Juan Pablo Angel - Villa Fan!
Juan Pablo Angel, Villa striker no more, has spoken of his time at Aston Villa and of the new manager. Makes for good reading, so nice to see a player leaving with good grace and no rancour. That said, he was always the ultimate professional as far as I could see, whether playing, on the bench or dropped from the squad, he always seemed to conduct himself with dignity and didn't whinge or cause trouble.
He told the official site:
'That was without a doubt my best season (23 goals in 2003/4) and I think, since I've been here, it was the best season for everyone. I had a great time and we really enjoyed the way we played that year. Unfortunately we couldn't live up to the expectations the year after, but I think that has probably been the case for most of my time here. We have been very inconsistent performers with one good year, one bad year. I think what this club is looking for now is just to be consistent year in, year out.'
'Hopefully Villa can start challenging for Europe - I think that's where this club deserves to be. My one big regret is that I wish I had played in Europe more with Villa. We had the InterToto Cup when I first came and one game in the Uefa Cup, but I would like to have played more European football. Maybe that can come soon for this club. Another big disappointment is that we never won a trophy. I will always have great memories of Villa but the fact is people will remember you if you win things and that is the sad part of this period.'
He also says that Martin O'Neill is the man to take Villa forward and says he will keep an eye on Villa as he is a Villa fan now.
The 31-year-old Columbian added:
'I think this club has a huge potential and I think this new era is going to make a big, big difference at this football club. I will be looking at the Villa website to see how the club does. We made a good start under Martin O'Neill. Everyone was buzzing because of the new manager. Martin's pedigree speaks for itself and when he took the job we couldn't believe it. I wish these changes had happened three or four years ago but the fact it is happening now is exciting for everyone. It needed some changes and I'm sure the manager and the owner will do everything possible to make the club successful and take it to where they want it to belong.'
And finally he said: 'So I have a new opportunity, but I would wish the club well. I wish Martin, his coaching staff and all the people at Villa all the best in whatever they do.'
Be nice if he can pop back and bid the fans farewell properly, the poll so far is showing great support for him saying he will be missed as a Holte End cult figure.
Meanwhile Martin O'Neill is working hard looking at who to bring in to boost the squad ready for next season. The Villa boss says, following Angel's departure:
"Does it open up a space here? I would think we'd be trying to strengthen anyway, to give us a decent squad. I wouldn't want to be stuck in the same mode as we were in November/December of this year when we just didn't have the numbers, never mind anything else. We could have done with a transfer-window in November, but it just wasn't to be."
"Other people will be better judges than I am about Juan Pablo being value for money. He had one fantastic season where he scored over 20 goals. He has been very popular with the fans. Every time he's warmed-up the supporters have given him a big cheer and when he's played in the games they've been supportive. In terms of attitude I've had no problems. He seldom misses training with injuries and stuff. He's been great to have around the place."