Heroes & Villains, the Aston Villa fanzine

Heroes & Villains => Villa Memories => Topic started by: BC Villain on August 07, 2021, 10:47:02 AM

Title: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: BC Villain on August 07, 2021, 10:47:02 AM
Given all the talk about whether he who shall not be named is a Villa legend, what constitutes a club legend as opposed to a cult hero?

Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Lastfootstamper on August 07, 2021, 11:17:31 AM
You have to win something, or at the very least lead an heroic charge towards an ultimate defeat at the hands of clearly superior opposition, and have something about you that marks you out from the ordinary. Length of service or proximity of birth only add to it after status has been bestowed.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: TopDeck113 on August 07, 2021, 11:23:33 AM
I don't think there is one set of criteria. However - and perhaps what you allude to in the question - is the the fact that the very term "legend" has become debased through it being conferred on to anyone who manages 100 appearances, a couple of stand out performances and contributes to a decent cup run.

The other thing is, rather like lists of greatest ever songs, films etc voted by the public, there is always a bias towards more recent players.

I'd quite like it if the club marked the 150th anniversary with the unveiling of a Hall of Fame with, say, twenty five initially inductees from all points of the club's history.  Induction would be a carefully  considered process and not based on, for example, having a penchant for only scoring against the Blues during the 2010s whilst everything else you did was half-arsed.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: dave.woodhall on August 07, 2021, 11:27:35 AM
The benchmark seems to be Ian Taylor. i'd say cult hero definitely, but not a legend. Legends are what people talk about two generations after they retire.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: BC Villain on August 07, 2021, 11:31:36 AM
I don't think there is one set of criteria. However - and perhaps what you allude to in the question - is the the fact that the very term "legend" has become debased through it being conferred on to anyone who manages 100 appearances, a couple of stand out performances and contributes to a decent cup run.

The other thing is, rather like lists of greatest ever songs, films etc voted by the public, there is always a bias towards more recent players.

I'd quite like it if the club marked the 150th anniversary with the unveiling of a Hall of Fame with, say, twenty five initially inductees from all points of the club's history.  Induction would be a carefully  considered process and not based on, for example, having a penchant for only scoring against the Blues during the 2010s whilst everything else you did was half-arsed.

I agree.  Martin Laursen is a great example.  Fabulous player who was very unlucky with injuries.  But we effectively had one season out of him with less than 100 appearances over 5-6 years.  I'd consider him a Villa hero, but not a legend.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: PaulWinch again on August 07, 2021, 11:31:44 AM
Yep a legend, for me, has to be instrumental in material success for the club.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: BC Villain on August 07, 2021, 11:33:04 AM
The benchmark seems to be Ian Taylor. i'd say cult hero definitely, but not a legend. Legends are what people talk about two generations after they retire.

Would you consider Charlie Aitken a Villa legend? 
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: charlatan on August 07, 2021, 11:37:47 AM
No idea. Trying listing who you think qualifies as a legend and work out if there are commmon characteristics.

Two generations after they retire implies for most of us that we haven't experienced a legend, so maybe that's why it is pretty intangible. Conversely by that standard I'd be pretty happy to live long enough to discover that one of our current crop qualified!
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: dave.woodhall on August 07, 2021, 11:39:43 AM
The benchmark seems to be Ian Taylor. i'd say cult hero definitely, but not a legend. Legends are what people talk about two generations after they retire.

Would you consider Charlie Aitken a Villa legend? 

Absolutely. Record appearances, success, never asked for a transfer and could have played at a much higher level.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Lastfootstamper on August 07, 2021, 11:43:30 AM
And he won stuff.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: TopDeck113 on August 07, 2021, 11:46:42 AM
The benchmark seems to be Ian Taylor. i'd say cult hero definitely, but not a legend. Legends are what people talk about two generations after they retire.

Would you consider Charlie Aitken a Villa legend? 

I remember having this debate with a mate's dad years ago. He reckoned that based on appearances alone, Aitken was an absolute, bone fida legend. My take was that the vast majority of those appearances were during the most catastrophic decline in the club's history and therefore there was nothing legendary about it. 

Now I'm probably more of my mate's dad's mindset!
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Exeter 77 on August 07, 2021, 11:48:21 AM
In the modern era I think Brian Little could be the benchmark. Won trophies as a player, another as manager and contributed to the re-build after relegation at board level.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Lastfootstamper on August 07, 2021, 11:49:36 AM
Re Aitken, a lot of his appearances were in the climb back up, too.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Lastfootstamper on August 07, 2021, 11:58:39 AM
In the modern era I think Brian Little could be the benchmark. Won trophies as a player, another as manager and contributed to the re-build after relegation at board level.


Modern era! I have a little thing I do myself when trying to put the passage of time into perspective, I try to picture a similar gap again back from there. So, Now >> Brian Little's last game as a player >> WW2 still to kick off.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Exeter 77 on August 07, 2021, 12:07:43 PM
In the modern era I think Brian Little could be the benchmark. Won trophies as a player, another as manager and contributed to the re-build after relegation at board level.


Modern era! I have a little thing I do myself when trying to put the passage of time into perspective, I try to picture a similar gap again back from there. So, Now >> Brian Little's last game as a player >> WW2 still to kick off.
Sorry. I didn't want to include the period up to to the First World War as there are plenty of candidates from then. I was thinking from the 1957 FA Cup Final onwards.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Meanwood Villa on August 07, 2021, 12:48:53 PM
How many of 81 and 82 team would count? Mortimer and Cowans are shoo ins I would suggest but how many others?

In my era, late 80s onwards we've got McGrath and then I think Taylor must be the closest. Don't think you can count Barry.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: dave.woodhall on August 07, 2021, 12:56:15 PM
In the modern era I think Brian Little could be the benchmark. Won trophies as a player, another as manager and contributed to the re-build after relegation at board level.

I would put him in a class of his own, Legend of Legends. On a slightly more serious note, I've only seen legends queuing for the autograph of one man and that's Peter McParland. I'd say that cements his place. 
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: BC Villain on August 07, 2021, 12:57:15 PM
A lot would say Mellberg, but I'd put him in the cult hero category.  Excellent service for us, and really bought into the spirit of the club, but no trophies sadly.

What about Ray Graydon?
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Richard E on August 07, 2021, 12:58:05 PM
1. Winning things.
2. Not buggering off.
3. Exceptional ability.
4. Loving our club.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: dave shelley on August 07, 2021, 01:03:53 PM
Johnny Dixon, Charlie Aitken and the 1981 fourteen will always be legends to me along with the man who managed them.  Also, William McGregor.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Villan82 on August 07, 2021, 06:09:07 PM
Three things are central to being a legend and they come before ability: loyalty to the club, determination on the pitch and being associated with an exceptional feat in villa colours.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: malckennedy on August 07, 2021, 06:21:34 PM
1. Winning things.
2. Not buggering off.
3. Exceptional ability.
4. Loving our club.

Grealish would only qualify on number 3 then.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: nick harper on August 08, 2021, 01:01:50 PM
Peter McParland is a legend on those criteria. Goals that won the FA Cup and, astonishingly, still the last player to score more than 100 goals for the club.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Brend'Watkins on August 09, 2021, 09:52:04 AM
Brian Little is a true Legend or as DW says, Legend of Legends. Would have gone to our neighbours but for a knee injury. A lucky knee injury was that.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Border villan on August 10, 2021, 12:00:41 PM
Like most on here I cannot define what single action or collective acts elevates a player from hero to legend.
However I have been fortunate enough to have seen our heroes and legends from the early 60s onwards and for that I am a lucky man.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: AV82EC on August 10, 2021, 01:03:18 PM
I've been a supporter of the club since 1990.  In that time one Legend for me, Paul McGrath.  Plenty of heroes, Taylor, Yorke, Young, Barry and Milner spring to mind probably Mellberg and Benteke and yes Grealish as well. But as ever its subjective, one mans Mellberg is another mans Carlos Cuellar.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: clash city rocker on August 10, 2021, 06:21:33 PM
How many of 81 and 82 team would count? Mortimer and Cowans are shoo ins I would suggest but how many others?

In my era, late 80s onwards we've got McGrath and then I think Taylor must be the closest. Don't think you can count Barry.

The man that scored the winner in Rotterdam. A legend and a lovely bloke when I have met him.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: aj2k77 on August 11, 2021, 09:00:15 PM
Graham Taylor.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: MorrisNielson on August 12, 2021, 11:26:23 PM
Just a thought, here's the top 20 apps makers. How many aren't legends; Barry, Staunton probably not. Wallace is but wonder how many supporters could identify him from a photo or know about his achivements?
660 - Aitken
531 - Walker
526 - Cowans
475 - Bache
474 - Evans Allan
460 - Spink
451 - Smart
440 - Barry
430 - Dixon
406 - Mortimer
398 - George
392 - Houghton
390 - Dorrell
390 - York Dickie
373 - Hampton
368 - Mort
353 - Cowan Jas
351 - Crowe
350 - Staunton
350 - Wallace
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Tayls_7 on August 14, 2021, 07:47:02 PM
What constitutes acquiring legend status is nuanced but what definitely precludes anyone from legendary status is someone who abandons, demeans or just plain shits on us. I'm thinking Platt. I'm thinking Yorke.  There must be someone more recent who fits that criteria  ::)
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Lucky Eddie on August 19, 2021, 07:13:10 AM
What constitutes acquiring legend status is nuanced but what definitely precludes anyone from legendary status is someone who abandons, demeans or just plain shits on us. I'm thinking Platt. I'm thinking Yorke.  There must be someone more recent who fits that criteria  ::)

Staunton.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Chris Harte on August 20, 2021, 11:54:25 PM
A legend to me is someone who has played 80%+ of their total senior career for Villa, while exceeding a high arbitrary number of games (it'd be easy to say 100 minimum) in the process.

For me, only Charlie Aitken and Nigel Spink qualify.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: cdbearsfan on August 21, 2021, 02:15:01 AM
1. Winning things.
2. Not buggering off.
3. Exceptional ability.
4. Loving our club.

Not sure if 1 is compulsory because on that basis Matt Le Tissier wouldn't be eligible to be a Southampton legend whereas any of their Second Division jobbers who won the cup would be.

Admittedly Southampton have different standards to us, but still. If Villa had lost the 1994 and 1996 League Cup Finals, I'd still class Paul McGrath as a legend. Also, I think Pongo Waring won sod all at Villa. I reckon he's a legend.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Rico on August 21, 2021, 07:46:19 AM
Gary Shaw. Local boy, who was deadly in front of goal, highly skilful and won honours at the very highest level.  Villa fan too. Definitely one for the hall of fame!
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Lastfootstamper on August 21, 2021, 08:59:33 AM
I feel like there's a need on here to keep any list of legends to a bare minimum. Why? We invented football, were the first global superclub, up until 1978 were England's most successful, and still hold some records despite the relative famine of the last 25 years. We can and should have a list as long as my arm, and I've got long arms.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: dave shelley on August 21, 2021, 09:27:15 AM
A legend to me is someone who has played 80%+ of their total senior career for Villa, while exceeding a high arbitrary number of games (it'd be easy to say 100 minimum) in the process.

For me, only Charlie Aitken and Nigel Spink qualify.

Johnny Dixon, surely.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Chris Harte on August 21, 2021, 11:21:03 AM
A legend to me is someone who has played 80%+ of their total senior career for Villa, while exceeding a high arbitrary number of games (it'd be easy to say 100 minimum) in the process.

For me, only Charlie Aitken and Nigel Spink qualify.

Johnny Dixon, surely.
To be fair, I'd forgot about him. From the criteria I gave, he would qualify too.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: dcdavecollett on August 23, 2021, 11:45:07 PM
For some reason, I've always stuck with those players who appeared in more than 300 games for us.

It takes over six years to achieve that, most likely the bulk of a footballer's career.

So all hail, Charlie, Vic, Spinky, Sid and all the others who qualify. I think Dennis does?

Having said that, I completely agree with the recent poster who put Gary Shaw's name forward. It's not his fault he had such rotten luck with injuries.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Border villan on August 24, 2021, 08:48:11 AM
Careful, that last paragraph could let Ivo Stas join the list.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: algy on August 25, 2021, 10:11:01 AM
The benchmark seems to be Ian Taylor. i'd say cult hero definitely, but not a legend. Legends are what people talk about two generations after they retire.
Yeah, for me this is the stuff of legends as it were.  There's all sorts of players who we all know, the stories are stuff of legend, but they don't fit in to neat little categories.  Two obvious ones are

Pongo Waring - played just over 200 games, didn't win a trophy .. but is anyone going to say he isn't a Villa legend?
Frank Barson - played less than 100 games, "only" won the 1920 FA Cup, played for plenty of teams other than Villa, ... but he's still pretty well known amongst Villa supporters (almost) 100 years after he left the club, and people will probably still be telling stories about his contract negotiation technique 100 years on from now.

I think the thing with club legends is that it's very hard to say that someone's a legend if you've seen them play.  The only player I think we can probably say for certain will be is God.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Lastfootstamper on August 25, 2021, 10:18:07 AM
Waring scoring close to 50 goals as we set a top division scoring record that's yet to be surpassed almost a century later cements his place on my Legends list.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: KevinGage on August 29, 2021, 02:24:27 PM
Pongo Waring
Billy Walker
Gary Penrice
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: martin o`who?? on August 30, 2021, 12:58:54 PM
Several hundred appearances, never causing any grief, consistent level of performance and being associated with the club as a source of pride.
Very often beginning with A and ending in N and consisting of six letters.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: martin o`who?? on August 30, 2021, 01:04:51 PM
Gary Shaw. Local boy, who was deadly in front of goal, highly skilful and won honours at the very highest level.  Villa fan too. Definitely one for the hall of fame!
One thousand percent.
Title: Re: What makes a "club legend"?
Post by: Dick Edwards on September 09, 2021, 04:34:51 PM
You have to be careful when it comes to promoting potential legends as having too many of them dilutes the status. We've had plenty of great players or/and cult heroes. Olof Mellberg and Dwight Yorke spring immediately to mind, and most recently Jack Grealish.

When you've only won one league title in the last hundred years I think it's reasonable that pretty much all of that team (and manager) could be considered for legendary status. Then you can safely add Tony Barton and Nigel Spink to that bunch after their colossal contributions to us winning the European Cup a year later.

In addition, and in my lifetime I'd class Charlie Aitken, Brian Little, Paul McGrath and Sir Graham Taylor as genuine club legends.
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