By Alex Taylor

Stan Collymore has praised Gordon ‘Sid’ Cowans after the coach left Aston Villa on Wednesday.

Cowans, 57, had three separate spells as a player for the Villans before joining the club’s coaching staff in 1998.

He enjoyed spells as first team and academy coach during Gérard Houllier’s reign in charge before being appointed the club’s assistant manager in 2014.

Collymore, who led tributes for Cowans via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, has become a respected voice among Villa fans in recent years.

The former TalkSPORT host was extremely critical of several Villa players last season as the club was relegated from the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Cowans, like Collymore, enjoyed a successful football career and won the Football League Cup, a Division 1 title , the European Cup and the European Super Cup in his time as a player.

Aston Villa released a statement on their website following the news of Cowans’ departure. It said: “It is with great sadness that Aston Villa Football Club announce that we are to part company with one of our all-time great players and servants, Gordon ‘Sid’ Cowans.”

Cowans himself said, “All good things must come to an end someday and it is right to make this change at this time.

“Although I will no longer be turning up to work for this great club, I will remain a lifelong supporter.”

In other Aston Villa team news, Villa have been handed a boost by striker Rudy Gestede after his national side failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.