Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Sunday, 16 July 2017

From A Jack To A King?

While pre-season matches are nothing much to get excited about (especially the early ones) the fans are eager to take a look at what the current set of players can do. This is especially in the light of the fact that few new signings are expected to arrive this summer: although Johnstone has been announced as a ‘signing’, he was of course with us last season, so nothing new for us there. Terry is the only one who is actually ‘new’ to us, but while he is of interest, the fact that his role is defensive does not take away our concerns about the team’s creativity and scoring ability.

So I was very interested to see how the players from last season’s January ‘window’ were shaping up in readiness for the new season. But – sorry to say – I saw nothing in the Shrewsbury match that made me feel that extra bonding and understanding had developed amongst the players. Sadly, I continued to see the two strikers looking somewhat adrift, combined with rather stodgy and ineffective play from Hourihane, the one player who I thought might spark some life into the team. However, in common with a number of others, I do sense that he may be more effective further forward. Should he be the ‘missing link’, sitting just behind both Kodjia and Hogan?

The midfielders Bjornason, Lansbury and Jedi I’m willing to accept as workaholic midfielders who will rarely be originally creative, but we do need that extra dimension, I feel, to create chances for the strikers. A player with that ‘bit extra’, who can turn a defence and perhaps score a few himself. I’ve been hoping that would be Hourihane, but a doubt persists. But if not him, then who else? Gardner – though clearly having a useful shot on him – doesn’t quite cut it for me. And his shots usually just hit the woodwork.

We have for some time now looked upon ‘Our Jack’ as signalling the birth of a new era at Villa Park. I for one thought he’d step up to the challenge following Villa’s relegation season, but I’d say he mostly disappointed, apart from a couple of wonderful strikes and gaining a couple of penalties. He’s coming up to age 22, and really, if he doesn’t step up to the mark this season then I doubt that he will at all. If he’s not careful he’ll be just another of those great hopefuls that emerged from the youth ranks and then fizzled away.

But there’s the half-glass-full in me that says he can and will make the grade. Whether he’ll ever reach his potential only time will tell, but I am sure that he will now be taking his career seriously and striving to get his beloved Aston Villa to where they truly belong – at the top. If he doesn’t, I’m still not sure about Hourihane, so where will that leave Villa?

So Jack … reflect on this old tune and please try to win our hearts!

From a Jack to a King 
From loneliness to a wedding ring 
I played an Ace and I won a Queen 
And walked away with your heart.