Stoke v Villa club connections: Carew, Sorensen, Hendrie and Little
They include three players - and a legendary player and manager.
There is no doubt that 6ft 4in John Carew has been one of Villa's most popular players.
By the time he joined Villa, he had played for a number of clubs, including Valencia, AS Roma, Besiktas and Lyon, for whom he joined Villa as part of a deal which saw Milan Baros join the French club.
Carew immediately made his presence felt - despite a 3-1 defeat on his debut, he hit the post with one header against Newcastle and scored with another, only to have his effort disallowed for pushing.
But he got off the mark with the winner against West Ham on his first home appearance the following Saturday and scored twice more by the end of his first campaign.
That was merely the prelude to some prolific scoring over the next couple of seasons as he headed Villa's score chart with 13 in 2007/08 - including a hat-trick against Newcastle and the Birmingham brace - and 15 in 2008/09.
Carew also won the award for Villa's goal of the season in 2008/09, a spectacular sidefoot volley from the edge of the penalty area at home to Stoke City.
He was once again the club's leading scorer the following term with 17, including a hat-trick at Reading in the FA Cup.
It was Villa's first FA Cup quarter-final hat-trick since Harry Hampton had achieved the feat 97 years earlier.
He initially struggled to hold down a regular spot in the starting eleven that term due to the reliance on Emile Heskey and Gabby Agbonlahor.
Nevertheless, when he played, Carew still managed to score several important goals.
Goals against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sunderland and Chelsea helped the Norwegian become the joint top scorer for the season, alongside Agbonlahor.
Carew eventually left Villa for Stoke City, who he joined until the end of the 2010/11 season.
He made his debut for City at Fulham where he came on as a substitute - and scored his first goal in a 3-2 win against Sunderland in February 2011.
He followed this up by scoring in the FA Cup against Brighton & Hove Albion.
However a back injury slowed his progress in a Potters shirt
In August 2011 West Ham United announced the signing of Carew as a free agent.
Not many keepers can claim to have saved an Alan Shearer penalty. Thomas Sorensen did it twice.
Having achieved legendary status at Sunderland when keeping out the Newcastle and England striker's spot kick in 2001, the Denmark international repeated the feat to help Villa draw 1-1 at St James' Park in November 2003.
That was a few months into his debut campaign at Villa Park, during which he was an ever-present and helped David O'Leary's team to a top six finish and the League Cup semi-finals.
The Denmark international, in fact, missed only four games during his first three seasons with the club and was one of the most consistent performers.
Despite suffering a knee injury in November 2006, he also played in 29 games as Villa again finished 11th in Martin O'Neill's first season as manager.
Unfortunately he fell out of favour with O'Neill the following season, eventually moving to Stoke City.
Sorensen joined the Potters in July 2008 and remained as first choice over the next two seasons.
After starting the first nine matches of the 2010/11 campaign, Sorensen lost his place to Asmir Begovic.
However, he played in all the club's FA Cup games, including the final against Manchester City in May 2011, where he put in a good performance despite Tony Pulis's side losing 1-0.
Despite several league outings, generally he played back-up to Begovic - and the arrival of Jack Butland from Birmingham City also put pressure on his future at the Britannia Stadium.
In December 2014, Sorensen stated that he would leave Stoke at the end of the 2014/15 season.
He received a special recognition award at the end of the term for his contribution.
In total he spent seven seasons at the Britannia Stadium, making 129 appearances.
Lee Hendrie could hardly have made a more controversial start to his first team career in claret and blue.
The midfielder was sent off on his debut - and he hadn't even started the match.
Having replaced the injured Mark Draper after 33 minutes of Villa's game against QPR at Loftus Road just before Christmas in 1995, Hendrie received three unwelcome cards for fairly innocuous offences from referee Alan Wilkie - two yellow and a red.
It was a tough start for a young man who had supported Villa as a boy, although it wasn't the only contentious incident during a turbulent career.
He even managed to pick up a booking on his final appearance for the club, despite being on the pitch for only the final seven minutes of a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on the opening day of the 2006-07 campaign.
For all that, he served Villa well for more than a decade and became one of a select band of players who have made more than 300 appearances for the club.
Unfortunately, frequent injury problems meant he never managed an ever-present season, although he started 32 games as Villa finished sixth in 2003/04.
He was also a late substitute in the 2000 FA Cup final against Chelsea.
His long association with the club ended in September 2006.
Hendrie joined Stoke City on loan - and in January 2007 he extended his spell with the Potters until the end of the 2006/07 season.
He played 28 times for Stoke, scoring three goals which came against Leeds United, Sunderland and Norwich City.
Hendrie eventually signed a three-year permanent contract with Sheffield United after arriving on a free transfer in July 2007.
With Villa hovering around the relegation zone at the time of his appointment, Brian Little's brief was simply to retain Premier League status with a team of quality, but ageing players.
He achieved that objective as Villa secured safety with a 1-1 draw at Norwich City on the final day, and then set about reshaping the side around three major summer signings, defender Gareth Southgate, midfielder Mark Draper and Serbian striker Savo Milosevic.
Little did this to such good effect that the 1995/96 campaign turned out to be the club's most successful season of the Premier League era.
They finished fourth in the league, reached the FA Cup semi-finals and won the League Cup with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Leeds United at Wembley, where Milosevic opened the scoring with a magnificent goal.
The League Cup triumph saw Villa return to European competition the following season, although they fell at the first hurdle to Swedish part-timers Helsingborgs, it was another good campaign on the domestic front.
Despite early exits from both the League Cup and FA Cup, Villa finished fifth to once again secure a UEFA Cup place - and Little underlined his ambitions by splashing out a club record £7m on striker Stan Collymore from Liverpool.
Collymore's arrival coincided with the worst start in the club's history - four straight defeats - and although the team recovered, they were still languishing in 15th place in February, when Little shocked everyone by resigning.
Little was appointed manager of Stoke City in May 1998 and his appointment was met with approval from the club's supporters.
The Potters had just moved from the Victoria Ground to the new all-seater Britannia Stadium - but they had been relegated to the Second Division.
Little arrived with the only objective was to gain an instant return to the First Division in 1998/99.
Stoke began the season in fine form, winning 14 of their first 20 matches and they sat well on top of the division.
However their form fell away after Christmas and they won just seven matches from the remaining 26 and ended up finishing in eighth position.
In July 1999 Little resigned - and eventually returned to management with West Bromwich Albion.
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