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John Gregory has warned Dwight Yorke that he will only get one chance to win over the Blues fans following his shock move to St Andrew's this week.


The former Villa boss had Yorke in his squad six years ago and famously said: "If I'd had a gun, I'd have shot him" following the Calypso Kid's £12.6 million move to Manchester United.

The transfer caused bitterness and anger among Villa fans and Yorke received a hostile reception when he returned with Blackburn Rovers 18 months ago.

Yorke, 32, has received a mixed reaction from Blues fans on supporters' websites since his arrival last week and Gregory reckons he will have to recapture his form of old to win over the St Andrew's faithful.

"Blues supporters won't give a monkey's about Dwight's past if he is playing well and scoring goals," said Gregory.

"But if they think he's gone there to put his feet up and have a party they won't give him a second chance.

"The move across the city has happened plenty of times before - usually in this direction - and Dwight will want to prove a point to himself more than anyone else.

"It didn't work out for him at Blackburn and, because of his Villa links, the fans will want to see him competing for every ball.

"But it gives him a fresh opportunity to re-ignite his Premiership career."

Gregory, who is now appearing as a pundit for Sky Sports, worked with Yorke both as a coach and manager during his spell at Villa Park.

And while he admits Yorke was an exceptional talent, he knows he is in for a hot reception when he returns to Villa Park this season.

Yorke was a bright-eyed teenager when Graham Taylor brought him over from the Caribbean in 1989 and his rise to the first team captured the fans' imagination.

Yet the one-time darling of the Holte End was subjected to obscene chants when he scored twice for Blackburn in a 4-1 FA Cup win at Villa in 2003.

As Yorke left the field after being substituted he was jeered by fans who made cruel references to his former girlfriend Jordan.

Yorke hit out and claimed he was 'hurt' by the fans reaction. But he also scored his first goal for Blackburn at St Andrew's two years ago in a Rovers win over Blues. Gregory knows that supporters in the Second City have long memories but he reckons Yorke can silence the critics if he is at his fighting best.

"When Dwight went back to Villa he got a lot of stick off the crowd, which I know surprised him a little bit. But if it doesn't go according to plan at Blues he could have 40,000 punters on his back when the two teams meet in December," joked Gregory.

"He had a difficult time at Blackburn and he will know this is his last chance in the Premiership.

"It is a gamble for both parties but Dwight doesn't really have too much to lose. He has been written off at Ewood Park and if he plays to his potential then he can definitely be a hit."

Gregory's infamous remarks after Yorke's transfer certainly stirred up a hornet's nest, but he is a huge fan of the player's natural ability.

In 1997, he became the first Villa player since Peter Withe to score 20 league goals in a season and helped them to a League Cup final victory against Leeds the year before.

Even though his departure from Villa Park was acrimonious, Gregory insists he proved his point at Old Trafford.

But it all went wrong for him at Blackburn when he fell out with manager Graeme Souness over accusations that Yorke was a 'playboy' and that his manager wanted him to be a workhorse.

"Dwight was a fantastic player and I had the pleasure of working with him for many years as a coach and manager," added Gregory.

"We couldn't deny him his chance to go to Manchester United, but the only thing that hurt me was when he said he didn't want to play for Villa any more. "I was gutted after that. But his career was on an upward curve when he left Villa and he was sensational at Old Trafford. "They won the treble in his first season there and his partnership with Andy Cole was one of the best I've seen.

"He might have been used a little bit more sporadically towards the end at Old Trafford, but he will always be remembered for the part he played in the treble-winning team.

"Dwight will want to show everyone that he still has a lot to offer and you can't disregard anyone who has won medals in the Premiership for around four or five years.

"As long as the Blues fans can see he is sweating for the cause then he will be fine. It will still be very interesting when the two sides meet in December though!"