I'll come right out and say this: James Milner was my favroite player. Just a few months ago I recieved last season's away shirt with "Milner" and the number 8 on the back as a Christmas present. During the season I had a picture of him celebrating a goal as my desktop background. I joined every dumb, funny group on Facebook praising him.
Now he's off to Man City and I'm left favorite player-less. Do I go with the seemingly polar opposite in Ashley Young. Maybe I pick someone like Richard Dunne, a backbone player of this team. Maybe I go for randomness, and order a Moustapha Salifou kit.
While I'm still confused, I thought I'd go through my stages of who my favorite player was.
Stage 1: The Flashy Goal-Scorer
Most American sports are fairly high-scoring, including my favorite basketball. Basketball fans aren't normally drawn to the fifth starter who averages 10 points 6 rebounds and 3 assists a game. Their either drawn to the point guard dishing out flashy assists, the dominant center who runs the post, or the can create a shot out of nowhere shooting guard. When I found Villa in 2003, I wasn't drawn to a center back, or a holding midfielder. I went straight for the flashy goal-scorer, and back then there was only 1.
Favorite Player: Juan Pablo Angel (03-04 Season)
Stage 2: The Workhorse
As I got more into the game, I realized it wasn't all about scoring goals. The next stage for me was being drawn to the guy who never stopped going, and was never afraid to put in a long-range effort. Plus he had a fun name to say, and spoke with a broad German-Birmingham accent.
Favorite Player: Thomas Hitzlsperger (04-05 Season)
Stage 3: The Captain
Around this time I started to play out in the park with my friends. The position I always wanted to be was central midfieler, being a leader, and making the team move. This was also the low point for Villa, so only one man really came to mind.
Favorite Player: Gareth Barry (05-06, 08-09 Seasons)
Stage 4: The Backbone
This was round the time where I came to appreciate a good center back. He had an awesome beard, and a name that made him sound like a Viking Conquerer. You can deny this pick.
Favorite Player: Olof Mellberg (07-08 Season)
Stage 5: The Key Cog
He's the player that when he's working you're team is near unstoppable, when he's not they're pretty average. Now he's gone.
Favorite Player: James Milner (09-10 Season)
Oops, wrong video.