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So what should we make of Gabby's grovelling?

THE WORDS Gabby Agbonlahor has found most of the right words to express his contrition.

'Aston Villa' looms large after several mentions in his statement, intended to underline his love for his boyhood club.

Forgiveness, passion, apology, local.... all of those words feature.

There's a nod to the press, of course: "I'm hurting as well despite reports and photos in the press making out otherwise."

Hurting? We hear you Gabby - all that smoking, hippy crack and booze must take its toll.

THE TIMING The art of a great centreforward is all about timing. Rather than rushing in and issuing an apology for his no-show this season, rather than saying sorry for the Dubai shenanigans, rather than showing remorse when news of his relegation-day session was revealed, rather than holding his hands up for being unfit for purpose when he was placed on a fat camp fitness programme near the end of the campaign, rather than any of that, his words of sorrow come half-an-hour before the club's disciplinary action against him is announced.

A cynic would say he was forced into the apology, but you would struggle to find any cynics around Villa Park nowadays.

They no longer feel the need to be pessimistic now that most of their worst fears have already been realised.

Aah, the classic pointto-the-badge picture. Gabby didn't go for the whole badge-kissing photo - that would have been too contrived! He picked out a snap from the halcyon days (yes, even the McLeish year was a glory era compared to now). Probably for the best he didn't choose an image from this season - as it would not be particularly flattering.

MAT KENDRICK

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 29, 2016
Words:276
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