It’s the 6th of August 2018: Opening day of the Championship season at the KCOM Stadium in Hull. Aston Villa vs Hull City. 83’. Villa lead 3-1. There’s a substitution. Birkir Bjarnason on for Jack Grealish.
At this very moment, Grealish turns and applauds to the traveling support as he walks off the pitch as seemingly impotent verses of “We want you to stay, we want you to stay, Jack Grealish, we want you to stay,” serenade him as he walks off the pitch with his head down and face straightened. Many (including myself), even Grealish himself, thought that this would be the last time we saw our boy in a Villa kit, as he was surely headed off to Tottenham.
Grealish looked really emotional when he came off and sat down in dug out... especially when the #AVFC fans started chanting his name...imo he's off I'm afraid.— CARL (@HolteEnder74) August 6, 2018
Good luck @JackGrealish1 if this was your last game.
Not fans getting emotional in a mad, bad, ‘snake’ sort of way, but in a ‘relishing the moment’ kind of way as we watched our club’s boy sail off into the Champions League. Nobody wanted it to happen, nobody on this side at least. But it legitimately had to happen. Potentially to save our club.
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce says there is currently no decision to be made on selling Jack Grealish, because no club has come close to matching their valuation. [sky sports] #avfc— villareport ✍️ (@villareport) August 6, 2018
Fast forward 12 months...
It’s the 8th of August 2019: I sit here and write for Jack Grealish, the captain of Aston Villa, previewing his 2019-2020 season in the PREMIER LEAGUE. Oh, how things change.
Since this is a preview, and not a review, I won’t go too much more into how we got to where we are with Super Jack, but here we are and boy is it exciting. 12 months ago, it seemed like Grealish was going to the capital from the midlands, and now he actually is, but to face Spurs, rather than join them.
This is actually a very crucial season for Villa’s number 10. It came out last spring that Grealish and others in the Championship wouldn’t really be called on by the England Manager Gareth Southgate, because they weren’t in the Premier League. Well, now we are, so Jack has a lot to prove and fight for if he wants to fulfill his dreams of being an English international.
A lot of the criticism aimed at Grealish stems from how he ‘carries’ himself. His low shinpads, his slicked back hair (with the lovely headband now), the pictures from when he was about 18 goddamn years old, the fact that he got hacked every time he was on the ball in the Championship, the fact that he was playing this well, but ‘only’ in the second division. Whatever the criticism may be, the time to prove everyone wrong is now for him.
His style of play excelled under Dean Smith, in that role just behind the striker, finding the pockets of space, even collecting from deep and tackling well. He gets in good positions, and early on in Deano’s management, we knew that he had told Jack he needs to produce more in terms of goals and assists, and goals and assists Jack did give.
This style of play thrived with our squad in the Championship after Jack’s return from injury, with the 10 game run and all, and Grealish was obviously a big key to that and Villa’s promotion as a whole, so there is little doubt that he’ll be at the head of most attacks for the Claret and Blue this Premier League season.
We know just what our Super Jacky Grealish can do, but now it’s time for him to go show the top flight of English football, and the world what he can do!
He’s one of our own. Up. The. Villa.