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Aston Villa fans must get over Gabby Agbonlahor love affair

Saturday 28th October 2017
Ahead of Sunday's Second City derby, Aston Villa supporters have been sharing old videos of the club's longest-serving player scoring against fierce rivals, Birmingham City. But should Gabby Agbonlahor still receive this much attention?
Agbonlahor's name is rarely mentioned nowadays unless there's a Second City derby on the horizon. His past record against the Blues ensures that's the case, not his current form. The 31-year-old's career spiralled years ago. His lofty wages scared off potential suitors, meaning Aston Villa are stuck with him until his contract expires next summer.

Despite past accomplishments, Agbonlahor has since tarnished any legacy with his unprofessional attitude. He still has a faithful following, though, willing to forget the bad and remember only the good. Why is that?

Agbonlahor has suffered poor form for years

Agbonlahor enjoyed the best times of his Aston Villa career between 2006-2010. He was involved in 67 goals during 148 Premier League appearances, missing only five matches during that time. His form led to an England call-up, subsequent caps, and also links with elite club sides. The forward resisted a move to Arsenal, citing loyalty to his boyhood club - to the delight of the Villa supporters. After that, Agbonlahor became a legend in many people's eyes.

But there was a real decline in quality after 2010, with Agbonlahor scoring only 30 goals in 183 games during Premier League and Championship spells. As a result, he lost his place on the side, along with his motivation it seems.

The Villa forward surprisingly signed a new deal in 2014. However, given his troubles since last putting pen to paper, it's difficult to imagine the club extending his contract beyond this season.

Off-field problems have soured relationship with the fans

Just a year after signing a new deal, Gabby Agbonlahor was in the papers for inhaling nitrous oxide, as well as for the pictures on his Instagram page showing him smoking cigars and consuming large quantities of alcohol. Other pictures emerged that showed him inhaling from a shisha pipe, sweating profusely as smoke billowed around the room. Agbonlahor was subsequently suspended by the club.

He also scored just one league goal all that season. Twelve months after signing a £3m-a-year contract, Agbonlahor's career had hit its lowest point.

A year later, and the veteran was in trouble again. Villa suspended him for participating in a drinking session only hours after they were relegated to the Championship. It is also worth noting that while his teammates were fighting for Premier League survival, Agbonlahor missed last seven games due to an internal investigation.

So why do some supporters still like him?

Agbonlahor has retained support due to his performances against Birmingham City. Aston Villa and the Blues aren't contending to win trophies, meaning this fixture is the season's most important for both clubs. Agbonlahor has a knack for scoring in the Second City derby - and fans never forget.
In ten games against Birmingham, Agbonlahor has been involved in six goals. He has tasted victory seven times, losing just once (EFL Cup quarter-finals 2010-11). Even during difficult times, the Villa forward still managed to score the winner in last season's derby on home soil. It is why fans want him back for Sunday's clash. They believe he's a good omen.

Their lucky charm, however, has made only 32 league appearances since the start of 2015/16 season, two fewer than he made during the previous campaign.

Agbonlahor is currently among Aston Villa's highest earners. He is also the club's all-time top goalscorer. But considering his past troubles, on and off the pitch, Gabby Agbonlahor is no longer the best player for Villa supporters to look up to.
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 329

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