You’re struggling for form, your boss thinks you’re fat and you cost £3million, so what do you do? Score a worldie against Man City if your name’s David Ginola.
One of the Premier League’s most entertaining wingers was struggling in The Midlands following his transfer from his beloved Tottenham in 2000.
In London, manager George Graham didn’t fancy him, but then John Gregory didn’t seem keen on him either at Villa Park.
“He has taken some time to get to full fitness and is carrying a bit of timber,” the Villa boss said of Ginola.
“Once he has shed that he should be OK. He is aware of the fitness levels that are required and it’s up to him to lose the excess.”
But then in December 2000, in what was just Ginola’s seventh start of the season, he saved Gregory and Villa from an embarrassing home defeat against City with a 25-yard goal.
His celebration was even better as he removed his top to reveal his toned physique and flexed his muscles in the direction of his boss.
Who ate all the pies? It certainly wasn’t Monsieur Ginola.
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But despite the goal, it didn’t get much better for him. In May, against Newcastle, the pair clashed when Ginola was substituted a few minutes before half-time.
The player, playing against one of his former sides felt he was being humiliated and let his anger show before walking down the tunnel.
Gregory left for Derby in January 2002 and then Ginola swapped a place in Villa’s reserves for a relegation fight with Everton, when Walter Smith signed him for free in February.
And after 18 months of unhappiness, the 35-year-old had a smile on his face immediately when Paul Gascoigne welcomed him to the club in a way only Gazza could.
“When I arrived, on the first day of training he wore a wig with long hair and kept saying ‘Because I’m worth it’,” Ginola recalled to talkSPORT, laughing at the memory of his former teammate.
It was in reference to the L’Oreal adverts Ginola had starred in during the 1990s and his tagline that accompanied them.
“He was hilarious,” Ginola added of Gazza. “The guy always had a joke to tell – every day. You could leave the dressing room and then 10 minutes later you could come back and he’d still be talking.”
While there was star power in the Everton dressing room, sadly, he wasn’t quite worth it for the Goodison Park faithful – however much they wanted it to work.
He played five times for them and then retired from playing.
Fast forward 20 years and both clubs are in a very different place as Steven Gerrard prepares to take on Frank Lampard in the dugout, which is live on talKSPORT.
Aston Villa vs Everton is live on talkSPORT at 12:30pm on Saturday 13 August
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