Three Aston Villa players, who were involved in a fracas after their club’s annual awards ceremony, have apologised via a club statement.
James Collins, Fabian Delph and Chris Herd were involved in an incident at a nightclub in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after the ceremony which was held at Villa Park, reflecting on the club’s 2011/12 season.
All three players have been disciplined internally, although Delph was given a lesser punishment, after it emerged he was the peacemaker in the incident.
“The club dealt with this matter internally on Tuesday and the players in question have been disciplined.” confirmed the statement issued from Aston Villa.
“The fines are being split between two charities the club are promoting at the game against Spurs on Sunday – Cure Leukaemia and Anthony Nolan.
“Our players attended the club’s end-of-season dinner on Monday night and training on Tuesday was limited to players who did not start in Saturday’s Barclays Premier League game against West Bromwich Albion and those not carrying injuries.
“As a club, the players, management and fans are completely focused on Sunday’s game against Spurs at Villa Park.”
Defender Collins acknowledges that he should not have been in a nightclub with his wife that late and has taken responsibility for his actions.
“It was a misunderstanding and was resolved quickly but I understand how it looks and I apologise for that. As a senior, experienced player, I understand I am in a position of responsibility.
“I let myself get into a position in which I didn’t act responsibly and I apologise for this. It was Monday night, it was early in the week and I didn’t have training the next day.
“But I know I’ve let myself down, I’ve let the club down, I’ve let the manager down and most of all I’ve let down the fans of Aston Villa who have been great to me.”
Midfielder Herd, who has managed to break in to the Villa team this year and establish a place, also apologised for his actions.
“My actions on the night were out of character. Even if I felt at the time that the prior situation inside the nightclub had not been dealt with properly, it was no one’s intention to be involved in any trouble.
“In fact, we were accompanied by our girlfriends and wives. But I should not have acted in the manner in which I did.
“I’ll do everything I can to make it up to the club and the fans, as they have both been fantastic since I’ve joined the team.
“My immediate aim is to help the team to finish the season strongly and to secure our position in the Premier League.”
Delph, who has had his time at the Villains dogged by injury, expressed his remorse at the incident but has confirmed he tried to defuse the situation.
“I’m sorry for being out on Monday night, the early hours of Tuesday morning and I apologise to the club for this – the fans, the chairman, the manager and my colleagues.
“I am injured, I won’t be fit again until pre-season and I probably thought that going out would not carry any consequences.
“I was sober, I was in control of my actions and I did try to calm down the situation. I didn’t hit out or strike anyone but I should not have been there and I was wrong to be in this position.”
Villa play their last home game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday still not totally safe from relegation after a relatively poor Premier League campaign.