Absent McCormack in the money
It was a year and a bit ago that Steve Bruce decided his relationship with Ross McCormack was going nowhere, Aston Villa’s £12m signing from Fulham driving the gaffer to distraction. He’d already concluded that the striker’s fitness, time-keeping and attitude left quite a lot to be desired, the final straw arriving the day McCormack rang the club to say he couldn’t make training because his electric gates had malfunctioned and he couldn’t get out.
Bruce, not best pleased about the situation, drove to McCormack’s house and noted that his wall was only 4ft 6in, so he could have scaled it easily enough and got himself a taxi to training. “It was icy and raining – what if I’d rolled my ankle,” was McCormack’s response to that proposal, which didn’t help. Any way, Bruce had had his fill, first shipping McCormack out on loan to Nottingham Forest, and, this season, down under to Melbourne City. He has returned to England, although he’s highly unlikely to play any part in the playoffs for Villa. And if they’re promoted, McCormack, despite not playing as much as a minute of league football for them this season, will see his salary rise from £2.3m to £3m, thanks to his initial contract . . . which has two years remaining. The bang you hear is Steve Bruce’s head exploding.