Aston Villa is on a new upward trajectory under Unai Emery, but has had some dark times during the Premier League period.
After only three seasons in the Division since 1992’s inception, many have not lived up to their billing and even moved on to greater things.
Ten players that you might not remember playing for Villans.
Jermaine Jenas (2011)
Jermaine Jennifer’s career was in decline due to injuries when, on August 2011, he received a loan from Tottenham at Villa.
Jenas’ problems, despite his 21 caps as an England international, would continue to plague him. Villa fans saw only 108 minutes from Jenas in three outings.
Adama Traore is a familiar face to Premier League fans for his performances at Middlesbrough Wolves, and Fulham. However, Villa was his first English club.
Four different managers used the explosive winger infrequently in an ill-fated campaign which saw West Midlanders drop to the second division with just 17 points.
Robert Pires scored one of his best Arsenal goals ever with a chip that he made over Peter Schmeichel in Villa Park, but most people don’t remember him from the short time he spent playing for claret-and-blue.
In November 2010, the Frenchman (then 37) signed a 6-month contract with Gerard Houllier’s team, but he was no longer the player who lit up North London.
Joe Cole (2014-16).
Joe Cole was already struggling to reach his former heights when he played for Villa in 2014, after ill-fated stints with West Ham and Liverpool.
Jack Grealish, a young talent who was then coached by the former West Ham and Chelsea star during a two-season stint at Coventry – one of those seasons was spent as he was on loan – was the biggest beneficiary of his mentorship.
Many of these names were there at the end of their career, but Kyle Walker was on loan to Villa from Spurs and played his first games in English Premier League.
The 81-cap England player is now a five-time Premier League champion with Manchester City. It’s safe to say that his promising spell in Villa wasn’t a false dawn.
Grant Holt 2014
Grant Holt’s January 2014 arrival at Paul Lambert’s Villa, a relegation fighting team from Championship Wigan feels just as strange now as it was then.
Replacing the goals of injured talisman Christian Benteke was always going to be a tall order for the striker-turned-wrestler and he scored just once in 10 appearances.
Gary Cahill (1900-08).
Gary Cahill, a product of Villa’s academy is one player that the club may see as a lost opportunity.
Martin O’Neill sent the defender to Bolton in 2008. He then went on to have a successful career at Chelsea, winning two Premier League championships and the Champions League.
Ryan Bertrand 2014
Ryan Bertrand played for the struggling Villa team in 2014, sandwiched between his appearance in the Champions League Final for Chelsea and his impressive top-flight stint with Southampton.
The left-back, who had spent seven seasons on loan at Chelsea prior to his move to B6, proved that he is Premier League ready by starting 16 out of 17 Villa games during the second half.
Idrissa Gueye (2015-16)
Idrissa Guieye, though a member of Villa’s notorious 2015-16 relegation team, was one of the few players to have emerged with some credit from that season.
After leaving Villa, the Senegalese International earned a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain because of his performance for Everton. He has been a consistent performer with the Toffees ever since he returned in 2022.
Chris Sutton was one of only two players who moved from Birmingham to Villa’s bitter rivals during the Premier League period.
There is no doubt, with just one goal each for both sides in 2006, that the best years of the striker were spent at Norwich, Blackburn, and Celtic before he arrived in the Second City.