Author: Paul Reece
Published: 17:53 16/11/2014
Aston Villa have been struggling in front of goal this season but the Villains have had more than their fair share of prolific goal scorers over the years. The club could seriously do with one of their legendary centre-forwards in their team now, with Christian Benteke lacking fitness and form and his team mates sadly not delivering.
The bookies tipped Villa to struggle this season after a superb start it looks like they will be right, but this article may cheer up some gloomy Aston Villa fans, as we look back at the Villains’ top-5 great goalscorers of all-time.
5. Eric Houghton
Eric Houghton joined Aston Villa as a fresh faced 17-year-old in 1927 and the striker went on to play for the club for two decades, eventually leaving in 1946. The forward scored over 170 goals in 392 appearances along with a further 30 wartime goals. His strike was regarded as the hardest of his era and he netted 58 penalties during his career and 30 free-kicks. He returned as manager in the 1950’s and guided the Villains to a then record 7th FA Cup and also enjoyed a spell as a director at the club. Described as ‘Mr Aston Villa’, Houghton died in 1996, aged 85.
4. Joe Bache
A World War 1 veteran, Joe Bache was prolific centre-forward, who made over 430 appearances for Aston Villa between 1900 and 1914. The striker scored 185 goals and lifted the FA Cup twice in 1905 and 1913 and was also part of the Villains League Championship winning side of 1910. The Stourbridge-born striker joined the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1914 and served on the Western Front before returning home in 1918 and featuring for Welsh side Mid Rhondda and ending his career as player/coach of Grimsby Town. He was also capped seven times by England, scoring four goals.
3. John Devey
Another legend from the early days of Aston Villa’s history, Devey scored 187 goals in 308 appearances between 1891 and 1902. The skillful strike was capped twice by England and was the top goalscorer with 20 goals as Villa lifted the 1893-94 Championship. As captain, he guided the club to five league titles and two FA Cup victories, including the memorable double in 1896-97. After retiring in 1902 he continued his association with Villa, spending 32 years as a director at the club before his death in 1940, aged 70.
2. Harry Hampton
Villa’s all-time leading league goalscorer, with 215 of his 242 goals arriving in the league, Hampton enjoyed a 16-year spell with the club between 1904 and 1920. The forward began his career with Wellington Town before being snapped up by Villa. Known as ‘Happy’ Harry Hampton, the attacker was a prolific centre-forward, scoring five goals against Sheffield Wednesday 1912 as the Villains ran out 10-0 winners. Another player whose career was disrupted by the first world war, he joined city rivals Birmingham City in 1920 and later played for Newport County, before ending his career with his first club, Wellington Town.
1. Billy Walker
Considered by many to be one of, if not the greatest player to have ever played for Aston Villa, Walker tops the charts as the Villains all-time leading goalscorer. The striker netted 214 league goals, one short of Harry Hampton’s record, but finished his career with 244 Aston Villa goals - two more than the number two on our countdown. A true Villa Park legend, the striker spent his entire career at the club, making over 530 appearances between 1919 and 1933. He lifted the FA Cup with Villa in 1920 and remains the only player to have score three penalty kicks in a single match in Football League history. And he was also the first Englishman to score at Wembley, following his strike against Scotland in 1924.