All bow for Juan Pablo Angel.
Every club has its cult heroes. Football would be nothing without them; soulless, pointless, passionless and all the other less’s out there. Southampton had Matt Le Tissier, Liverpool had Dirk Kuyt, Manchester United had Diego Forlan, Blackburn had Tugay and, most importantly, Aston Villa had our man in question, Juan Pablo Angel.
The Colombian may not have got off to the best start following a record £9.5million move from River Plate, but surely that makes what follows so utterly special? A comeback tale we can all get behind. Honestly, who doesn’t love that?
Sometimes all it takes is one goal to book yourself a spot in club folklore and Angel’s first and perhaps most memorable goal for the Villans arrived on the final day of the 2000/01 campaign against Midlands rivals Coventry.
The Sky Blues had been competing in the top flight of English football for 34 years before the South American popped up at the back post and half-volleyed home the goal that would ultimately hand the club a sentence of eighteen years (and counting) of football league mediocrity.
Their misery was, and still is, oh so sweet in the morbid kind of way us football fans seem to love.
Villa’s No.9 hit the ground running from thereon. The Premier League bore witness to a man who commanded an absolute talent for heading the ball, as well as the usual generic traits we all love to see in our favourite players; speed, strength, passion and willingness.
While statistics aren’t the be all and end all when it comes to securing cult hero status, it helped that the South American grabbed himself 16 league goals during the 2003/04 season – and 23 in all competitions.
The following campaign wasn’t as fruitful we admit, but he still hit double figures and a fine goal against Chelsea ensured that he will remain a prominent figure in Villa’s history.
Villa fans, what are your standout memories of Juan Pablo Angel? Let us know in the comments below…
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