The day Aston Villa signed Stewart Downing, he arrived on crutches. Now, he doesn't want to commit to the club, just days after he was awarded the player of the season award from supporters and saying how great the club was.
So, we have to move on. What we have to do, if the player is really at a crossroads, is find out how much we can get for him and get it. What we have to do is have players playing for the club that want to play for the club.
A lot of people never understand that footballers aren’t fans. I used to be a fan. I used to support Everton. I still want them to do well. But if Everton or Liverpool lost, I don’t lose any sleep.
I've put that quote from Michael Owen up, because I think it is important. Most players do not care and when I say most, what I really mean is the overwhelming majority. Those that do, are special and we all know who they are.
Players like Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard care and they also support the club they play for, so why are we surprised that the likes of Gareth Barry jumped ship at the 'first' opportunity to earn more money, or that Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and James Milner are the same.
Do you really believe?
Most of what we hear from players these days is rubbish. They say what they have to say and that is it. They say what they have to say for sponsors or to be loved by the supporters.
The ones that are honest are the ones I've mentioned above. You can hear it when they speak and their actions speak louder than any words. Do we have any at our club at the moment?
I think Gabby and Albrighton care. I think if you offered them contracts to stay at the club for the next ten years, both would sign. I think we have a few more players like that also. I don't think they are all going to make it though, but unless they get a real chance, we will never know.
The point Damian, the point
My point is, forget about Downing. If he doesn't want to be part of Aston Villa then we should ship him out. If players are not 100% committed to the club, we should put them on eBay and see how much we can get. Is it wrong to only want players to play for your Football Club that are 100% committed to it?
I understand that what I'm asking for is Utopia and that it will never happen. We will always need players that didn't come through the ranks, but they really should be the icing and the players where we don't have anyone to play those positions. But the core of the team has to be Aston Villa, otherwise the team will never be settled and there will never be any real stability.
And you might not think that they are all good enough, but that settled group of players, when playing together are better as a group than they are individually, simply because they are settled. It counts, which is why they need to be played and why they need the chance.
Are we going to win the League next season? If we all accept that now, why not try something different or do we have to hit our head on the wall again every Saturday next season to know it isn't working this way?
But the number one priority is the manager. Every day the club drag their feet on this is a day wasted, but are they dragging their feet?