When the French defensive midfielder Yacouba Sylla was signed from lowly French second division outfit Clermont Foot, in the January transfer window, most Villa supporters were thinking WTF? Villa needed more midfield bite, but our expectations were set a little higher than another inexperienced young gun.
It wasn’t a great sign that the 22-year-old was given the dubious task of wearing Emile Heskey’s old number 18 shirt (it’ll be interesting to see if he pips Heskey’s goal tally for the club).
While only making 10 league appearances so far for Villa, his presence in the team led to Villa’s best form of the season, as he helped the team steer clear of relegation. Athletic and tidy in midfield, while not too dynamic going forward, Sylla certainly helped Villa’s ball retention and the closing down of the opposition. In short – he made the team more solid and compact.
Off the field, Sylla became big buddies with Christian Benteke, with the two inseparable at the club. Maybe he played a cameo role in keeping Villa’s top striker at the club. Perhaps his greatest contribution though, came immediately on his debut away at Everton last February, when the Yacouba Sylla song was born. It’s a song that is guaranteed to get any away day party started!
Yacouba Sylla Song
“Sylla, Sylla, Sylla, he’s loves the f**king Villa, the Villa, the Villa.
The chant soon turned into an away day classic, as was seen at the recent Wycombe Wanderers friendly (after the Benteke song in the video)
The player himself gave the supporters’ chant the big thumps-up on twitter recently, which will only boost the song’s popularity
What Sylla probably doesn’t know though is once the song gets going, it’s hard to stop, as was the case away at Stoke last season (see video below).
(Warning: shaky cam)