Thursday, 5 July 2007

Reo-Coker Departs

Aston Villa have completed the signing of Nigel Reo-Coker from West Ham. The two clubs agreed a fee - believed to be around £8.5m - and the England Under-21 international passed a medical and agreed personal terms this evening, before being unveiled by his new manager at a press conference. Reo-Coker made 142 league and cup appearances for the Hammers and is looking forward to a "fresh start" after a tough season at Upton Park. Amusingly, The Guardian claim the player was "liberated" from the East End by Martin O'Neill, which is true in the same way that a dustman liberates the rubbish sacks from your driveway.

"Football is my occupation and I love the game but I don't build myself up to be something I'm not. All I want to do is be successful," said Reo-Coker. "I'm not a superstar or a miracle worker. I'm a hard-working person and I give 100% in every game I play. The reason I joined this club is their aspiration to play in Europe. Martin O'Neill has told me what he is aiming to do and I believe we can achieve it. I enjoyed every minute of my time at West Ham but this is a new chapter, a new beginning for me. I'm hoping there will be a lot of success here."

Some supporters and critics turned on Reo-Coker and blamed the club captain for the slump in form as they spent much of the campaign in the bottom three before narrowly avoiding relegation. "It was an experience which has hardened me but I don't think it was an experience anyone should be forced to go through, like I was, at the age of 22," he added. "But it has made me a stronger character and I will now channel that in the right way. If people want to see me as obnoxious or bitter about what went on then that's their prerogative but my honest opinion was that I was hung out to dry. I do not know how West Ham fans will treat me when I go back to play there but whatever anybody says about me I know I have always given 110% for whichever club I've played for."

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