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Club Connections – Aston Villa

Of course on Saturday, Manchester United face a tricky game against Aston Villa at Villa Park. With that in mind it’s worth looking at 8 individuals who have both spent time at United and Aston Villa in their careers in the game:

Phil Bardsley

At the start of the 2005/06 season, injuries allowed a previously unknown and uncompromising full-back a run in the United team. Whilst the team were not playing scintillating football, nobody can say that Bardsley let himself down as he impressed.

Sadly though when the regulars returned, Phil never got another run in the team and was quietly sold to Sunderland in 2007 after being sent out on loan to Rangers and Aston Villa.  He has worked hard to beomce a first choice at Sunderland and is now Scotland’s first choice left-back.

Mark Bosnich

Australian Bosnich had two spells at United in between eight highly successful years at Aston Villa. The highly talented goalie first joined United in 1989 on a free transfer but after two seasons brought out his contract moving to the Midlands side.

By 1999 however he returned becoming Peter Schmeichel’s successor only to last a season in the role. The signing of Fabien Barthez effectively ended his United career. After being released in 2001 Mark joined Chelsea for a short spell before being sacked due to failing a drug’s test.

Eric Djemba-Djemba

When United signed Djemba-Djemba from Nantes in 2003, there were high hopes that the Cameroon international would grow into a tough tackling midfielder at United who could be called upon come rain and shine. After all, he had impressed playing in France.

Sadly Eric despite scoring two stunning goals in his first couple of games never looked the part at Old Trafford and after 18 months was sold to Aston Villa. After only 11 appearances he left the club in 2007 and after a short stint in Qatar signed for Odense in Denmark in 2008.

Dion Dublin

Dublin may have only scored 3 goals in 17 appearances for United, but the facts suggested had his career at Old Trafford not have been blighted by injury that given how his career panned out that he would have been a success long-term at the club.

Dion was a brave centre forward and scored 112 Premier League goals, as he went onto become a popular figure during his prime at Coventry City and Aston Villa. He ended his career as he started it, at Norwich and won the club’s fans player of the year award in his final season as a professional.

George Graham

Graham is of course best remembered for his time in charge of Arsenal where he formed arguably the best British back four of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Despite that it’s easy to forget that he was a good solid midfielder who gained the captaincy at United following Bobby Charlton’s retirement.

During his time at Old Trafford he was often criticised for his ‘relaxed’ style which often found United wanting in the middle of the park. Before joining United from Arsenal, George spent two years at Chelsea in the 1960’s making his name as a solid midfielder after joining them from Aston Villa

Jimmy Rimmer

Being a second choice goalkeeper at any club can be a frustrating experience for most goalkeepers. Rimmer despite having great ability in goal had to play second-fiddle to the great Alex Stepney during his time at Old Trafford.

After impressing out on loan at Swansea, Jimmy moved onto Arsenal before winning a European Cup with Aston Villa where he was the Midlands side’s undisputed first choice keeper before ending his career with the Swans who he would later go onto manage in a caretaker role.

Peter Schmeichel

The man they called ‘The Great Dane’ Schmeichel joined United in 1991 and arguably went onto become the club’s most iconic goalkeeper of all-time. He was big, brave and nasty and had a habit of pulling of outstanding saves just when the team needed it the most.

His final game for the club came against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final where he famously helped set up Teddy Sheringham’s goal on the night. After two years out in the sun at Sporting Lisbon he returned to England playing for Aston Villa and Manchester City before retiring.

Dwight Yorke

Few players have such had a dazzling first season at United than the smiling-sensation that was Yorke. A proven Premier League goalscorer for Aston Villa, the Trinidad & Tobago star joined United in the summer of 1998 for £12.6m much to the anger of Villa manager John Gregory.

After scoring twice on his home league debut, Dwight never looked back and formed a sensational partnership with Andrew Cole that would help United win an historic treble in 1999. After leaving Old Trafford in 2002 as a result of his form dipping, Dwight ended his career at Sunderland.

Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87

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