James Chester was the Captain of a Villa squad in turmoil. He was sometimes the only actual defender in the team. He wore the armband with pride, purpose and passion. Not many could have done what he did over the run in the Championship.
But it all may have been too much.
Once reinforcements arrived in January 2019 — Chester was out of the team and the news came out that he had been carrying a nasty injury and playing through it anyway for the sake of the team. In his own words, the stress injury is something that he is going to have to manage for the rest of his footballing career. He did that for the Villa. (And because the then-manager decided he didn’t really need center back depth because he had Alan Hutton and Jedinak and sure without and training or practice they could fill in!)
Jack Grealish succeeded James as captain — but in a beautful tribute he invited Chester to raise the trophy with him at Wembley.
This is how all Aston Villa supporters should remember Chester if the worst should happen.
Now — it must be said — we aren’t to the end of the tale yet. There is a chance that the Welshman can manage his injury and play a role in the Premier League. He has earned that right. And I hope he does. But if not — I hope Aston Villa take care of him and set him up for the next stage of his life whether that is in football management or whatever he wants.
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for James Chester.