Just days after committing his future to the club, captain Fabian Delph decided to leave in an £8 million pound move that took him to Manchester City. This alone would have sparked a little anger from fans after his statement about loyalty when he signed a new contract in January but, after what he said six days before leaving, fans are furious.
Delph really couldn’t have looked any more foolish in the process of completing this move. On July 11th, he issued a statement, saying:
“I’m aware there has been intense media speculation surrounding my future in the last twenty-four hours and I want to set the record straight. I’m not leaving. I’m staying at the football club and I can’t wait for the start of the season and captaining this great football club.”
Now that he has joined Manchester City, he claims that the initial decision to stay at Aston Villa was because of his love for the club and that meant he wasn’t thinking of his own future:
“Leaving Aston Villa Football Club is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I have had some amazing times and made great friends during my time at the club. I will always be thankful to them for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League.
As has been widely reported, I initially turned down the opportunity to join Manchester City. That decision was purely down to the love I have for Aston Villa and their great supporters.
When I was made captain of Villa it was a huge honour for me and I took the responsibility incredibly seriously. I signed a new contract last season with the view of staying at the club for the duration of the deal and never with the intention of leaving a year later.
My decision to stay initially was purely based on the emotion and feelings that I hold for the club and the people there rather than looking at the football opportunity that had been placed in front of me.
I have been immensely proud to captain such a great club and want to thank everyone at Aston Villa – most importantly the fans – for the amazing support they have shown me during my time there.
I am now excited for the future with Manchester City and helping the club to succeed in the coming season and beyond.”
This incredible U-turn means most Villa fans have lost the respect they had for Delph and his duplicity has sparked a lot of anger, which fans of a range of clubs have expressed online.
I am surprised that Delph has moved to City considering that two former City players are in our squad, both of whom had their careers put on hold at the Etihad, where they ended up as bench warmers before being shipped out on loan. I would have thought he’d have learned a valuable lesson from Richards and Sinclair.
Also, the £8 million that we are getting out of this deal is below what you could expect for a player like Delph. That is what we paid for him when he was young and still had a lot to prove. If he is good enough for City and good enough for the international squad, he must be worth more than £8 million. While £8 million is better than nothing, it leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth.
Delph, referred to as ‘the new Judas’ by one fan, may well have had mixed emotions about his move to Manchester but his lies about loyalty are what have enraged fans. I can guarantee that Delph will be booed by thousands of Villa fans the next time he visits Villa Park – and he deserves it. Once again, we have seen that talk is cheap and that loyalty is as rare as silverware at Aston Villa Football Club.
Fabian Delph can be replaced. In fact, his replacement is waiting in the wings and could prove to be a better player before long. What will be more difficult is Delph restoring his reputation and progressing as a footballer – but that’s his problem, not ours.