Watching your favourite player wear another team's kit is not the most fun experience a sports fan can have. Being a fan of Aston Villa in recent memory has meant that we've seen a bunch of the club's more beloved players leave. This weekend Aston Villa will welcome Leicester City to Villa Park. This will mean the return of Marc Albrighton to Villa Park. Marc Albrighton was my favourite player.
I have a bit of an odd soft spot for wingers. So when this small, young one came on and had a breakout performance on the opening day of the 2010-11 season, I immediately took a liking to him. And then he proceeded to back it up with several impressive performances over the next few months.
In the short time that I've been a hardcore follower and supporter of Aston Villa, Marc Albrighton was the first young player I saw breakthrough into the first team and have a real impact. Add in the story of him being a local kid and a Villa fan and I couldn't help but fall for him. Only a few months later, I bought a replica kit with "Albrighton" and the number 12 on the back. Not the first Villa kit, I owned, but it was my favourite. While the 2010-11 season wasn't all pretty, it was on the whole exciting and intriguing, and Albrighton was, for me, the biggest part of that.
The next few seasons saw him fall in and out of favor with several different managers. His contract was up at the end of the 2013-14 season. Seeing my favourite player in real danger of leaving the club caused me to get a bit weird. I decided to send the club daily reminders.
@AVFCOfficial Marc Albrighton— Matt Ferenchick (@MattF15) May 14, 2014
@AVFCOfficial Marc Albrighton— Matt Ferenchick (@MattF15) May 17, 2014
@AVFCOfficial Marc Albrighton— Matt Ferenchick (@MattF15) May 18, 2014
It wasn't to be and Marc left and signed with Leicester City.
@AVFCOfficial No I said Marc Albrighton you jerks— Matt Ferenchick (@MattF15) May 20, 2014
It wasn't the first time my favourite Villa player left. (My previous one was James Milner.) But this one was a little more sad, because it wasn't a player moving on to a club with Champions League or title-winning aspirations. And it was someone Villa probably could've kept if they tried. It was clear that Marc got a bigger and better offer and Villa didn't want to match it. There's really no one to blame on either side. It would be silly to turn down the offer Albrighton reportedly got and it would've been silly for Villa to match/better it. And while Villa could use a winger right now, it wasn't as if Albrighton was lighting the Premier League ablaze last season.
While I am most certainly going to be bummed if I have to see Marc Albrighton play in a Leicester kit, I've long accepted it. I hope he does really well at Leicester. Just as long as he doesn't score this weekend, that would suck.