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Marlon Harewood - Cult Hero!?

Marlon Harewood - Cult Hero!?

Anyone who last summer saw stories in the media linking Villa with a move for Marlon Harewood could have been forgiven for dismissing the reports as either bad journalism, or else a bad joke. Having entered the transfer window with high expectations, by the close I found myself wondering whether Paul McKenna had begun moonlighting as a football agent. Although part of me had religious faith in Martin O'Neill's judgement, a much larger part was absolutely devastated that having been linked with the likes of Javier Saviola all summer, we instead spent 4million on a player who I felt was a good championship striker at best.

Those fears were certainly realised in Marlon's early performances for us. Most notably away to Spurs where his introduction when we were 4-1 up with just 24 minutes left to play was, in my opinion, the single most important factor in our throwing away of a seemingly insurmountable 3 goal lead. Up to that point we had looked relatively comfortable, but his complete lack of a first touch and total inability to hold the ball up was not only frustrating, but even embarrassing to watch at times. More importantly, it meant that we could not relieve the Spurs pressure which therefore resulted in wave after wave of sustained attack, and the rest is (nightmare-inducing) history.

Seemingly MON shared my, and I suspect most other Villa fans view on the matter, as from what I can remember Marlon didn't even feature on the bench for a number of games after that. At the time I thought that would almost certainly be the end of his Villa career and he would be farmed out on loan or, even better, sold in January.

However, you have to give the guy an enormous amount of credit for the way he has turned things around and shown some serious bouncebackability. He's obviously put in a tremendous amount of work on the training ground and is finally using his muscular physique to his advantage rather than looking like Emile Heskey in a blindfold. He now looks like the kind of player that defenders wouldn't fancy playing against, and I'm sure the kind of player MON thought he was signing in the summer. He's been running tirelessly and competing for balls, as well as popping up with some crucial goals like those against Liverpool and Reading which won us valuable points.

Most of all though, I've been impressed with his attitude and great display of professionalism. Not moaning to the media when he's not playing, giving 100% commitment and realising that by being an impact
player coming off the bench he is not just playing second fiddle but actually giving the team a crucial extra dimension.

I never thought I'd say this, but now I'm actually pleased when I see Marlon Harewood's number 9 held up, or even when he's in the starting line up and hope he sticks around to do a similar job for us next season.

I'd still like Saviola though.




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The Journalist

Writer: SchoolBoyError  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday April 11 2008

Time: 8:47AM

Your Comments

Well written, Marlon to start at the weekend!!
Villan444
I remember when he stuck 3 passed us for WHU in O'dreary's days, so was quite pleased when MON splashed the cash. Yes, his early days were grim, but this guy deserves a full run-out for sure. I wonder if he and Gabby could forge summert special?
claretandbluestu
Marlon for England
neilav182
Never really criticised the signing, apparantly Villa have a small squad, and I saw him coming in to add depth, not be our number one striker. Think he has done that, and good luck to him. He is certainly becoming popular, Petrov may follow suit. Marlon for England!!
young_jonah
It is a rare and very valuable commodity to be able to come off the bench and change a game. Marlon has displayed that quality. I'm not convinced that he is good enough to start matches if we are going to continue to progress, but he has proved to be an excellent squad player, and can frighten tired defenders with his power and pace in the last twenty minutes of a match. Great attitude too.
krfeskivilla
I'm sorry, i love th Hare as much as anyone, but never complained? I remember reading an article saying that, although he's happy to do whatever he can for the team, he wants to be starting football matches, not just coming on off the bench. That's about as much complaining as Reo did earlier in the week, and he got absolutely villainised for it. But still, aside that, Marlon has done terrific for us and has definitely given us something up front late on when Big John periodically dies on his feet. Cult hero indeed.
AstonMartinOneill
Coker was in the team and still moaning (although not in his chosen position which is up to MON and he shouldn't question) whereas Marlon came off the bench and scored or changed the game at both Liverpool and Newcastle and just said how he would like a start after he didn't play for weeks while he was getting over the Spuz game. Coker likes talking more than most AMO and as for that soulja boy dancing, perhaps MON should do what Fergie does and ban parties and alcohol etc, you can't compare them.
Villan444
feed the hare, end of.
Stig
Good article, disagree on one or two points, but I get where you're coming from. I cant quite get fully involved in this 'cult hero' stuff I'm afraid, because I think we're all going a little bit overboard here. I'm not anti-MH, far from it, and thought he was a sensible signing, a point I attempted to make on the forums when his putting pen to paper received such an outpouring of abuse from the vast majority. He's a good squad player, a good lad to have on the bench, but is he good enough for regular first team action? Personally I think not. Actually I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to see him move on in the summer.
glensider
Scored again today didn't he!
merlin
Great Article Mate, Welcome to Vital Villa
TuBBz
You do have to wonder just how many goals MH would have bagged if he had had more starts. His goals total is pretty impressive right now, considering the amount of time he has spent sitting on the bench.
glensider
 

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