His career at the club ended in 2011. Since then however he has often been vocal in his continued support and love for Aston Villa and it is this support that has only reinforced fans love for the player. Whether he is cheering on from home or sat with the Duke of Cambridge at Wembley, John Carew is not only a fan favourite, he is a fan himself.
He signed for the club on 22nd January 2007 in an exchange deal with Lyon for Milan Baros going the opposite way. With 131 appearances to his name and a tally of 48 goals and 14 assists, Carew was a success both on and off the pitch. We can relive some of his most memorable moments in his time at Aston Villa here.
Going into the 2007/08 season, Carew was the first choice striker for Martin O’Neil. He started this campaign slowly despite several promising performances however, taking two months to score his opening goal of this campaign. Sadly, he couldn’t build on this momentum as he got injured in this same game and was out for six weeks with a hamstring injury.
Upon his return the goals flooded in, none more memorable than the hat-trick against Newcastle United, this was his first hat-trick in seven years and his first in claret and blue. After Michael Owen opened the scoring in the first half, it was a dominant display from Carew in the second that dragged Villa back into this fixture.
At 6ft 4 he towers above most, and this was on full display as he headed in his seventh and eighth goals of the campaign to put Villa up 3-1. He then rounded off this display by nearly punching a hole through the Steve Harper’s net as he sealed his hat-trick from the penalty spot. A hat-trick that exemplified him as a player, powerful and an undeniable force for defenders.
The memorable performances didn’t end here in this season for the Norwegian International. Arguably his most iconic moment in a Villa shirt, the 5-1 victory in the Second City Derby as Carew scored a brace and dragged a ball boy along for the celebrations. If scoring in the derby wasn’t enough to make him a favourite amongst fans, he then drove away from the ground grinning ear to ear once again reminding everyone of the scoreline.
This season was a slightly more turbulent time for Carew. Despite injuries mounting up, Emile Heskey signing and a fine being dealt to his for his off the field antics, Carew still managed several memorable moments in this season.
He scored the winning goals in the UEFA Cup away to Slavia Prague as he helped Villa maintain their 100% record in the group stages and saw them top the group. Heskey then got injured and he once again regained his place as Villa’s first option up front, an option he would repay with twelve goals and three assists this year.
Included in these efforts were goals such as the equaliser in the first leg against CSKA Moscow. A goal which cancelled out Vagner Love’s opener and earned Villa a draw in the first leg. He was also the scorer of the clubs Goal of the Season which his curling first time effort against Stoke City at home. A goal which outlined he wasn’t just a physical presence, he possessed clear and obvious technique and finesse in his play.
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The presence of Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor once again cause selection issues for Carew in the following season. Although his game time in the Premier League was rotated as he started just 18 of his 27 appearances, he was a strong contributing factor to why Villa got another appearance at Wembley in this season.
Agbonlahor suffered with illness the night before the quarter final against Reading, so Carew got the call up to start. Shane Long scored twice as he often does against Villa, but it was Carew’s involvement that turned this game on its ahead within minutes.
His neat flick played a vital role in Ashley Young’s equaliser, he then nodded in the second, tucked the third away and then blasted the fourth in from the penalty spot after being hacked down by the Reading defender to complete his hat-trick.
Villa suffered defeat once again at Wembley, this time to Chelsea. Fans will never complain about this day out however, and they have Carew to thank for this one.
A career that saw him score penalties in the Champions League Final, move all across Europe and now finds himself as an starring in films with Angelina Jolie, Carew was truly a giant both on the pitch and off it.
Happy Birthday John!