Football FanCast guest columnist Greg Symonds won't be sad to see Emile Heskey leave his beloved Villa.
A huge amount has been debated about where it all went wrong with the Villa in the second half of last season, with many pinpointing the heinous decision by Martin O'Neill to field a weakened team for the trip to CSKA Moscow. The reaction to it certainly dented momentum, but I believe the real problem was with the acquisition of a certain Emile Heskey.
Don't get me wrong when we signed Emile, I was certainly in favour at the time and felt he would be a useful addition, especially given Big John's proneness to injury. However what I didn't account for was the fact that he and Gabby would be unable to form a similar relationship to one Agbonlahor shared with the Norwegian. As much as you may love or loathe Gabby, it was his goals and his interaction with Ashley Young that saw us storm into the top four last season and when his form dipped and the goals dried up, it seem to coincide with our slump. I'm not suggesting that Emile was solely responsible, but more that his arrival upset the balance and the subsequent momentum of the team.
Things haven't improved for Emile and Martin O'Neill has been wise to use him sparingly and I don't think it is any coincidence that Gabby's form has picked up as a result this season. Some partnership's work, others don't, and unfortunately the aforementioned duo haven't clicked at all, therefore you either persevere with it until such time, or you put it down to a mistake and simply move on. It is a difficult dilemma for O'Neill to face, given his past working relationship with the player and how he worked hard to bring him to Villa Park, but he must see it is abundantly clear that the Villa team is a much better one without him in it.
Heskey has come out this morning and suggested that unless first team opportunities change then he will perhaps have to reassess his options in January, given that he needs regular football to stake a claim for Capello's World Cup squad. Why you can understand Emile's predicament, there is certainly no part of me that will be sad to see him leave, as I don't think that he adds anything to the current team, therefore we would be better off without him. His arrival in January was a gamble and one that didn't pay off, but he certainly wouldn't be the first striker Villa have spent money on in the past that has failed and he certainly won't be the last.
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