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My Favourite Villan: Lucy Finney on Gabby Agbonlahor
Feature series continues.
4th Mar 2013
My Favourite Villan: Lucy Finney on Gabby Agbonlahor


We have asked members of the claret and blue family - celebrities, fans, journalists, staff - to give us their all-time hero. AVTV producer Lucy Finney explains why Gabby Agbonlahor is so special, on and off the pitch.

There are a few reasons why I have chosen Gabby Agbonlahor as 'My Favourite Villan'.

There is the obvious, such as the fact that he is the longest-serving current player. He was born in Birmingham and became part of Villa's illustrious academy at the age of eight, so Gabby really has grown up with the club. You could say that, like many of our fans, claret and blue is in his blood.

Then there is the fact that Gabby has scored his fair share of notable and memorable goals for the club.

Like most Villa fans, my favourite goals are the ones scored against Blues and Gabby has a knack of scoring against our local rivals, the best for me being the fifth goal in the 5-1 in April 2008.

As a local boy, he's well aware of the rivalry and I am sure he feels what every single Villa fan feels at that moment the ball hits the back of the net against Birmingham City.

Then there was the perfect hat-trick he scored against Manchester City at Villa Park on the opening day of 2008-09 season, when he scored with his head, his left foot and his right foot.

Those three goals came in eight minutes, which made it the second fastest hat-trick in Premier League history and the first Villa opening day hat-trick since Pongo Waring hit four against Manchester United in 1930.

Speaking of Manchester United, his goal against the Red Devils in December 2009 was also a particularly significant one as it marked Villa's first league win at Old Trafford since 1983.

Then, probably the most important reason I have chosen Gabby as 'My Favourite Villan' is the fact that I have had the chance to spend time with him away from the pitch.

Due to the club's partnership with Acorns, I'm lucky enough to make frequent visits to the three hospices and never get tired of seeing the smiles on the children's faces whenever one of the players walks through the door. It really is one of the highlights of my job.

Gabby has visited Acorns on numerous occasions and met the Acorns children and their families countless times, so there couldn't be a more fitting club ambassador for this wonderful charity.

The last player visit I attended was at Selly Oak when Gabby, Stephen Ireland and Ron Vlaar dropped in and met up with Villa-mad Moin Younis and his family.

Thirteen-year-old Moin suffers from a life-limiting condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa. He and Gabby have formed a close friendship over recent years and whenever they meet up there is always a lot of banter flying around - and Moin is certainly not afraid to tell Gabby how it is!

On the most recent occasion it was Gabby's watch that came in for some stick from the young fan.

After asking Gabby whether he could try it on, Moin looked down at it on his own wrist and told Gabby that he has been well and truly ripped off.

Then he added that Gabby could wrap it up and give it to him for Christmas!

As always, the striker took it in good humour - and then helped Moin give Ron a tour around the hospice.

It's not just performances on the pitch that make a top-class guy!

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