There’s only ‘Juan’ Pablo Angel
Villa’s summer hunt for an out-and-out goalscorer got me reminiscing about some of my favourite former strikers. From Dwight Yorke and Christian Benteke to our very own Gabby Agbonlahor, Villa have had their fair share of Premier League Holte End heroes, but one man holds a special place in my heart, Juan Pablo Angel.
Are there three more thrilling words a fan can here than South American striker? I still remember the first whispers that grew to a cacophony of noise claiming that Aston Villa were about to part with a significant amount of money in return for a Colombian centre forward. Once the Birmingham Mail confirmed that John Gregory had got his man for what seemed at the time a huge £9.5 million, and pictured him holding the famous claret and blue shirt, I was instantly in love.
A solitary goal in his first six months was cause for concern as Juan Pablo struggled to adapt to life in Brum. However, this proved a mere blip as his first full season saw 16 goals and a place as Villa’s top scorer, a feat he would go on to repeat twice more. By the time of his departure in 2007, he was the 5th highest Villa Premier League goal-scorer and darling of the Holte End.
A total of 44 goals in 175 appearances isn’t setting the world alight, but for me Angel was so much more than his goals to games ratio. The Colombian had an infectious smile, an exotic name and even a headband, he created such excitement and joy for Villa fans my age (30) and of course there was that goal against Chelsea:
Fast-forward to now and I’m channelling my 11-year-old self and hoping Ollie Watkins and co can leave me head over heels again.
Up the Villa!