By Graham Hill
WHEN Albert Adomah stared into the TV camera and shouted ‘We are going up!’ – you kind of suspected he would not be following his team-mates into the Premier League.
And that is one of the harsh realities of football.
A valued and popular character, Adomah has brought much to Villa Park since he was signed by Roberto di Matteo three years ago.
And few will forget his handstand goal celebrations.
But, in an ironic way, Villa’s win over Derby sealed Adomah’s future.
In the Championship, the 31-year-old winger might have had half a chance of earning a new Villa contract.
But Villa are shooting for the stars now and have money to spend. Boss Dean Smith is moving on and Adomah is one of the casualties.
However, a player like that is certain to find another club and he will doubtless continue his career in the Championship. He scored four times this season, and his final one came in the controversial clash at Leeds when Adomah was ‘gifted’ an equaliser by Marcelo Bielsa.
Another player on his way out is Tommy Elphick and, again, there is another harsh fact of the football world that counted against the ex-Bournemouth defender.
Elphick was recalled from his loan spell at Hull by Smith – but just as Villa’s 10-match winning run began against Derby in March, he got injured and missed a large chunk of the run-in
Again, with his contract coming to an end, it is doubtful whether Elphick would have been hired for a Premier League campaign. But he was denied the chance to stake a real claim.
Elphick, also 31, will look to stay in the Championship to further his career.
It is all a far cry from three years ago when he was club captain. But ex-manager Steve Bruce sent him out on loan and Elphick will be remembered as a player who earned huge respect in the dressing room but was hindered by injuries on the field.
Fans favourite Alan Hutton, 34, has also been released by Villa after an up and down eight year career which once saw him exiled from the first team because he was earning too much money!
Former owner Randy Lerner wanted the wage bill cutting and so managers such as Paul Lambert could not play Hutton.
Loaned out to the likes of Real Mallorca, Bolton and Nottingham Forest, Hutton revived his Villa career and was given the nickname ‘Scottsh Cafu’ by Holte Enders.
Yet he has responded to his release on Instagram by posting: ‘This club will forever be in my heart #utv’.
And he will always have cult status among Villa fans for his spectacular goal against Blues this season. As one fan put it on Twitter, ‘It’s no surprise to see Hutton go, so why do I feel like crying?’