By Graham Hill
ROSS McCormack’s Villa spell is a sorry tale in more ways than one after the Scottish striker reached an agreement to leave the club.
It sums up the modern game when Villa have to work out an arrangement to end a player’s contract rather than wonder what to do with him for the remaining 12 months of his deal.
Had McCormack stayed, he would have been in line for a huge pay rise as part of Villa’s promotion.
And having noted the divisions the Villa dressing room when they were relegated three years ago, boss Dean Smith was not about to let that happen again.
Plus, who would want to take McCornack, 32, on loan after a less than impressive impact at Motherwell?
But before you start criticising the player, it is worth noting that he has had his share of off the field problems.
All is not quite what it seems.
But the now infamous ‘Gate-gate’ incident when former Villa boss Steve Bruce revealed McCormack had been dropped for a match against Preston because his front gates were iced up and he could not get his car out, proved to be the tip of the iceberg.
There was clearly an attitude problem.
But let us not forget that it was Villa’s previous regime that agreed to such a contract which meant the player was allowed to bleed money out of the club – and he has not been the only one doing that.
McCormack cost Villa £12million – yes, it really happened – when he signed for Roberto di Matteo from Fulam three years ago.
Which means he cost on average £500,000 a game as he appeared just 24 times.
It was a move that should never have happened, but Smith is clearly not prepared to have any bad eggs hanging around when Villa return to the Premier League. We all saw what happened the last time that situation was allowed to get out of control.