Rude Aston Villa fans’ reaction to Jack Grealish will make gamers wonder – .

Rude Aston Villa fans’ reaction to Jack Grealish will make gamers wonder – .

I thought there was a good way to quit a football club. One way a beloved player could walk out the front door and still be greeted by their ex-fans when they return.

Until this week, if you’d asked me for a modern example, I would have cited Jack Grealish’s move from Aston Villa to Manchester City.

For me, the timing of Grealish’s transfer – and the way he handled his departure – was as chic as it gets. The club hierarchy issued a statement wishing him good luck, and when Grealish says he left Villa Park with a heavy heart, I believe him. As an England international in his 20s looking to take his career to the next level, no one can blame him for the chance to join the Premier League champions, to learn from one of the best managers of all time and challenge themselves in the Champions League. .

What was his reward? Getting booed by a large part of the Villa supporters on his return in a City jersey. It was shocking and difficult to understand.

Since Grealish was a teenager, all four of the Premier League’s top clubs have been looking for him and considering an offer. For years, Grealish has remained loyal to Villa, staying with them in the league as others are said to have immediately left the ship, and helping his childhood squad establish themselves in the Premier League.

By signing a deal with a £ 100million clause, Grealish took a calculated risk which was mutually beneficial for him and his club. He ensured that when it was sold, Villa received an incredible fee to reinvest in the team. And the only way for him to motivate a club to pay so much for him was to always perform at the highest level. This means that while Villa was unhappy about losing their best player, the compensation was massive.

Until Wednesday night my presumption was that Villa fans understood and respected this. Three days later, it’s still hard to believe that Grealish was treated the way he was.

There are sad consequences to this.

This summer, I used this column to urge Harry Kane not to ruin his relationship with Tottenham Hotspur fans by pushing too hard for his move to Manchester City. “You have to behave differently as a local player,” I wrote. “You are held to a higher standard. “

If the Grealish example is the new normal, I was wrong. Obviously, it doesn’t matter how you leave a club anymore if the supporters don’t want you to go. You’re going to get hammered anyway.

What concerns me is that a generation of players recognize this and act on it. The next youngster in Villa academy who is good enough to play for a top-four club may think there is no advantage in being loyal. They may think they’re going to get slaughtered whether they leave when they’re 26 or 21, so if the right deal is on the table, they might as well apply for a transfer sooner rather than later. If the consequences are the same regardless of the choices they make, who can blame them?

Villa fans may feel like they’re being singled out, but the Grealish incident is the toughest in recent memory.

Ben Chilwell was booed on his return to Leicester City recently, but you could argue he wasn’t at the King Power Stadium long enough to forge a lasting relationship. If players are seen to be using clubs as a springboard, they know there will be no love for them when they step onto an old pitch.

Inevitably there are accusations that the supporters of my old club Liverpool have a habit of making fun of those they once worshiped. Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling have all been booed by The Kop. Of course, I consider each case different.

Torres and Sterling have hung on because they joined their direct rivals Chelsea and Manchester City so their transfers in 2011 and 2015 were very controversial. Sterling gave a particularly controversial interview saying he was interested in joining Arsenal on the eve of a critical game at the Emirates in the race for the top four. Suarez has been targeted for his conduct for Barcelona in the first leg of the 2019 Champions League semi-final, and he has yet to be forgiven when he represented Atletico Madrid earlier this season.

In my opinion, Owen was wrongly treated by the mob when he returned to Liverpool as a Newcastle player in 2005, the Kop was wrong in thinking he had arranged his transfer to Real Madrid a year earlier so that the club receives minimal fees. It was more complicated than that. Anyway, whether you agree with the crowd reaction, there were reasons for that.


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