On the 25th of August, Aston Villa captain, Jack Grealish, will be swapping the changing room for the courtroom.
This is due to a driving incident that occurred in late March, involving reports of a car hitting vehicles parked along the side of the curb, in Dickens Heath, Solihull. To make matters worse, reports went on to state that the driver then fled the scene on foot.
Subsequently, an investigation was launched by the West Midlands Police and it concluded that the driver of the vehicle was indeed the Villa skipper, and the initial reports had indeed been correct. Grealish has now been charged with driving without due care and attention and failing to stop at or report a collision. He will appear before Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on August 25 to answer the charges.
Is history repeating itself?
Sadly, this incident is a stark reminder for Villa fans of past offences that the number 10 has committed during his time at the club.
During the fated 2015/16 season, the last time Villa were in the topflight, Grealish was filmed at a party in a nightclub, hours after the team were smashed 4-0 by Everton, and, in the previous summer, the boyhood fan of the club was pictured sprawled across a road while on holiday in Tenerife. Both incidents saw him spoken to by members of the club’s hierarchy at the time.
Again the centre of a media uproar, a party in the early hours of the morning after Villa drew 0-0 with Ipswich in 2016 drew much anger from supporters. The attitude of Grealish was questioned once more.
Despite the latest of these incidents dating back to 2016, in the last few seasons, Villa has had some marginal week-to-week success, in that they have been winning more games than they have lost. Albeit down to the level of competition in the Championship being far lesser than that of the Premier League, the winning mentality may have helped the Villa talisman stay away from trouble. For this reason, it’s feasible to conclude that when the team is winning, Grealish finds it much easier to evade a media outcry and allow his focus to remain on what really matters.
In the Premier League this season, Villa have won only seven games and have struggled near the foot of the table for most of the year. A season like this, coupled with the re-surfacing of the ugly behaviour by the Villa captain only fortifies this point further.
Where does this leave Villa
At the time of the incident, the player released an apology video on his social media platforms without directly addressing the car crash however admitting that he breached social-distancing guidelines.
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) March 30, 2020
Despite having not yet received an international call-up, Grealish is clearly one of the country’s most exciting talents. He has become a firm fan favourite, living the dream many of us have dreamt of for so many years.
Tabloids have been reporting a summer move away for the playmaker if he is to land a big-money move in August, the reemerging run-in with the law will almost certainly count against him when clubs come calling.
Nevertheless, he remains a Villa player for the foreseeable future and will be pivotal in steering the club that he loves away from the drop zone in the critical games ahead.