The media will talk about U-turns. The more sympathetic amongst the fanbase will discuss how “torn” Fabian must have been. The blinkered will only refer to the footballing reasons as to how Delph has departed Villa Park.
I sat, aghast as the story broke – and – like many Villa fans, scrutinised the early grainy photos purporting to show the Captain of Aston Villa Football Club, walking into a medical at Manchester City.
Surely not? But it all looked awfully legit…
And then reputable media outlets began leading with the story. Uh, oh. And the rest is history. Painful, typically Aston Villa, history.
Aston Villa can and will live without Delph.
He was a fantastic footballer for Aston Villa. We nurtured his raw talent. We coached a snappy, lunging & at times dangerous game out of him. We nursed him back to professional fitness after two near career ending injuries. We waited for him to develop, mature & become an England international. Villa made him captain of a football club with a glorious and illustrious history.
And then, he lied to every single person at Aston Villa. From the owner, to the tea lady, to the supporter who saves up so both he and his boy can go to a single, solitary, abysmal game served up at Villa Park season after season.
It is a person defining action from Delph. It is also an amateurish cock up of epic proportions from our football club.
Delph, simply, lied. He deceived every man, woman and child with even a passing interest in our historic club. He has disrespected our shirt, disgraced the Captain’s armband and consigns himself, with ease, to become a figure of indescribable hatred on the terraces. He also makes for a cringeworthy reminder as to why a footballer is easily the worst example of an idol for a youngster.
There are also many baffling and utterly incomprehensible issues.
Why did we, Aston Villa, fall to our knees and permit Delph a contract in January that provided such a get out clause? An £8 million pounds release fee? There are torrid footballers who no doubt command a greater pile of cash than this.
Who amongst us goes into work, negotiates a 4 and half year contract and then convinces their employer to drop that bad boy into their deal? I’m going to ask first thing Monday…I’ll appraise you of the results in due course.
I also apologise in advance, as I forget the author of a tweet that encapsulated Aston Villa’s contract management perfectly; “Only Aston Villa could sell an England international, to the worlds richest football team, for £8 million”. Forgive the paraphrasing, but you get the picture.
Sherwood, also, must be mortified. He stood, like a Cheshire cat a mere six days ago, clearly assured by Delph or whoever within Villa, that the matter was resolved. He now looks a prize wally. As does everyone. That’s just great isn’t it? And as for those “Big Club” social media images featuring Delph….sweet Jesus…allow the cursed ground to open up…
Who agreed to the release clause? And knowing it, why then promote such an absurd statement accompanying the contract renewal centred upon loyalty?
Further…yes there’s painfully more…having apparently convinced Delph to stay just last week [cue another absurd media statement]; which accomplished imbecile thought it was prudent to let the clause sit there unattended until…quelle surprise…a cash rich potential suitor waltzed in? It’s beyond idiotic…it should be confined to an asylum.
Baffling in it’s entirety, if any of the last six days were true at all. Perhaps we will never know.
Unfortunately, unlike Delph who is abandoning his heavily pregnant wife to fly to Australia, we are all stuck here.
Stuck here, wondering how Villa can top a week of professional public relations farce. Perhaps Carson Yeung will complete his takeover…
And hereafter, the piece is a little less tongue in cheek…
Aston Villa is, as a football club in the ‘modern’ era, seemingly constantly in “transition”. Forever talking about “re-grouping” or “going again”. There was a time when we meant business, acted upon it and occasionally threatened to win something. In reality, we are now merely existing as a football club, a shadow of our former selves.
Aston Villa are in the ludicrous situation of being envious of organised sides like Southampton and Swansea…and with the greatest of respect to both football clubs…how has it come to that? These are teams that have been afforded years in no mans land to not only out-think our football club, but bypass it with ease. Even Man City have been to hell and back since we have stood still & engaged reverse.
Villa still somehow manage to drag thousands of fans to B6, flog them merchandise, season tickets, blah blah…yet we cannot find or field eleven footballers capable of pressing on in the top flight. Indeed…at this rate eleven souls might be a tough call.
It is also a sad fact that many younger fans would look at you in total disbelief that Villa were once one of the greatest team in both the domestic and European game. It is incomprehensible to them, a tall story, soon, a myth.
We are now vehemently adhering to a dangerous roadmap, copying the flawed model of fallen “sleeping giants”; sleepwalking into obscurity.
As Benteke looks to move on as well, we are leaving ourselves wide open for the obvious and the inevitable.
This for me raises two issues, which boil’s down to one, over-riding problem:
We stand to lose our best players. Of those that remain, they have proven, largely, to be unfit for purpose.
Secondly, who will reasonably sign for Aston Villa? And of those that will, who will be good enough to improve upon fourth from bottom in the Premier League?
Tim Sherwood is either going to earn his money this season. Or walk away disillusioned.
Aston Villa will move on. Fabian Delph is not the greatest player to pull on the colours, he has not steered us to glory, nor had he earned the right to be recounted in anecdotes for years to come. As annoying as his departure is, he is replaceable & a footnote in a drawn out, avoidable, period of struggle.
But, he could have been so much more.
Villa is a listing ship, now minus its Captain.. But, like fans of any football team, we often follow those who rise to lead with hope.
We still want to buy into our players, our club, we believe that even in our darker hours that the impossible can be reality. And…it cannot get much worse…
Perhaps the latter is naive – and whilst nobody would begrudge a player a step up to better themselves – at least have the decency to say so. Be honest. At worst…say nothing.
We, as fans, might not like it, but you can pack your bags knowing you were true to yourself, your values and those who have thrown hard earned cash at your profession. Hell, even if they don’t do it on the terraces in person, their Sky subscription does.
So, an embarrassing conclusion to a drawn out and twisting affair. Proof that our club still isn’t run properly. We, Aston Villa, must do better.
But, when the dust settles, there is only one party whose reputation will be tarnished forever.
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