Andy Townsend was signed from Chelsea for £2.1 million to strengthen the Irish connection at Villa Park during the summer of 1993. He joined his fellow International players Ray Houghton, Paul McGrath and Steve Staunton as Ron Atkinson's intent was to strengthen the team, after Villa had finished runner's up in the Premier League to Manchester United. Andy had an outstanding debut, playing his part in helping Villa to win 4-1 against QPR.
During his first two seasons he played his part in helping Villa to win the Coca-Cola cup in 1994. In the 1994-95 seasons, after Kevin Richardson had been sold to Coventry, Andy was made Villa's captain.
Andy Townsend was starting to show the class and quality that he often showed for his national team, Ireland. At the same time, he also won over the hearts of the Villa fans and under Andy's leadership, Aston Villa had their most successful season for more than a decade.
During his early days whilst working as computer operator, Andy learned his trade in non-league football at Welling United, before moving to Weymouth. He had unsuccessful trials at both Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday. When discovered by Southampton, Andy was in his early 20's and decided to grab what might have been his last chance at top-flight football.
Having played for Southampton for four seasons, he then moved to Norwich City for £300,000. Two seasons later, he signed for Chelsea for a fee of £1.2 million, where he stayed for three seasons before moving to Aston Villa, having won no major trophies. By that stage Andy was an Ireland international player and had captained Ireland following Mick McCarthy’s retirement from international football.
Andy has subsequently left Aston Villa to sign a two-year contract at Middlesbrough for £500,000 and during his Middlesbrough career he helped the team to reach League Cup Final in 1998 which they lost to Chelsea. Andy Townsend played 43 full games and 2 substitute appearances for Middlesbrough and scored two goals. He left Middlesbrough on September 17th 1999 to rejoin his old boss Brian Little at West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £50,000.
When Brian Little left Andy Townsend was offered a coaching job at West Bromwich Albion working under Gary Megson but decided to retire from the game.
Now the former Republic of Ireland skipper has carved out a new and blossoming career with ITV having been commended for a very successful world cup in 2002. His playing experience and knowledge of football at the highest level is still very recent, so Andy has become one of the most sought after of the new breed of analysts in the electronic media. He has written as a regular columnist for the Sunday Mirror in Ireland, The Examiner and The Evening Herald.
A winner of 70 caps and captained his country a record number of times, Andy lead the Republic into the knockout stages of the 1990 and 1994 World Cups in Italy and the USA. Indeed he captained every team he played for, including Chelsea and Middlesbrough and during his time at Aston Villa they won the League Cup in both 1994 and '96.
During his time within the game he played alongside current Republic of Ireland Manager Steve Staunton for many years, as well as the new Middlesbrough manager, Gareth Southgate.
Being a highly respected professional, Andy has always been in demand, both on and off the pitch, and since retirement in 2000, he has been a guest on many television and radio programmes. He has presented for TW1, Radio 5 Live and Talk Sport amongst others and has made numerous appearances on programmes such as ITV's "On the Ball", "Champions League" and "Central Sports Special".
Andy has hosting "Playing Around" on Tyne Tees TV, where he interviews other sporting personalities whilst playing a round of golf.
Andy's warm and friendly personality coupled with his true professionalism and instant recognition, make him a popular choice for all kinds of commercial, advertising and endorsement work.
He also presenter a regular programme, "Weekend Breakfast Show" on “Talk Sport” every Saturday and Sunday and a regular on ITV Sport for Champions League and World Cup coverage