cap. He could run all day , he had great vision and his late runs from midfield usually resulting in a goal were legendary. Nothing typified those runs more that his vital goal vLiverpool in the title winning season. That picture of him lifting the European Cup will stay with me forever.
2/ Brian Little.
I saw him make his debut as well in 1971 v Torquay from memory aged 17 and he developed into one of the most skilful players I have seen. He was a real class palyer who made everything look so effortless , and I am sure he would have played a major part in winning the league had he not suffered from injuries.
3/ Andy Gray.
The spell from when we bought him in 1976 to 1978/79 was him at his best .Not that tall but brilliant in the air and fearless to a fault as well . I was 13 when we signed him and the fans loved him for his passion and full on commitment. He scored a fair few goals and the 1976/77 season when we had a front line of him Brian Little and John Deehan was one of the best seasons of football I have ever seen.
4/ Paul McGrath.
What can you say about him that hasn’t been said before. Knees of glass , problems with the bottle yet turned in performances at the back you could only dream about. His reading of the game was incredible he must have been 5 yards ahead of anyone else and he made it all look ridiculously easy.
5/ Bruce Rioch.
I suppose when you are younger you tend to have more heroes , as I have found as I got older I got more cynical about players especially as more and more money came into the game , but relatively speaking I suppose it has always been the same . I make no apologies for not choosing any ‘heroes from the recent era and my last one is the man who was probably my first hero – Bruce Rioch. Mind you everyone loved him as he was instrumental in our rise from the ashed of relegation to the old third division. Had a real hammer of a shot and was a very very good midfield player , as he went on to prove at a higher level. I cried when he left us as I couldn’t believe anyone would want to leave the Villa.
Read more: in the forum thread here..
Villan57 answered: Happy days Sir Den the team od 76/77 was the most exciting Villa team I’ve seen in my 50 years of going ‘ down the Villa ‘
sirdennis said: Yes what a season that was. The 5-1 v Liverpool had to be seen to be believed.
Langoe66: Some great reflections/memories there Sir Dennis. That period from ’74 to the glorious night in Rotterdam will stay with me forever. Am currently re-living it all by reading ‘The Odd Man Out’ by Graham Denton which tells the story of Sir Ron’s reign. Bringing back so many happy memories as I grew up in the 70’s. Happy days! My top 5 heroes would also include Dennis Mortimer, Brian Little, Andy Gray and Paul McGrath with the addition of John Burridge, not because he was the greatest keeper, though he was pretty decent, but he was a real character and an absolute nutcase. Being a keeper myself, he was a real hero of mine from the day he arrived at Villa Park in 1975.
old trinity villain Was it 76 goals between Gray, Little and Deehan that year? I was young and thought it would last forever. I would not have missed it for the world though.
A Bunch Of Aston Villa Fives – I Wish I’d Been…
A Bunch Of Fives: Heroes Of Aston Villa
Aston Villa Cult Heroes. A Fine Bunch Of Fives
I Could Never See What The Fuss Was About – Bunch Of 5’s
And more in our bunch of fives forum thread