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Sunday 23 June 2013

On this day in 1998: Unsworth agrees Villa move

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall the defender swapping West Ham for Aston Villa

  • The tough-tackling David Unsworth attracted the interest of Aston Villa in June 1998

  • But within two months of joining Aston Villa the full-back (right) was back at Goodison Park

  • At Everton Unsworth added 188 League appearances to the 114 he won first time round

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: 24 June 1998 David Unsworth joins Aston Villa

David Unsworth swapped West Ham United for Aston Villa in an ill-fated union that would barely last seven weeks.

Although the former Everton left-back had enjoyed a productive season at West Ham United under Harry Redknapp, David Unsworth's family failed to settle in London and so he had sought a move north.

With no offer forthcoming from the Merseyside club where he had spent the first six years of his career, Unsworth agreed to moved to Aston Villa on 24 June. However, when Everton did declare an interest in the player, he jumped at the chance to return to the club with whom he had won the FA Cup in 1995, and within two months was on his way home without making a single Barclays Premier League appearance for John Gregory's side.

Aston Villa reluctantly agreed for the full-back to move to Everton for the same £3m fee they had paid West Ham for the 24-year-old and he never looked back. Back at Goodison Park Unsworth, affectionately known to Blues fans as ‘Rhino’, rampaged up and down the left flank for a further six seasons, accumulating another 188 Barclays Premier League appearances and scoring 23 goals, largely from penalties and free-kicks.

Unsworth enjoyed subsequent spells at Portsmouth, Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic, famously scoring a penalty on his final Barclays Premier League appearance to keep the latter up against a Sheffield United side he had left months earlier and who, as a result, were condemned to relegation in a dramatic finale to the 2006/07 campaign.

To watch David Unsworth reflect on Wigan's dramatic last-day escape click here >>

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember the day in 1998 David Unsworth made a short-lived move to Aston Villa