Bouma: O'Neill threat saved my Villa career
He confessed: "When Martin O'Neill threatened to dump me, that's when it really hit me that I was failing. I remember saying to myself 'Do I play or do I go?'
"I decided to play and I started to work hard in training."
"I thought I'd be able to handle it without any bother but, in practice, it was a very different experience.
"My family stayed in Holland so I was in my hotel room alone and was so bored.
"I was living in Birmingham but I couldn't get away from the place fast enough.
"If I had a day off then I was on the plane, even for an afternoon. When I saw my weekly schedule I was only looking for a gap that would give me the opportunity to get away. After training it was a quick shower and then a rush to get to the airport.
"During that period I didn't have any contact at all with my team-mates."