Feature: 10 Disastrous Modern Villa Signings… #avfc

We all suffer from memory loss.  Hell, as a Villa fan in recent seasons it might not be such a bad ailment to develop.  

However, in our quest to shore up the gaps, Villa have over the years acquired a certain type of journeyman footballer.  

The type of player who you once admired when they still had knee’s, fondly recalled them once playing a blinder against us…and will now will merrily remember with a simple…”we paid money for him?”

So here they are, Aston Villa’s “worst” signings / players of the modern era…

**Please note, this list, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, will exclude all mention of Bosko Balaban.  Here we go…strap in tightly…

10.  Oyvind Leonhardson.

Having played out a relatively successful career spanning the crazy gang of Wimbledon followed by Liverpool & Tottenham, the Norwegian signed for Villa in 2002.  The obvious warning sign was that Tottenham were happy for Oyvind to join us for absolutely nothing.  He remained at Villa Park for a solitary season, appearing 19 times & is remembered for…*ahem…

9.  Fernando Nelson

Many Villa fans will exuberantly recall Nelson as being a cultured, decent right back for the club.  In truth, many can only remember is outrageous 1970′s hairdo, straight out of a dated TV Cop drama.  Nelson played two steady seasons for Villa in the mid 90′s under Brian Little before returning to his native Portugal, where-after he was used sparingly.  Perhaps he was Portugal’s answer to Mark Delaney?

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8.  Carl Tiler

Ah yes.  A truly uncompromising defender.  He would not have looked out of place roofing your house, slabbing your drive… let alone shepherding the Villa rearguard during top-flight action.  Born in Sheffield, the tough centre half joined Villa for £750,000 from Forest.  Whilst very much a squad player in his two years at the club, Tiler will be recalled more for his agricultural approach more than anything else.


Najwan Ghrayib

Now we are into the meaty “what were you thinking?” purchases.  John Gregory, for all his likeable attributes, couldn’t pick a player to save his life.  John also had an eye for oversees howlers at great expense.  Having splashed out a £1 million English pounds on the “greatest left back” he had ever seen, Ghrayib looked genuinely surprised to be on a football pitch.  5 appearances & 1 season later, he was flogged for £150k.  And to think we wonder why Ellis wouldn’t sanction the Juninho signing…#facepalm

6.  Jean II Makoun

Has the crying started yet Villa faithful?  We were promised an unbelievably skillful, creative, combative…hell….we were told Pele was coming.  What we got was someone who masqueraded as a professional footballer.  Villa were kind enough to also part with over £6m if transfer funds for his services.  After Jean turned out to be utter toilet water – we promptly shipped him out on loan before dispensing of him for a nominal fee.

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5.  Sasa Curcic

What a player we signed.  The Serbian Cantona.  A tricky, exciting and terrifying player for Bolton, we fought off the competition to get him to Villa Park.  £4 million?  Bargain.  What panned out was an unmitigated disaster.  A handful of appearances from a player who promised everything but who was a shadow of the player who lit up the Premier League.  A wasted talent who never refound his form or appetite to succeed in the game.  Curcic will be remembered as a reality TV star, porn appearances & for buying a double decker bus for partying whilst on the books at Villa.  You cannot make it up.

4.  Habib Beye

The epitome, definition in fact, of the average, no, rubbish modern footballer conspiring to steal a living.  Someone at Villa, presumably having suffered a serious head injury, managed to shovel £9 million pounds of fee and wages in just over 2 years into this shower.  Those who need any further evidence of Martin O’Neill’s ineptitude and the clubs nativity at the time need look no further.  I’m still too angry to write anything more about this doorstop.  £9 million quid…think of the difference you could make to the world with that amount of money?  Habib Beye has it instead….

3.  Eric Djembe-Djembe

What is there to say that hasn’t already been said?  In the early, frantic, desperate days of transfer deadline day, this was Villa’s offering.  Having been practically driven to Villa Park by Alex Ferguson for £1.5 million, he immediately looked like he’d never seen a football.  So bad was Eric, that the jokes about him were not jokes, they were accurate recollections of just how poor a footballer he was.  His poverty didn’t extend to his playing ability however; Djembe-Djembe picked up 75k a month over 4 years at Villa/United but had largely frittered it away & was ultimately declared bankrupt, having bought, in classic bonkers footballer fashion, a load of tat.  Personal demons aside, he is genuinely up there as one of the worst footballers of all time; high praise indeed.

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2.  Stephen Ireland

So high up the list you say?  Damn right.  Remembered?  Barely.  So much talent, so little care given about showing it.  Ireland came to Villa off the back of Man City’s purchase of James Milner.  He immediately looked like a player who had been told to go to the Midlands against his will.  Despite this he secured Villa Supporters Player of The Year, but bear in mind that this was the McLeish season; so hell had frozen over.  Ireland was valued at £8 million as part of his switch, cost us a forture in wages & gave us mere glimpses of his earlier talent before joining Stoke…& immediately looking like a useful player again.

1.  Mathieu Berson

The coveted number 1 spot.  Why Berson?  Well, he had all of the attributes to be a success in the Premier League.  A fantastic passing range, a firm but fair tackler in the middle of the park; he looked the business.  However, a smattering of games in the Premier League after a long transfer pursuit was all we ever saw of him.  Berson never adapted to life in England & aside from a superb Man Of The Match display against Chelsea, just never cut it.  Two managers came and went & so did he – loaned out to Auxerre before his career petered into nothing.  A baffling waste of talent and effort for a player who promised so much.