McLeish grapples to regain control after trio's fracas


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The Independent Football

The Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has branded the actions of three of his players caught up in a nightclub fracas a "slur" on the club.

James Collins, Chris Herd and Fabian Delph have been disciplined following their involvement in the incident during the early hours of Tuesday morning which followed Villa's annual awards dinner.

Collins and Herd are understood to have been fined two weeks' wages, with Delph's punishment halved as he was acting as a peacemaker.

The trio have apologised for their actions, yet McLeish concedes it is the last thing he needed ahead of his relegation-threatened team's pivotal match against Tottenham tomorrow.

McLeish, who has vowed to "snuff out" such behaviour from his players, said: "It's a slur on the club. It reflects badly on [club owner] Randy Lerner, the club, myself, but most importantly it reflects badly on the players in the team themselves and the respect they should have for their profession.

"We knew about it on Tuesday and some players broke the rules so we acted very swiftly on Tuesday. We're very disappointed.

"There was no alcohol at the players' tables and I thought – I must be naive – they'd all go home. I was shocked to hear the news. I thought, 'What on earth possessed you to go out?' Incredible.

"It happens at every club. It happens at even the top clubs. It's the culture of one pint too many.

"I could be doing without this. It makes it all the more baffling [considering the club's position]. They owe me, Randy, and the fans a massive performance. We are looking for a siege mentality."

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. I was wrong to be in that position."