Jack Grealish is not the first player to find himself in hot water at Villa Park.
Jack Grealish is currently under investigation for organising a party in a hotel room following the club’s goalless draw at Ipswich last weekend. The talented 21-year-old, who has already made the headlines for inhaling laughing gas last season, has been told to ‘grow up’ by his boss Roberto Di Matteo, speaking at the club’s press conference.
However, Grealish is not the first player shrouded in controversy to don a claret-and-blue top at Villa Park, and nor will he be the last.
Take a look at six controversial characters to have played for Aston Villa.
It seemed the stars had aligned when lifelong Villa fan Joleon Lescott made the switch from West Brom last summer at the age of 33. However, his arrival coincided with the club’s worst ever performance in the top-flight, slumping into the Championship on 17 points.
The former England international drew the ire of his home support for his below-par performances and did himself no favours when he tweeted a picture of his luxury car hours after a 6-0 loss to Liverpool. Lescott attempted to cover up his error by claiming that his phone had done it in his accident while he was driving, but supporters were not impressed.
Upon the confirmation of the club’s relegation, he unhelpfully described it as a ‘weight off the shoulders’, and subsequently drew criticism from former Villa players Stan Collymore and Paul McGrath.
It's hard to believe that Gabriel Agbonlahor is only 29 when he is in his 12th season at Villa Park. A first-team fixture during that time, he has made nearly 400 appearances for the Villains but his early promise has dwindled in recent years.
He was forced to step down as club captain last season after he was caught partying on the night his team were relegated. The 29-year-old was fined £100,000 and suspended by the club.
Earlier in the season he had been caught inhaling laughing gas despite being put on a two-week fitness regime to manage his fluctuating weight.
Stan Collymore has recently warned Jack Grealish of the pitfalls fame can bring, drawing on his own experiences at Villa Park. A boyhood Villa fan, his three-year stint at the club was blighted by poor form and bouts of clinical depression.
His boss John Gregory publicly questioned why the club splashed out £7 million on the former Liverpool striker ‘given his track record’ for off-the-field misdemeanours. With many fans questioning his lack of effort, Collymore was regularly booed during his time there.
The tale of Lee Hendrie should serve as a warning to any young professional footballer, as the former England international lost £10 million to gambling woes and tried to take his own life.
The midfielder made over 300 appearances for Villa during his 12 seasons at the club and was one of the rising talents of the Premier League.
However, disciplinary issues and a manic party life meant that his managers found it difficult to keep him on a leash. In one incident, he crashed his Porsche as he attempted to make a flight for a European game.
Having trickled down the football pyramid, from Daventry to Basford, Hendrie has seen out the twilight years of his career in the lower leagues.
Paul Merson was a popular figure during his four years at Aston Villa, helping them to the 2000 FA Cup final, but he has since admitted that he was fighting a losing battle with gambling at the time.
Speaking with the Birmingham Mail in 2011, Merson said that he ‘thought about breaking my fingers’ to stop him from phoning his bookie.
The colourful pundit lost £7 million during his career and he said that his lowest point came while he was at Villa Park.
“At that time in my life I’d blown around seven million quid with the bookies and I wanted so badly to stop but I just couldn’t - the next punt was always too tempting. Slamming my fingers in a door or breaking them one by one with a hammer was the only way I knew of ending the cycle. It was insanity really.”
While Mark Bosnich was a popular figure at Villa Park, he didn’t come without baggage.
The Australian shot-stopper was fined £1,000 and cautioned by the FA after he was found guilty of misconduct, upsetting Tottenham fans with a Nazi salute. The goalkeeper would apologise for the incident, claiming that it was light-hearted, but still ended up with a fine.
Bosnich’s misdemeanours stretched to filming a sex tape with four girls and team-mate Dwight Yorke, with the footballers dressing up as women.