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Premier League

Aston Villa trio Fabien Delph, Chris Herd and James Collins disciplined over nightclub fracas


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 today.

Wales defender 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 added: "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."