Great players

Danny Blanchflower

Danny Blanchflower (born Danny Blanchflower) – Northern Irish footballer

Born in Belfast on February 10, 1926. He graduated from Ravenscroft Primary School. Received a scholarship to Belfast College of Technology.

At the end of World War II, he became a player in the Glentoran youth team. In 1949-1951 – the Barnsley player. In 1951, Aston Villa buys it, which was then actively rebuilt. Blanchflower becomes the captain and one of the main players of “Villa”.

But Dennis is experiencing real flourishing in Tottenham, where he moved in 1954 for 30 thousand pounds. A wonderful playmaker, Blanchflower became the leader of Tottenham. Under him, the club won the championship of England, won two England Cups and Cup Winners’ Cup. Blanchflower entered the official “dream team” and the Tottenham Hall of Fame.

For the Northern Ireland National Team played 59 matches and scored two goals (both in the Home Championship). Played on World Cup 1958

Finished his playing career in 1964.

His younger brother, Jackie Blanchflower, played for Manchester United.

In 1976 he led the national team of Northern Ireland. The team played very badly, did not pass at the 1978 World Cup and occupied the last places in the Home Championships. At the same time in 1978 headed Chelsea. Under the leadership of Blanchflower, he finished last in the first division. In 1979, he left both teams.

Тrevor Ford

Тrevor Ford (1923-2003) was a Welsh football player, from the city of Swansea. In 1950, when he joined Sunderland AFC for £ 30,000, he was the most expensive player in Britain. Ford scored 23 goals in 38 matches for the Wales National Football Team from 1946 to 1957.

Ford began his career with the club of his city, Swansea City AFC in 1946. After a season he joined Aston Villa FC of England. In 1950 Ford joined the Sunderland AFC for £ 30,000, and was the most expensive player in Britain. He returned to Wales in 1956 when he joined Cardiff City.

In 1956 Ford wrote his autobiography, and said that when he went to Sunderland, he was given illegals. That is why he was banned from playing in the league and joined PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands. But in 1960 Ford returned to Wales and spent his last season with the Newport County AFC of the third division.

Ford scored a goal in all of his first three matches with the Wales National Team, the first against Scotland on October 19, 1946 in Wrexham.2 He scored his only hat-trick on November 23, 1949 in Cardiff against Belgium, the first game of Wales at home against a selection outside the British Isles.3 His last game and goal was on October 20, 1956 against Scotland in Cardiff.4 It was banned when Wales played in the 1958 World Cup.

His total of 23 goals was the most for Wales until the 24th goal of Ian Rush in 1993. Rush finished his international career with 28 goals, the most currently

Stilijan  Petrov

Stilijan  Petrov is a former Bulgarian football player, a midfielder.

He began his career in the CSKA Sofia ranks. In 1999 he moved to Celtic, with whom he won four Scottish Premier League titles. In 2006 he moved to Aston Villa with his trainer Martin O’Neill. Here he became one of the team’s symbolic players, also taking on the captain’s armband.

He is the record holder for the Bulgarian national team (105 games played between 1998 and 2013).

In March 2012 he was diagnosed with leukemia, from which he recovered. In May 2013 he announced his retirement from competitive activity. In summer 2016 he returned to training with his club, but he was not offered a contract.

In 2005 Petrov wrote his autobiography in collaboration with the Scottish weekly sports journalist Sunday Mail Mark Guidi entitled “You Can Call Me Stan” (“You can call me Stan”). This in reference to the nickname with which he was called, Stan, in fact, abbreviated form of his name.

On March 30, 2012 it is announced that the player suffers from acute leukemia. Petrov had undergone medical tests following the illness he had suffered at the end of the 3-0 loss against Arsenal six days earlier.


The beginnings

Born in Montana, Petrov started playing in the local squad, PFC Montana. At 18, the scout Dimităr Penev, hero of the USA ‘94 World Cup, in which Bulgaria came 4th, noted it. The latter, who is currently coach of CSKA Sofia and was then an observer of the main Bulgarian team, brought him to the capital for € 30,000. With the soldier jersey he won the Bulgarian A PFG in the 1996-97 season and the Bulgarian Cup in 1997 and 1999.


In the summer of 1999, former English footballer John Charles Barnes, then Celtic coach, who takes him to Scotland for two million pounds, the highest price ever paid for a young Bulgarian, spots Petrov. As soon as he arrives in Great Britain he wins the League Cup, the first of many trophies that will win with the white-green jersey. The first period in Glasgow was very difficult for him, mainly because of his distance from Bulgaria and the fact that he could not speak English. To improve, he also worked in a truck of sandwiches owned by some friends, getting used to the Scottish life and trying to give his best on the pitch, despite the coach deploying him as a right back, role for him completely new and unexpected .

After the first season, in the place of the coach who had brought him into the SPL is named Martin O’Neill, which makes him find regularity (7 goals in 28 appearances in the league) and makes him important in 11 of the Treble of that year , in which he became the first foreign player to be elected Best Younger of the Year of the SPFA. In season, he also scored a glorious 6-2 goal for Ranger’s eternal rivals.

In the 2001-02 season his constant presence in midfield, a good barrier in front of the defense and a suggestion for the strikers’ cues is the extra weapon that leads the white-greens to their second consecutive Scudetto.

In his fourth season at Celtic, he began to rummage of interest in Bulgarian by some great clubs in Europe, but after a short time, Petrov signs a renewal with Celtic that silences every rumor. This is his most prolific season ever, in which he scored 14 times in 50 appearances. He also manages to reach his first European final (UEFA Cup), but he lost 2-3 against José Mourinho’s Port. In that year, then, he did not win any national trophy.

In the following two seasons with the Bhoys he became a pillar of training, scoring 19 goals in 105 appearances. In this two-year period he won twice the Scottish Cup and his third championship, and in particular in the 2004-05 season he won the title of “Player of the Year of Celtic F.C.

The 2005-06 season represents a major turning point for Petrov and all of Celtic. After 5 years Martin O’Neill, the most victorious technician of the last 20 years, leaves, leaving the place to Gordon Strachan. The beginning is not the most promising: in the first match of the new coach, the preliminaries of the Champions, the Scots suffer an irreverent 5-0 outside from the modest Slovaks of MFK Petržalka, then Artmedia Bratislava. The 4-0 return does not allow then to repair the damage done, and Celtic is eliminated from the competition in what seemed to be the easiest round to overcome. At the debut in the league, then, the Hoops manage to waste a 3-1 on Motherwell, drawing 4-4. But as the season progresses, Celtic recovers, and, after revenge against the Steelmen (5-0 at Fir Park with his first hat-trick), manages to reach the double cup and championship.

The 2006-07 season is the last of Petrov with the white-green jersey: after only 3 appearances in the league, in the summer market window is approached by many clubs from mid-ranking Premier, but at the end of the telenovela reaches the former -technical O’Neill at the Aston Villa, for the cost of 6.5 million pounds plus bonuses (for a total of 8 million).

In all, Petrov has collected in the 7 years of Celtic 312 appearances and 65 goals, winning the championship 4 times and the league cup and the national cup 3 times each. When he left Celtic he was the tenth most prolific gunner ever in the SPL, with 55 goals; at the present time it is twelfth.

Aston Villa

In April 2006, Celtic refused the request to be transferred by Petrov, and since then began to rummage of his transfer to the Aston Villa by his recently ex-coach Martin O’Neill. In fact, on 20 August, shortly before the end of the market window, Petrov joined the Villa Park for 6.5 million pounds plus bonuses, up to a maximum of 8 million.

Debuts on September 10th in the match ended 1-1 against West Ham. Towards the end of 2007, he changed his initial number 11 to 19. His first goal with the Villans jersey arrives on December 11, 2006, in the 2-2 against Sheffield United, but plays fairly irregularly for the first two seasons, with drops in shape and frequent injuries.

April 12, 2008 marks a wonderful network from midfield in the 6-0 to the already relegated Derby County. The goal was then named for the title of “Goal of the season”, and, after some assessments, it was confirmed that it is the goal scored from further away by a player of Aston Villa from the birth of the club.

The 2008-09 season is a great success for Petrov, whose most stable physical form guarantees him a steady position in the starting line-up, playing the first six games of the season in a row. On 2 October 2008 he played his first captain game, a UEFA Cup match against the Bulgarians of Litex Lovec, also scoring a goal.

In May 2009, Petrov is named “Player of the Year” by fans and players of the 2008-09 season, after his important presence in midfield during the season. On May 20, 2009 he signed a four-year contract renewal, which binds him to the Villans until 2013.

After the withdrawal of Captain Martin Laursen and the assignment of his successor Gareth Barry, Petrov was considered for the succession to the role of captain. Speaking to the Sunday Mercury about the issue, Petrov said that being a captain of a club with a long history and tradition would be a great honor [16]. On 25 July 2009 he played as captain of the Aston Villa in the Peace Cup against Málaga, hinting in the post-game that he could become a stable captain.

In the first match of the 2009-10 season (2-0 loss against Wigan at Villa Park) Petrov is captain; after the game he is depicted as the “skipper” of the team, linking his charisma in the team to the role of conductor who has, in fact, the “skipper” in the boating.

On January 14, 2010 he came second in the Bulgarian Footballer of the Year award.

On 24 March 2012 the Claret & Blue are on the pitch at the Emirates Stadium along with Stilijan who has been wearing the thin strip with the words “Captain” for three years: not a good day, Aston Villa is losing 3-0 against the ‘Arsenal. That will be Stilijan’s last game, because he does not feel well at all. Six days later, the news: Stilijan Petrov has an acute form of leukemia. Petrov retires after a week. On the day of his first spectator match sitting in the Villa Park honorary gallery, at the 19th minute the stadium began to applaud. The reason for the applause is to pay tribute to his career: in the minute corresponding to his shirt number, one of the historic theaters of English football with all his 34,740 spectators stops to encourage him.

On May 9, 2013 announces his retirement from competitive activity.

In 2013 he took on a role in the Aston Villa Under-21 technical staff and has returned to play some charity games.

On 23 June 2016, three years after the withdrawal, Petrov returned to training with Aston Villa in view of the 2016-2017 season, but he officially withdrew from football played on 22 August, not finding the agreement for the renewal of the contract with his team


Petrov made his debut with Bulgaria on December 23, 1998 in a friendly against Morocco. The match was played in Agadir and ended 4-1 for the North Africans. He scored his first goal in another 4-1 friendly, this time victorious, against Belarus, on 29 March 2000. On 12 October 2006 Petrov, then captain of the national team, announced the decision to withdraw from international competitions until the c.t. of Bulgaria remained Hristo Stoichkov. Six months later, on March 20, 2007, he publicly offered his apology to the c.t., making himself available again for the convocation. However, he did not become a captain until 2010, when Captain Dimităr Berbatov was appointed during his absence and, after his return, he decided to leave the band to the attacker.

With 105 presences collected from 1998 to 2013, he is the record holder for Bulgaria.

Sam Hardy

Samuel “Sam” Hardy (born August 26, 1883 in Newbold, Derbyshire, England, † October 24, 1966) was an English football goalkeeper and completed between 1907 and 1920 21 internationals for the English national team.

Hardy began his career in 1899 with the native Newbold White Stars. When he won in the final of the Byron Cup in 1902 against the reserve team of Chesterfield, he was hired by Chesterfield coach Jack Hoskin, after Hardy previously negotiate the original offer of five shillings to 18 shillings per week due to a parallel offer from Derby County could.

Hardy quickly earned a reputation as a reliable and calm goalkeeper at the second division side. His intelligent style of play, which was equal to his down-to-earth and well-balanced character, clearly set him apart from other goalkeepers, who drew attention primarily through spectacular defensive actions.

Due to his good performance in 1905, the newcomer from the Second Division Liverpool FC on Hardy attention and committed him for 300 pounds plus an additional friendly match, which should never take place. Already in his first season in Liverpool Hardy won the English championship and quickly got the nickname “Safe and Steady Sam” (in German: safe and stable Sam). The following year he made his debut on 16 February 1907 in a 1-0 win over Ireland at Goodison Park in Liverpool for the English national team.

Hardy played until 1912 in Liverpool and won in the meantime in 1910 a runner-up. His new club should be after 239 games for Liverpool then Aston Villa, with whom he immediately won the FA Cup. This success he repeated after the end of World War I in 1920, where he had helped a year earlier as a guest player for the second division Nottingham Forest to win the Victory Shield.

After completing his national team career in 1920, Hardy relocated his home to Chesterfield, which led to speculation about a change. Hardy, however, joined Nottingham Forest and rose with the club in 1922 as a second division champion in the English Elite League. After three more years in the First Division Hardy had to end his career in 1925 shortly before his 42nd birthday due to injury.

Hardy then worked until his death on October 24, 1966 as a hotelier in Chesterfield.

Archie Hunter

Archibald “Archie” Hunter (born September 23, 1859 in Joppa, Ayrshire, † November 29, 1894 in Aston, Birmingham) was a Scottish footballer. As captain, he led Aston Villa in 1887 FA Cup victory and first title in the club’s history.

Hunter learned to play football in his Scottish home at Third Lanark in Glasgow and Ayr Thistle, a predecessor of today’s Ayr United. From there, he originally wanted to join the factory team of FC Calthorpe in English Wolverhampton, but then let himself be persuaded by his compatriot George Ramsay, to switch to Aston Villa to Birmingham. At the time, Aston Villa was still in the build-up phase and was not the best address in youth football, but Hunter, as the future team captain, was to lead the steadily-reinforced Scottish-style team to the top of English football.

The first game for Aston Villa graduated from Hunter in October 1878 against FC Queen’s Park, which came along with the star players George Ker, Malcolm Fraser, James Richmond, Charles Campbell and John Kay to Perry Barr. Although he performed well with his new team and alongside his brother Andy Hunter, he clearly lost to the Scottish team. In the following decade Hunter was instrumental in helping make Aston Villa nationally a fixture. In his career, he scored a total of 33 goals in 41 cup games, in particular, the FA Cup success in 1887 can be mentioned. There he scored a goal in each round and his performance in the 2-0 final victory against West Bromwich Albion in the stadium The Oval on April 2, 1887 was classified in newspaper reports from that period as crucial to the title win. With the second goal in the last minute, he himself made the decision in the final.

After ten years at Aston Villa, where he had played only cup and friendlies, made the formation of the Football League in 1888 for the fact that Hunter first participated in a national championship round. In the first season, he won the vice-championship behind Preston North End. Significantly weaker started the following season, as Aston Villa settled in the lower half of the table. At the beginning of the year, the team had won only six of the 18 games and lost at Everton also clearly with 0: 7. Far more tragic than the result, however, was that Hunter collapsed shortly after half-time with a heart attack and had to end his career after only 32 league games in the young Football League. The dream of an international match for the Scottish national team could not be fulfilled – the Scottish Football Association had also always refused during this time, inviting in England playing Scots in the selection.

The heart attack hit Hunter so hard that he had to keep the bed in the future. The first English championship of Aston Villa, he experienced shortly before his death at the age of 35 years still. Whenever his state of health allowed, he asked to be raised in his bed to watch the spectators who were on their way to the game of his old club.

In later recognition of his status in early English football, the Football League Association named him the “Football League 100 Legends” in 1998.