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My Favourite Villan: Pro golfer Flic Johnson on Steve Staunton

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My Favourite Villan: Pro golfer Flic Johnson on Steve Staunton

We have asked members of the claret and blue family - celebrities, fans, journalists, staff - to give us their all-time hero. European and US tour golfer Flic Johnson reflects on a real Villa driving force.

They always say never go back to an old club, but sometimes it can work.

Just ask Steve Staunton, or 'Stan' as he is affectionately known.

After making 263 appearances in his first spell, he just couldn't get enough of Villa Park and came back from Liverpool to make a further 87 appearances in claret and blue.

It was the left-back spot that he made his own during both his spells at Villa. It would take something special to keep him out the team.

But he was also as dependable to have at centre-back, or even in midfield.

With his cool-as-ice temperament and rock solid concentration the defence was always shored up with Steve around.

He bought an air of confidence to any defensive line he was part of.

He was a model professional both on and off the pitch, making him an ideal role model for the younger players to be around.

With as sweet a left foot as you are likely to see, he was a gem to have in the team for his set-piece abilities.

Whether he was hammering home a penalty with supreme confidence, or whipping in a left-foot free-kick or corner, Stan knew exactly how to make the opposition feel uncomfortable.

He possessed the ability cause chaos in any defence and was was invaluable to have in the team regardless of the position he was required to occupy.

My first memory of Steve in a claret-and-blue shirt was when he scored against Manchester United towards the end of the season when we almost became the first Premier League champions.

The swerve and accuracy on that shot at Old Trafford in March 1993 was something else, and who knows how the title race would have panned out if the score had remained 1-0 rather than the 1-1 outcome achieved by a United equaliser three minutes later?

The way he instantly saw an opportunity and sized up the shot and delivered such a solid strike was so impressive - and so typical of Steve Staunton.

The situation in which he scored that goal from the left-hand edge of the penalty area also underlined how strong mentally and determined he was in his playing days.

It was a brilliant moment for Villa supporters, one of those instances when anything seems possible.

No wonder it was voted third in the BBC Goal of the Month competition - although anyone of claret-and-blue persuasion was convinced it should have won!

One of my other favourite memories of watching Stan play was when he scored directly from a corner in a game against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park early the following season.

I remember seeing the Dons' keeper Hans Segers scrambling frantically along his goal line and failing to keep the ball out.

Not many have achieved that feat but once again it wasn't quite enough to secure all three points.

Stan's impressive effort put Villa ahead for the second time that afternoon, only for Wimbledon - then our bogey team - to draw level through John Fashanu and draw 2-2.

Once again, there was a gap of just three minutes, once again a fabulous Staunton goal didn't get the reward it deserved, although he scored plenty that did.

I believe that Steve is a keen golfer with a single-figure handicap.

Let's hope his drives are as sweet as his left foot!

Snap up match tickets for our clash with QPR.


AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 12th March 2013
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