MX23RW : Friday, January 18 02:01:09

On this day: Nigel Reo-Coker switches to Aston Villa from West Ham United

Eight years ago today, West Ham United midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker moved to Aston Villa in a deal worth £8.5m.

There was once a time when Nigel Reo-Coker was a popular figure among the West Ham United faithful.

Having arrived from Wimbledon in the winter of 2004, the midfielder was quickly appointed captain by manager Alan Pardew and he then went on to play a key role in club's promotion back to the Premier League in 2005.

Twelve months later Reo-Coker wore the armband as the Hammers went agonisingly close to winning the FA Cup, but soon after, he fell out of favour, both with new boss Alan Curbishley and the fans, many of whom questioned his attitude.

Such was the midfielder's level of disillusionment with life at Upton Park, a matter of days after he had featured in the Carlos Tevez-inspired run of form that miraculously kept West Ham in the top flight, he handed in a transfer request, having made 142 appearances in all competitions.

The East Londoners did not stand in his way either, and it was eight years ago today that the 23-year-old headed to Birmingham and Aston Villa in a deal worth £8.5m, which at the time made him the second most expensive signing in Villa's history behind Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel.

Speaking about his acrimonious exit from West Ham at his Villa unveiling, the England Under-21 international said: "It was an experience which has hardened me but I don't think it was an experience anyone should be forced to go through, like I was, at the age of 22.

"But it has made me a stronger character and I will now channel that in the right way. If people want to see me as obnoxious or bitter about what went on then that's their prerogative but my honest opinion was that I was hung out to dry."

Meanwhile, Villa boss Martin O'Neill said of his first summer signing: "I am absolutely delighted he is here and I think he is worth waiting for.

"We are very pleased. He is a terrific age and is young and vibrant and raring to go. I think he is an exceptional player who will be excellent for us."

After a bright start to life at Villa Park, a dispute with O'Neill saw Reo-Coker's starting opportunities limited. He regained his place under new manager Gerard Houllier, but despite making 30 appearances during 2010-11, he was released at the end of that campaign and subsequently switched to Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer.

Since then, he has also played for Ipswich Town, Vancouver Whitecaps, Chivas USA and Montreal Impact.

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Stiliyan Petrov of Aston Vliia in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on October 2, 2010
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On this day: Petrov signs for Villa
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds27166546281854
2Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27155746281850
3Norwich CityNorwich27148549351450
4West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom27138655352047
5Middlesbrough271210530191146
6Derby CountyDerby2712783834443
7Bristol City2711883429541
8Birmingham CityBirmingham2791263930939
9Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2791263931839
10Hull City27116103933639
11Queens Park RangersQPR27116103335-239
12Aston Villa2791174943638
13Swansea CitySwansea27107103632437
14Blackburn RoversBlackburn2791083541-637
15Stoke CityStoke2781183134-335
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2788113245-1332
17Brentford27710103937231
18Preston North EndPreston2779113944-530
19Wigan AthleticWigan2785142840-1229
20Millwall2777133343-1028
21Rotherham UnitedRotherham27510122542-1725
22Reading2758143041-1123
23Bolton WanderersBolton2757151840-2222
24Ipswich TownIpswich2739152246-2418

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