Few players throughout Villa’s history can match the sheer quality of Gordon Cowans’ passing.
Over 15 yards or 50, the midfielder’s delivery of a football oozed poise and precision, and invariably set a dangerous attack in motion.
Indeed, David Platt went on record as saying he wouldn’t have been the player he was without the immaculate service he received from the man popularly known as Sid.
Gordon Sidney Cowans will also be remembered as Villa’s Prodigal Son.
He left the club three times – and on each occasion he returned, latterly as a youth coach.
He was always destined to wear claret and blue, having been on schoolboy forms at Villa Park from the age of 12, which probably explains why he was always tempted back.
On leaving school, he graduated through Villa’s youth and reserve teams before being handed his first taste of senior football in 1976, when he went on as a substitute against Manchester City at Maine Road.
By the end of the following season he was a first team regular as well as winning a League Cup medal following a dramatic victory over Everton in the second replay of a marathon 1977 final.
Between 1979 and 1983, he didn’t miss a single match as he became an integral figure in the most successful period of the club’s history, adding League Championship, European Cup and European Super Cup medals to his collection.
His long unbroken appearance run came to an end when he broke his leg in a pre-season friendly, causing him to miss the whole of the 1983/84 campaign.
In 1985 he joined Italian club Bari, but was brought back to Villa Park by Graham Taylor three years later.
Once again, he excelled, helping Villa to finish runners-up to Liverpool in 1990.
Later that year Taylor, having been appointed England manager, handed Cowans his 10th and final cap, but in 1991 the midfield man was sold to Blackburn Rovers.
In 1993 he returned for a third spell before joining Derby County.