After his controversial departure from the club last summer, Fabian Delph should have expected some retribution from Aston Villa fans on his return to Villa Park.
That’s exactly what he got, as Villa supporters brandished toy snakes in the Manchester City midfielder’s direction throughout their FA Cup fourth-round tie.
You can hardly blame fans for acting bitter towards Delph. When talk of a move to City first emerged, the England player responded by expressing his intention to stay and proving loyalty remains in football.
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Six days later, he was a City player.
The toy snakes serve as a reminder of Delph’s unceremonious exit but it’s hard to imagine Delph caring one bit. For the wages he earns at City, he could probably buy a thousand toy snakes.
The 26-year-old has been forced to contend with the increased skill level at the Sky Blues, only starting four Premier League games.
It’s a far cry from his reputation at Villa, where Delph, who was born in Yorkshire, was adored by the fans and named captain for his final season at the club.
Delph had the last laugh, however. City won the game 4-0, thanks to a hat-trick from Kelechi Iheanacho and Raheem Sterling’s late strike.
The win means Manuel Pellegrini’s team are still competing on four fronts and, if Sergio Aguero can remain fit, they stand a great chance of securing multiple trophies.
Treble on the cards
Should City win at least three competitions, it would lead to an interesting scenario at the end of the season as the club are reportedly looking to replace Pellegrini with Pep Guardiola. Surely they couldn’t sack the Chilean if he wins the treble?
Although, as Delph proved, loyalty counts for little in football these days.