Cor, how great was Masters Football?
The iconic blue carpet, the overweight ex-pros, the Mundial Team astroturfs and the waning crowds. WE NEED IT BACK!
On this occasion we're taking a look at how an Aston Villa Masters side might shape but before all that, here's a reminder of the restrictions regarding player eligibility:
- Only players aged 35 or over are eligible, and they must not be currently playing, coaching, managing or have any other role at a club that isn’t only ambassadorial
- Where possible, club legend games will be used narrow selection choices
- If a player has health conditions that would prevent them from playing, then they will not be included
Right, let's dive in.
Brad Friedel (Goalkeeper)
Years Spent at Villa: 2008-2011
Club Lowlight: Getting sent off against his former club, Liverpool, in 2008.
A stellar Premier League shot-stopper at Blackburn, Villa and Tottenham, Friedel will be desperate to save his reputation following a pretty disastrous spell in management at the New England Revolution.
What better way than an indoor six-a-side tournament with a bunch of past it ex-pros battling it out for a crown which means very little, eh?
Martin Laursen (Defender)
Years Spent at Villa: 2004-2009
Club Highlight: Weirdly liked scoring against Spurs.
Club Lowlight: Being conjoined at the hip to the physio's bench.
Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta's understudy at Milan, Laursen was a dominant defender who didn't quite get the attention he deserved due to his constant battles with injury.
Nevertheless, the Dane's ready to make a return to football following a brief spell in management.
Alan Hutton (Defender)
Years Spent at Villa: 2011-2019
Club Highlight: Strike in the derby victory over Birmingham in 2018.
Club Lowlight: His 2011/12 campaign, lol.
Fresh out of retirement, the Scottish Cafu is ready to grace the iconic blue turf at an arena near you.
Following a dismal start to his Villa career, Hutton enjoyed a renaissance after returning from his pilgrimage to Mallorca - and Bolton - in 2014. The Scot established himself as a cult hero at Villa Park before getting released at the end of last season.
Stiliyan Petrov (Midfielder)
Years Spent at Villa: 2006-2013
Club Highlight: His 2008/09 campaign and an inspirational battle with illness.
Club Lowlight: There's no such thing.
Silky smooth in possession and known for his ability to pull off the spectacular, Petrov's career was brought to halt in 2012 following his leukaemia diagnosis.
But after a convincing 1-0 victory over the illness, the
Darren Bent (Striker)
Years Spent at Villa: 2011-2015
Club Highlight: Being slightly better than he was in north London.
Club Lowlight: Still costing the Villans £18m.
Determined to wreak havoc on the Masters scene following his snub from the Tottenham squad, Bent enjoyed a mixed spell at Villa Park during his four-year spell - scoring 21 times for the Villans in 61 Premier League appearances.
Expect the Englishman to be one of the stars of the show.
John Carew (Striker)
Years Spent at Villa: 2007-2011
Club Highlight: All 6'5 of him.
Club Lowlight: Pub crawls the night before matches.
We thought soon-to-be Hollywood star Carew would be easier to persuade out of retirement than Colombian
And with the Norweigian's addition, we'd finally be able to see the Bent x Carew collab which we were never blessed with following the former's arrival in 2011.
Luke Young (Defender)
Years Spent at Villa: 2008-2011
Club Highlight: Defining consistency.
Club Lowlight: Turning down the chance to sign for Liverpool.
Loyal, consistent, tucked-in shirt; Luke Young is an all-round nice guy. He gets in the side.
Lee Hendrie (Midfielder)
Years Spent at Villa: 1994-2007
Club Highlight: Villa's 'Young Player of the Year' in 1997/98.
Club Lowlight: Off the field antics.
Hendrie's always on telly doing something football-related, from Sky Sports' 'One2Eleven' to even making a substitute appearance on ITV's 'Harry's Heroes'. There's no doubt he'll be up for this.
He weren't a bad player during his Villa pomp either.
Dion Dublin (Striker)
Years Spent at Villa: 1998-2004
Club Highlight: Headbutt on Robbie Savage in the Second City derby.
Club Lowlight: Sustaining a career and life-threatening broken neck against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999.
Putting his 'Homes Under the Hammer' allegiances temporarily to the side, the senior member of the squad, Dublin, will be Villa's 'x-factor' off the bench.
Source : 90min