Mellberg happy to spend big on Villa fans

Olof Mellberg has revealed that his decision to lavish around £40,000 of merchandise on Villa's away supporters was driven by a huge desire to say 'thankyou'.

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The Swedish international, who is currently preparing for Euro 2008, spent the money on 3,100 white Villa away shirts which were handed to every one of the fans who travelled to see Villa at West Ham.

They were all numbered and lettered with the slogan: "Thanks 4 Your Support".

Mellberg, who announced in January that he would be leaving the club after seven years to try his luck with Juventus, told the Birmingham Mail: "It was my idea because it's unusual for a player to know so far in advance where you're going to be playing next season.

"A lot of people had asked me for a shirt since I signed so I thought it would be a good idea for the home game, but it would have a little bit too much to buy 42,000!

"It was nice for the away fans because they have really supported us throughout the years and last season they were fantastic again."

Mellberg said money did not come into his decision-making: "It didn't matter how much it cost- it was the end of season sale!

"But the fans are the people who are paying our salaries and if they weren't, I wouldn't have made the money I have made.

"So it wasn't an issue. I always tried to repay their support on the pitch.

"I have tried to repay their support by always trying to give 100 per cent on the pitch and always giving my best.

"That's what fans appreciate more than anything. It was also a chance for me to say: 'thank you' in a different way."

Mellberg is going to keep his final day kit from the match at Upton Park.

"I think I'm going to get it framed", he said.

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