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Go Get 'Em Emile...

Right gentlemen, I have decided that someone should have the balls to take that old proverbial bull by the horns, have the gumption to stand and battle against the flow, remain undaunted and unharmed by the brickbats that will be directed his way, be prepared to duck and dive, even weave where necessary, in order to avoid the barbed abuse, the ripe tomatoes, the rotten eggs that will be mockingly hurled in his direction.

So fellow Vital Villans, here goes. I am coming out. Baring my soul, and becoming what my wife and daughters have accused me of being for years, completely unfashionable.

Are you ready? Emile Heskey is well on his way to winning me over.

Now I know that those words will be received in mocking disbelief from the fans of Big John Carew, he who is supposedly bigger than me and you (well he's not bigger than me actually, I'm 6'4' and 220 lbs, and if truth be told I'm probably bigger than JC in another area or two, but now is not the time and/or place to discuss/compare that particular appendage, so we'll gracefully move on).

Emile of course is Big John's main rival for the central striking role at Brummagem B6, and while Carew can do no wrong in the eyes of many of the Villa Park regulars, Emile finds himself at the other end of the spectrum, in that he can do no right.

Let me point out here and now, that this isn't an exercise in knocking our Norwegian striker, on the contrary. I too like Carew, particularly on the days when he's both fit and raring to lead the opponents defence a merry dance, days when he genuinely looks as if he's one of Europe's very best centre-forwards. Sadly though, those days are very few and far between. All too often we get to witness an uninspired offering, from a player who gives off the impression of wishing that he were anywhere else rather than out on a football pitch, sporting the claret and blue, and earning a well paid living as a premiership footballer.

However John's poorer performances and disinterested showings are only too readily overlooked, and quickly forgotten, because of his ability to play to the crowd, a crowd that are only too willing to croon the 'John Carew' song at the slightest opportunity, and pay reverence, respect, and 100% allegiance to their hero at the mere drop of a hat. Yes, I've sung it too, and very melodically I might add.

Poor old Emile has never stood a chance really, has he?

I readily admit to not actually greeting the arrival of Heskey with open arms, back in January of 2009. I wasn't jumping through hoops. The signing hardly inspired me, or gave me confidence that he was the addition to the thinly stretched squad that we so desperately needed to keep our season on track. One new arrival couldn't/wouldn't cut it, particularly when that player was someone I had barely rated over the years.

John Gregory had told us that Heskey went down way too easily, like a sack of spuds in fact. And as we all know only too well, mud all too easily sticks, and often helps cloud any later appraisal or opinion adjustment.

Emile has hardly been showered with plaudits down the years, lets face it, all to often he's been the easy target for abuse and derision. He's a big lad though, he can take it. He has took it. The criticism has fell to his feet like water off a ducks back. He keeps bouncing back, impressing the managers, both at club and international level, who see fit to place their faith, trust, and belief in him.

I could well understand why Martin O'Neill should look to Emile to keep our progress going. He was a player that the manager knew very well, MON knew his abilities and his capabilities too, and yes, to balance things out, he was well aware of Heskey's supposed failings. The manager needed a back-up/direct competition for the frustratingly all too often unavailable (for one reason or another) John Carew, and in reality, there weren't too many options out there.

Emile had to have an idea as to what he was letting himself in for in moving to Villa Park, after all, as an ex-bluenose he was hardly going to be warmly received by the Holte End faithful. Not quite sure though why being an ex-bluenose should ever enter into the equation, after all, people so readily seem willing to overlook the fact that on that memorable evening in Rotterdam when we became the Champions Of Europe, the match winning goal was scored by a certain Peter Withe, once of Birmingham City fame.

Emile scored on his debut at Fratton Park, but failed to win the knockers and/or the doubters over throughout the remainder of the campaign, and despite enjoying a decent enough pre-2009-10 season (lets forget the sending off over in The Peace Cup tournament in sunny Spain), it was still John Carew who was expected to be Gabby's main strike partner up front once the serious premier league business got underway. And arguably, quite rightly so.

And so we jump to Turf Moor, home of Burnley Football Club, a game that I, and no doubt a few of you other good chaps out there were unlucky enough to have to suffer. A completely abysmal offering from our lads, over-run, outplayed, out-thought and out-fought, a point rescued only thanks to a late equaliser from substitute Emile Heskey. A point we didn't deserved, but hey, who cares?

That draw helped I think get our campaign back up and running. Defeat there, and I believe that we'd have been at the crossroads. Emile's goal also I believe saw him finally step up to the plate, gain some much needed confidence, and start to win over a few of his detractors.

Recent performances, while far from earth-shattering, have clearly shown the important role that Emile can play for the club. He has a lot to offer, not only to our beloved AVFC, but also to England, out in South Africa come June, and hopefully July.

We all wish he'd increase his goalscoring tally, yes of course we do, but it probably aint gonna happen. We knew we weren't getting a Peter Withe, Andy Gray, Gerry Hitchens, or even an Andy Lochhead, when we signed him from Wigan Athletic. So lets just focus on his good points. Celebrate the positives. He holds the ball up better than Carew, brings others into the game better, and provides space into which our speedier youngsters can thrive and flourish. Wins a lot more flick on's than does Big JC also.

So there you have it gentlemen. I'm not trying to have you believing that Emile is the best centre-forward ever seen at Villa Park, far from it. I'm not attempting to, neither am I interested in, changing your way of thinking.

All I'm saying is that Emile (and John for that matter) has a very important role to play between now and seasons end. He's up to the task, more than capable of playing a full part in ensuring that we experience and enjoy a successful season. Giving him a little bit of support when things aren't perhaps going for him as they should, is surely one of the main reasons that we turn up in our droves for, to support and encourage, and cheer on our lads. Both individually, and as a team.

See you all at White Hart Lane tomorrow.

Go Get 'Em Emile! Heskey For England!!! One Emile Heskey, there's only.............




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The Journalist

Writer: glensider Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday February 5 2010

Time: 9:38AM

Your Comments

It is not Heskey himself that is the problem, it is the fact that we play two strikers who are not natural finishers, either Gabby or Heskey with a natural goal poacher would work but together it seems all to often they have recieved the ball, played it out onto the wing, the cross comes in and then something is missing, the finish, either missed dreadfully or even worse no one there at all, so we rely on the winger coming from the opposite side to try and finish at the far post, and we all know how well that ends, this 'false' 9 tactic only works if the other striker can score goals. Two 'false' 9s is, well, false. I know Gabby scored two great goals against Fulham, but he is not exactly prolific and the second goal was a real shock that he can finish like that with the left foot, I may be wrong, Gabby may start doing this every week, I really hope he does, because the sudden deluge of finishes is not going to be coming from Mr Heskey.
ant1ant1
It is not Heskey himself that is the problem, it is the fact that we play two strikers who are not natural finishers, either Gabby or Heskey with a natural goal poacher would work but together it seems all to often they have recieved the ball, played it out onto the wing, the cross comes in and then something is missing, the finish, either missed dreadfully or even worse no one there at all, so we rely on the winger coming from the opposite side to try and finish at the far post, and we all know how well that ends, this 'false' 9 tactic only works if the other striker can score goals. Two 'false' 9s is, well, false. I know Gabby scored two great goals against Fulham, but he is not exactly prolific and the second goal was a real shock that he can finish like that with the left foot, I may be wrong, Gabby may start doing this every week, I really hope he does, because the sudden deluge of finishes is not going to be coming from Mr Heskey.
ant1ant1
Nice to see some support for the big man - i think good article, although i disagree. His strenghts are holding up the ball for attacking midfielders to run onto, and our attacking midfielders are far too wide for that, and as he isnt exactly a scoring machine (understatement), so i dont think he fits in at villa....
Ericols_Son
Nice to see some support for the big man - i think good article, although i disagree. His strenghts are holding up the ball for attacking midfielders to run onto, and our attacking midfielders are far too wide for that, and as he isnt exactly a scoring machine (understatement), so i dont think he fits in at villa....
Ericols_Son
Sorry glensider - Heskey is crap... Really awful. The stats don't lie - his scoring ratio is awful, he is completely outmuscled in most matches I watched, isn't great in the air (so when we play longball to him its basically conceeding possession) and he provides an assist 1 in every 2 billion matches. What does he do? Can't even say his workrate is any good. His stats for this season are an absolute joke! 19 matches - 2 goals 1 assist. 19 shots 4 shots on TARGET! Bloody joke. Not saying JC is that much better but with 18 matches, 4 goals and 2 assists with 38 shots and 9 on target he actually does something during a game (not much but more than heskey). Then consider that Carew played 27 last year, scored 11 with 3 assists. Won't bother mentioning Heskey as his stats are actually virtually the same in both years. Actually last year his stats say he was better. I am certain that if JC gets an extended run he will start to click. And even if he doesn't, he offers more than heskey. Running Guzan as a forward would offer more than Heskey. Just drop heskey.
Astriel
Sorry glensider - Heskey is crap... Really awful. The stats don't lie - his scoring ratio is awful, he is completely outmuscled in most matches I watched, isn't great in the air (so when we play longball to him its basically conceeding possession) and he provides an assist 1 in every 2 billion matches. What does he do? Can't even say his workrate is any good. His stats for this season are an absolute joke! 19 matches - 2 goals 1 assist. 19 shots 4 shots on TARGET! Bloody joke. Not saying JC is that much better but with 18 matches, 4 goals and 2 assists with 38 shots and 9 on target he actually does something during a game (not much but more than heskey). Then consider that Carew played 27 last year, scored 11 with 3 assists. Won't bother mentioning Heskey as his stats are actually virtually the same in both years. Actually last year his stats say he was better. I am certain that if JC gets an extended run he will start to click. And even if he doesn't, he offers more than heskey. Running Guzan as a forward would offer more than Heskey. Just drop heskey.
Astriel
VERY important roles for us Glensider, agreed. JC is a let down as he is truly world class on his day but we still need a few of those days when he returns. Emile I think has been told recently to play deeper and he has got stuck in and put in a performance. If we judge purely on goals scored, then no, he isn't good, but if he is told to be deeper with Gabby effectively a sole striker, then he has been putting in the right effort and doing what his gaffer has told him to do.

Still expect both to be sold in the summer, JC will only have one year left on his contract and isnt' worthy of a new one, Emile I think will have to drop down a little after the world cup and for me, he'd not be on the plane I don't think, it is too much of a luxury to have a non scoring striker at a World Cup where you play with and against the best?
The Fear
VERY important roles for us Glensider, agreed. JC is a let down as he is truly world class on his day but we still need a few of those days when he returns. Emile I think has been told recently to play deeper and he has got stuck in and put in a performance. If we judge purely on goals scored, then no, he isn't good, but if he is told to be deeper with Gabby effectively a sole striker, then he has been putting in the right effort and doing what his gaffer has told him to do.

Still expect both to be sold in the summer, JC will only have one year left on his contract and isnt' worthy of a new one, Emile I think will have to drop down a little after the world cup and for me, he'd not be on the plane I don't think, it is too much of a luxury to have a non scoring striker at a World Cup where you play with and against the best?
The Fear
really good article but i just cant buy it. shame as i would love it if he did more that i could actually notice. guess that why i work a normal job though and not in football. lol.
1982benny
really good article but i just cant buy it. shame as i would love it if he did more that i could actually notice. guess that why i work a normal job though and not in football. lol.
1982benny
Exactly right Glensider. Since that Burnley game the big man has been good for us. Played very well since November, much better than the supposed fans favourite, John Carew. Some fans are pathetic. Carew can have a stinker and they sing his name. If Heskey plays well but makes one mistake all you hear is, '' Heskey is *****e''. Think the guys doing very well at the moment, and he'd be in my team too at the moment. I hope he can keep it up, because right now, he deserves to be in the team!
randy.stand
Exactly right Glensider. Since that Burnley game the big man has been good for us. Played very well since November, much better than the supposed fans favourite, John Carew. Some fans are pathetic. Carew can have a stinker and they sing his name. If Heskey plays well but makes one mistake all you hear is, '' Heskey is *****e''. Think the guys doing very well at the moment, and he'd be in my team too at the moment. I hope he can keep it up, because right now, he deserves to be in the team!
randy.stand
good to see support, but nope emile is not a threat imo, both him and carew should be sold. However mons choices when signing a striker leaves little to be desired. Carew is worth carrying in our team as he is more of a threat than emile imo.
meakers
good to see support, but nope emile is not a threat imo, both him and carew should be sold. However mons choices when signing a striker leaves little to be desired. Carew is worth carrying in our team as he is more of a threat than emile imo.
meakers
Bang on Glensider, Emiles been working his socks off recently and deserves a bit of backing from the Villa faithful. We all know that the players thrive off confidence and it really *****es me off when some of us are singing 'John Carew John Carew' when Heskeys out there trying his best.. Whoevers out there on the field get behind them be it big JC or Heskey.. and the "used to be *****e and now hes alright" chant isnt going to spur him on none either.. (it was funny when he was at blues, but he's here now)..
hazza01
Bang on Glensider, Emiles been working his socks off recently and deserves a bit of backing from the Villa faithful. We all know that the players thrive off confidence and it really *****es me off when some of us are singing 'John Carew John Carew' when Heskeys out there trying his best.. Whoevers out there on the field get behind them be it big JC or Heskey.. and the "used to be *****e and now hes alright" chant isnt going to spur him on none either.. (it was funny when he was at blues, but he's here now)..
hazza01
Just gonna say good article, great debate!
Still think, Gabby could have made a great winger!
davidsands1982
Just gonna say good article, great debate!
Still think, Gabby could have made a great winger!
davidsands1982
Heskey's not playing well like a few people have said , he is playing average which compared to his usual crap performances makes him seem to be playing well .
Doug4ever
Heskey's not playing well like a few people have said , he is playing average which compared to his usual crap performances makes him seem to be playing well .
Doug4ever
Heskey's doing what MON asks of him and our manager is obviously happy with his performances. Big John needed the competition and hopefully he will come back stronger after a rest and his injury. Good article Glensider and nice to see some support for the lad but it started off like you were coming out of the closet!! LOL
Villan444
Heskey's doing what MON asks of him and our manager is obviously happy with his performances. Big John needed the competition and hopefully he will come back stronger after a rest and his injury. Good article Glensider and nice to see some support for the lad but it started off like you were coming out of the closet!! LOL
Villan444
This is a good article and debate! I honestly think that we're all getting hung up on the label "striker", (and before anyone rips my head off, i know that's where he's always played) but as fear said he's actually playing deeper than an out and out striker. and i reckon its his workrate that's most impressive, holding up play, flick on's, helping out in defense etc etc. and he's been getting a few yellows lately which i suppose shows he's starting to use his bulk and show some aggression, and his commitment and fight for the cause.
AV-Damo
This is a good article and debate! I honestly think that we're all getting hung up on the label "striker", (and before anyone rips my head off, i know that's where he's always played) but as fear said he's actually playing deeper than an out and out striker. and i reckon its his workrate that's most impressive, holding up play, flick on's, helping out in defense etc etc. and he's been getting a few yellows lately which i suppose shows he's starting to use his bulk and show some aggression, and his commitment and fight for the cause.
AV-Damo
I would love to be able to look at this positively however I just don't see either Heskey or Carew (and i'm a John Carew, Carew! fan too) being the answer. JC because he has always moved around clubs and as much as I think he wants to put in the performances he just seems like a player that likes change, location, training, colleagues etc and is unconsciously in need of a move. Heskey because the work he does is NOT ENOUGH! As Gabby gets stronger and more experienced I think he will be better at holding the ball up etc and doing the extra physical work too leaving room for what i think we would all like........ The Fonz to be given a run and turn into Defoe.
magicmerson
I would love to be able to look at this positively however I just don't see either Heskey or Carew (and i'm a John Carew, Carew! fan too) being the answer. JC because he has always moved around clubs and as much as I think he wants to put in the performances he just seems like a player that likes change, location, training, colleagues etc and is unconsciously in need of a move. Heskey because the work he does is NOT ENOUGH! As Gabby gets stronger and more experienced I think he will be better at holding the ball up etc and doing the extra physical work too leaving room for what i think we would all like........ The Fonz to be given a run and turn into Defoe.
magicmerson
Although Emile has his good points goalscoring is not one of them and i dont think he brings anything to the team that one of our youngsters couldn't do . All you have to do is look at our goals for and against compared to the teams above us to tell us our defence is good but our forwards are not quite there yet . When we get a goalscoring striker to partner Gabby (or Delf ) it will finish the team as we have one of the best midfield's Ive seen at Villa for years (probably ever). I dont have anything against Heskey i just dont think he's good enough for the Premier league but would be a great player for the Fizzy pop League .
Doug4ever
Although Emile has his good points goalscoring is not one of them and i dont think he brings anything to the team that one of our youngsters couldn't do . All you have to do is look at our goals for and against compared to the teams above us to tell us our defence is good but our forwards are not quite there yet . When we get a goalscoring striker to partner Gabby (or Delf ) it will finish the team as we have one of the best midfield's Ive seen at Villa for years (probably ever). I dont have anything against Heskey i just dont think he's good enough for the Premier league but would be a great player for the Fizzy pop League .
Doug4ever
 

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