Aston Villa

And they say there is no loyalty left in football. Well, for once, ‘they’ may actually be right.

There is always a bit of controversy in the good ol’ transfer market, and this January window has been no different. Players are being linked with big deals left, right and centre, while others are handing in transfer requests like there is no tomorrow.

However the one that has left me that little bit more intrigued is the Aston Villa signing of Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane. The loyalty here has to be questioned surely? Well, his sanity also needs to be tested after moving from eighth placed Barnsley to 13th placed Aston Villa. But yes, more importantly, his loyalty. Not because he has moved to a league rival, no, but because he has given up his captaincy.

Was it not every kid’s proudest moment when they had that captain’s armband strapped around their tiny little muscles in the street? No? Just me? Loyalty really has gone out the window.

Hourihane isn’t the first to make such a drastic and unfaithful move however. More worryingly though, and definitely more strangely, most captains seem to rather enjoy Villa Park!

As crazy as it sounds, Hourihane joins an esteemed list of former captains all now playing their trade at the once world famous club. And I don’t mean these lads were captains at their club way before Villa signed them, but they were genuinely signed by Villa while they were currently captaining their club!

Recent signing Henri Lansbury was Nottingham Forest club captain when he decided to ditch his side for a new challenge, while Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick even dropped down a division to join the Villains.

Mile Jedinak suspiciously lost his captaincy just moments before completing a move to Villa Park, while although the ever-controversial Ross McCormack didn’t transfer straight from Leeds, he was their captain at a stage (he just had a cheeky short spell at Fulham in between).

Now perhaps this is just a really bored football fan looking way too far into things at a mediocre Championship side by analysing some sort of conspiracy, or perhaps the club genuinely feel these ‘leaders’ have what it takes to guide them back to where they belong. It’s fair to say that after 27 games and a place in the bottom half of the table, things really aren’t working out quite as they planned.

Strangely enough, the Midlands club aren’t actually the only ones up to this sort of nonsense. Their championship counterparts Newcastle United seemingly aren’t that much different, after they secured the services of Grant Hanley and Ciaran Clark last year. Hanley arrived from Blackburn as their club captain, while ironically enough Clark was Villa’s captain during the forgettable relegation season in 2015/16.

I always thought captains were a strong bunch, but apparently they are the most vulnerable in the entire footballing community. Poor guys.