Yesterday, Steve Bruce took the time to thoroughly wring Ross McCormack out in front of the entire world after a crushing 2-2 draw with a resilient Preston North End.
Bruce said a lot, and it was damning. It paints a picture of a player who simply can’t be bothered.
Unfit. Attitude. Absence.
Those words don’t fit well with players and Villa’s worst case scenario of the past few years has been Gabby Agbonlahor, who only scored two through three of the above issues. It’s a hat-trick of deplorable behaviour.
When Bruce dropped his revelations unto the world, I was one of many who shared their stories. ‘My mate said this’. ‘My mate saw him do that’. It didn’t paint a good picture of a player who joined Villa in the summer for a massive fee.
However, once I saw the following tweet - I deleted mine, because there is something going on here and it could manifest horribly:
Have talked to Ross.It's hard to go through the difficulty time in personal life but we all have2take whatever 2become a real MAN!Stand up! https://t.co/dh9P84jLzD— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) January 22, 2017
From Dr Tony’s words on twitter, it seems that Ross is going through a tough time right now. It’s at this point that I should mention that I’m not exactly leaping to defend a player who’s done wrong in the eyes of his manager - but we should all think before we say things. I wish I did, anyway.
I recently completed a book. ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ by Jon Ronson. It details all you need to know about social media pitchfork campaigns and it’s horrifying. Our race is entirely happy to destroy the life of an individual based on a single tweet, or error. A stupid joke can be seen as a racist affront to civil rights, a badly timed comment can be judged as an attack on female rights. If you put yourself out there and act like an idiot - you’ll be torn down in seconds - rightly, or wrongly.
This is a situation that now exists for Ross McCormack. I was one of many who called for the end of his Villa career and I’ll leave those tweets up, as I’m no hypocrite. It’s what I was thinking yesterday, and it is what I said yesterday. I’ve had the night to reflect though and this is a much different piece than I would have wrote up last night.
But, when I went through a tough time in my life - I missed work, I made up stupid excuses because I was far too embarrassed to explain. I didn’t want to tell my boss that I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to explain that it was hard to wake up in the morning. I didn’t want to go past the worksite on the way to my job because I was scared about what I’d do to myself if I was in a foul mood. I didn’t want to phone my manager and explain to him what a panic attack was. I’d say that I was locked in, that my car didn’t work (I didn’t even drive). It was easier than the reality. It was easier than saying I was ill.
The full story hasn’t come through in Bruce’s comments and if Ross McCormack is struggling with a tough time right now, then these are not the sort of comments that one would imagine would light a fire under one’s backside now?
Bruce’s main issue is with McCormack’s excuse that his gates were broken.
“The latest excuse was that his gates had stuck but he couldn’t jump over a fence that was four feet six inches high.”
There is something under the surface here - and that’s not for the papers, the media, us or the fans to know. It’s strictly between Ross, his Villa team who will have his back, Xia and Bruce. There seems to be no need to publicly shame Ross unless it is sober unwillingness to contribute to Aston Villa this season. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t - we do not know and we really don’t need to know.
If Ross is going through a tough time - then that is frankly none of our business. We should look at ourselves, our demons and our secrets before we make a martyr of Ross McCormack based on comments from his manager. If we all have our issues and our struggles, than surely - no matter what Ross is paid - he is allowed to have his.