Fabian Delph caused a shock back in January by signing a new Aston Villa contract. He had been expected to leave for free this summer, but surprisingly signed a new four-and-a-half year deal.
At the time, the England international said: "I am a loyal person and committing my future will hopefully show everybody what type of guy I am. I love the club, I love being here and I want to put 100% into everything I do here. This is my club and I want to be here. That's why I am committing my future. I am here for the long run.”
Then, when Manchester City recently activated an £8million release clause in his contract, the Villa skipper reiterated his commitment to the cause, telling the club’s official website that he wanted to stay where he was.
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“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."
Less than a week later it was announced that Delph had joined City, and the sudden change of heart has not been taken well by Villa fans. Former Villa striker and lifelong fan Stan Collymore was very vocal about his feelings, telling talkSPORT: “I’m embarrassed as a Villa fan. I don't think it's the moving to go onto better things.
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"I think it's the fact that he's completely mugged off hundreds of thousands of Aston Villa fans. He's an absolute disgrace.”
Other Villa supporters have also made their feelings known. On Friday, a banner was left pinned to the gates of Villa Park with the words ‘DELPH YOU SNAKE’ spray painted onto it.
The Birmingham Mail reported on the reaction of Swedish fan Glenn Gothe, who posted a video showing him setting fire to a Villa shirt that bore the former captain’s name and number.
Not all have directed such vitriol towards the player however.
Former manager Paul Lambert told BBC 5Live: “I think Fabian has every right to change his mind whenever he wants to do it. I think it was really good the way he did it. The guy signed a contract thinking if I leave at the end of the season I'm not going to get the club anything.
"He signed a contract so the club could get some money back for him. I think people have got to look at that as well.”
It appears though that the £8m is little consolation to Villa fans, who only last week believed they had held onto their captain for at least another season.
With the exit of Christian Benteke to Liverpool also looming, these are worrying times for a club that finished only one place above the relegation zone last season. For the moment at least, it is clear who the Villa Park faithful are taking their concerns out on.
Villa fans, what do you think of Delph's move? Was it a betrayal? Or an act of reason? Let us know in the comments box below.
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