May 4 2012
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish believes the behaviour of Fabian Delph, Chris Herd and James Collins in an incident at a nightclub earlier this week is a "slur on the club".
The trio have been disciplined by the club for their part in a nightclub fracas during the early hours of Tuesday morning which followed Villa's annual awards dinner. The players have apologised for their actions, but McLeish is clearly still very unhappy about the unwelcome attention it has brought.
He said: "It's a slur on the club. I feel for (club owner) Randy Lerner and the fans of Aston Villa Football Club but the players need to show some respect for themselves and the football club."
The trio were fined for their conduct, although it is understood Delph was treated more leniently after acting as peacemaker in the incident. McLeish added: "We knew about it on Tuesday and some players broke the rules so we acted very swiftly on Tuesday. We're very disappointed. We won't tolerate that kind of behaviour."
Speaking about Herd and Collins, McLeish added: "If selected I think the most important thing is that they've been punished. They've shown a bit of humility which is the least we can expect. It happens at every club. It happens at even the top clubs. It's the culture of one pint too many.
"I think it reflects badly on Randy Lerner, the club, myself and most importantly the players themselves. They owe us. They have to give us a performance that we will be proud of."
All three players issued apologetic statements earlier on Friday. Wales defender Collins said: "I'm sorry for what has happened and I take responsibility for my actions. I let myself get into a position in which I didn't act responsibly and I apologise for this."
Herd added: "I would like to apologise for what happened on Monday night and I apologise for being out at that time.
"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."
Delph, who has been dogged by injury problems in recent seasons, said: "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."