Aston Villa players apologise for part in nightclub fracas
ASTON Villa have disciplined three members of their first first-team squad for their part in a nightclub fracas during the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Midfielders Fabien Delph and Chris Herd and central defender James Collins were involved in the incident hours after the club had held their annual awards ceremony at Villa Park.
The incident occurred at 2.45am - just five days before relegation-threatened Villa's crucial home game against Tottenham.
All three players have apologised via a club statement.
It is understood Delph has been dealt with more leniently by Villa as he was acting as a peacemaker.
Villa, in a club statement, confirmed: "The club dealt with this matter internally on Tuesday and the players in question have been disciplined.
"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."
Villa manager Alex McLeish is certain to face questions on the matter when he addresses the media this lunchtime ahead of the Tottenham game.
Welsh international Collins said: "I'm sorry for what has happened and I take responsibility for my actions. It does not show me in a very good light and does not put the club in a very good light.
"I know I should not have been out in a club with my wife after the end-of-season dinner at that time in the morning and I was wrong to be in that position.
"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."
Herd, who has established himself as a first-team player this season, said: "I would like to apologise for what happened on Monday night and I apologise for being out at that time.
"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 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.
"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."
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