More to McCormack Situation Than Meets the Eye as Xia Tells Him to Man Up

McCormack Gate

Why does a footballer despite being paid five figures a week suddenly start missing training and struggles to keep focus?

This is a question that perhaps hasn’t actually been asked as media and fans alike lashed out at Ross McCormack in a knee-jerk fashion without actually getting his side of the story.

Listening to BBC WM Radio after the Preston game host Paul Franks was practically inciting the pitchfork brigade to vent their disgust at McCormack without trying to find any context.

To be fair, his BBC WM college Mark Regan had been trying to get to the bottom of the issue when interviewing Villa boss Steve Bruce in a post-match roundtable radio interview, but was cut off by Free Radio’s Tom Ross’s innocuous question about transfer targets. It’s a shame Ross wasn’t listening to the potential conversation unfurling in front of him.

Doctor Gets Involved

The first clue to suggest that all is not 100% in the world of Ross McCormack was a tweet by the Villa owner Tony Xia, stating that he’d had a chat with Ross and that the striker was going through a ‘difficult time’.

There’s been suggestions that McCormack is having divorce/break-up issues or even drink issues, but this is pure social media speculation at this point. No doubt we’ll find out his side of the story in the coming week.

Certainly he would have been frustrated by his Villa career so far, but he needs to knuckle down in terms of that.

However, it does seem that whatever sympathy that Villa as a club may have had for whatever the striker was going through, has run out. Suggesting he hasn’t shown the character to deal with it.

Life often isn’t a bed of roses, but at the same time, McCormack is being paid handsomely and contracted to be a professional footballer for the club. And that means stay as fit as possible and turn up to training.

The Villa owner in telling McCormack to ‘become a real man! Stand up!’ is taking the same public approach as he did with Jack Grealish and Agbonlahor’s issues, which seems to suggest McCormack isn’t suffering any deeper issues.

Bruce Tipping Point

Judging by the stuck gate story, McCormack has perhaps being wallowing a little in whatever he has been going through and he hasn’t been professional enough to separate it from his duty to Aston Villa football club.

Considering Steve Bruce has rehabilitated Gabby Agbonlahor, it would suggest that the Villa boss has a big threshold for patience and is willing to give people a chance. Remember Agbonlahor had been written off by even the Villa owner, when he took over the club. So, for Bruce to lose his patience on this McCormack issue and publicly out him suggests the Villa boss isn’t too pleased.

“Not in 20 years of management have I gone down this road of publicly shaming a player but I have to make a stand because I won’t put up with it. Not on my watch,” Bruce told the Daily Mirror.

“I ask only one thing. When I tell them they are in, everyone else is in. How can I pick him when he doesn’t want to come training?

“It’s happened more than once. Everyone can have an excuse for one occasion but when it is more than that I will not accept it.”

Bruce has been forced to give the hairdryer treatment to the Villa team on a number of occasions this season. With performances way below par (although the first half against Preston showed shoots of promise) and repeated public discipline issues with team members, there’s no surprise this team is struggling to be a legitimate candidate for promotion this season.

Stand Up!

Some supporters talk about the hangover from last season, but since then we have a new owner, have had two new managers, spent £55+ million and have over half a team of new players.

Yes, Villa only gained 17 points last season, but Sunderland were relegated at the end of the 2005-06 season with an embarrassing 15 points. The next season, with new manager Roy Keane in charge they won the Championship title.

The problem is current and like McCormack, Aston Villa cannot afford to continually wallow in issues of their own making.

To quote the good doctor, it’s time to ‘stand up!’


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  1. This has clearly been going on for a few weeks, which to me only makes Bruce’s decision to sell Gestede look even more bizarre, surely McCormack was the one to get rid of before all this indiscipline was made public knowledge? He mustv’e REALLY expected Gabby to start scoring. To think he is our only available senior striker right now, the mind boggles.

    • Fair point for sure. Definitely explains the promotion of Gabby and rushing him back before his reported six-week fitness plan was only a fortnight in.

  2. I think Gabby understands that he’s playing in the absence of Kodji, and at least he turns up for work and wants to wear the shirt. In addition, didn’t he make a goal yesterday? You can’t blame Gabby for everything, yes he comes with history but judge the lad on what he’s putting in now, what’s the point of doing otherwise. We have one reasonably prolific striker, we need another. I hope it’s Rhodes. We also need the midfield to chip in. Adoma did well yesterday, and we’re buying the kind of players for mid field that will make a difference. Personally, I wouldn’t have let Gil go out on loan. His pace wasn’t electric, but he could certainly get round people and open up a defense.

  3. We all go through bad times, of course we do. McDonut is no different. But If he is not up to task either tell him shape up or ship out. I’m just worried that given Dr X economic Clout, perhaps Bruce should have been given a warchest to put HIS stamp on the squad. Yes I know the jan window is a little different, but even so we need different players and thats clear..

  4. Psychology is one of the areas people have identified as our weakness; the chairman shouldn’t be singling players out on twitter. We need to get tougher, but on the pitch. PNE have a few good players, but they also played some park stuff at times, with the throw-in being a main weapon. With a midfield of Green, Westy, Albert, and Jack (plus either the new guy or Bacuna) we let them walk through us for one goal, and made no challenge for the other. Who is the back up to Jedi? Get someone like Gardner and make him into an intelligent but no nonsense player- tell him if he wants a role, it has to be to ‘stand up’ to borrow a phrase.
    McCormack is a striker- I dunno what he’s going through (none of my business) but those players generally need their egos pumped up, not punctured further.

  5. I agree, it’s clear that McCormack doesn’t want to play for us, so ship him out ASAP I think we really do need to get in Rhodes and play him with Kodjia, I see that we are expecting two or three signings this week, let’s hope so. It’s an absolute disgrace that after all the problems we are still playing Agbonlahor as our only striker, if this continues I believe it will be the downfall of Bruce.

  6. Sorry it’s not mother care ship out Mcwaster ,Ayew, and all the other over paid
    Flops ASAP .This is what is stopping the Avfc recovery

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