I see Gabby has come out with some interesting comments talking about how he’s 100% committed to the Villa cause and is promising to try 100% if he gets picked.
Which is big of him, after his performance or lack of it, last season.
Let me first re-iterate what I’ve said before in that I’ve often defended him, as I do truly believe his oft being played out wide didn’t help his game at all.
We quite often never played to his strengths, which to my mind were running on to the ball with his incredible pace, which we all know was by far his best ability.
Putting him out wide, expecting him to beat players and whip in good crosses was never his game, but at the time, it was almost like he had to play in any Villa side, such was the high regard that many Villa fans, including myself, held him in. That’s not to mention the influence he seems to have had.
And quite simply managers, rightly or wrongly thought we had better options in the middle of the attack.
Indeed, I could even see how it might be an excuse for his head to drop.
And while I found his antics in Dubai at best distasteful, I could even understand fans supporting him then. That’s what young lads, especially lads with the sort of money he earns, do.
And if he’d been performing on the pitch, I suspect many of us fans would have even turned a disapproving blind eye to his antics.
Unfortunately, the fact is he wasn’t and hasn’t, for a very long while.
But what capped it for me was that he was reporting in for training so overweight, Eric Black actually called him out for it and sent him on a special regime to lose the lard.
Which is about the only useful thing Black did, in my opinion.
Turning in for football training overweight is not only unprofessional, but it’s frankly disrespectful to the club and the fans. Especially when your only asset is your pace.
You do have to question how he was allowed to get into such a state, but perhaps that’s another indicator of how much influence/power he had? Let’s not forget he supposedly had the ear of Randy Lerner.
Which is all ultimately why I’m loathe to believe anything that comes out of his mouth when it comes to the Villa.
For someone who’s supposed to be Villa through and through, I feel he’s let us down massively and it’s just too late for him to recover his previous status of “one of our own”.
Hence, I think he’s only trying to keep himself in his very comfortable position, earning sixty odd grand a week, which is frankly a joke.
While I hope his words are true and he’s really willing to get his head down, I’m still concerned that he had way too much influence in the dressing room and for that alone, I’m afraid he has to go, even if it’s only to set an example.
Which means we let him go on a free and maybe even subsidise his next over-inflated contract: anything to get rid.
Still, as the player himself knows, he does still have some fans on his side.
Which is where you come in re; the poll.
For what it’s worth, I think he’ll be staying, regardless of what we fans think.