Jack Grealish In World Record Attempt Against Saints
Wednesday, 28th Oct 2020 10:00
There is an old saying in football, that a player has covered every yard of the pitch in a game, but now Aston Villa's Jack Grealish is going to try to do that literally, by not running across it but laying on every part of the Villa Park turf in the game against Saints.
Jack Grealish has been one of the stars of Aston Villa in recent years and he recently got a deserved England cap and in truth should have won more in the games after.
He is a modern day Mathew Le Tissier, but sadly he has one aspect to his game that Le God never had, the ability to throw himself theatrically to the floor at the slightest touch.
But now he is set to use that skill to set a World Record, although many players have put so much effort in during the game that they have been said to have covered every yard of the pitch with their running, and some literally have done that, no player has ever laid flat out as if he has been shot on every blade of grass in the same game.
Several in the past have had good goes, Jurgen Klinsmann was the innovator and famously used his goal celebrating slide to rack up much yardage, but most of this work was done in and around the penalty area and a hot spot map of his flopping onto the turf is sadly lacking in the centre of the midfield.
But Jack Grealish covers a lot of ground with his feet, stats from the Villa coaching team recently revealed that in some matches he had come tantalisingly close to throwing himself onto the floor on a high percentage of the Villa grass 70% on a regular basis.
In Villa's 7-2 whipping of Liverpool, statistics showed that he had covered 86% of the turf with a part of his body at some point in the game and they were also able to identify the areas in which he was letting himself down .
Thermal imaging showed that he was not prolific along the goal line, in 3 of the 4 corner flag areas and in front of the bench's possibly because of the presence of the 4th official.
Coaching staff felt that this was a part of his game that they could work on and improve and in recent weeks he has been staying behind after training for extra sessions as well as watching a video of the film Platoon, it is fine throwing yourself to the ground as if you have just been shot by an American Marine sat in a helicopter with a machine gun, but it has to look realistic.
In this aspect Charlie Sheen was approached to give some lessons, but had to admit he hadn't actually been shot in the film, however he was able to offer some vital hair tips to Grealish in how to keep his barnet intact during heavy periods of action.
Grealish though is under no illusions as to the enormity of the task, it is imperative that he comes out of the traps running, taking the knee will give him an early advantage and he has practised the art of shuffling around and it s thought he could gain as much as 10 square yards before a ball is kicked, more if he falls over.
Doing it in 90 minutes will be hard, the amount of injury time will be crucial, so not only will his ability to throw himself theatrically to the ground and roll around a bit be important, but also the time he spends with his arse on the floor, as that will add minutes, minutes that could be the difference between him being in the Guinness Book Of Records come Xmas Day or just another failed contender.
Guinness have set down a number of criteria for the attempt.
1, Grealish must actually be touched by an opposition player before he goes down, this could be hard, when supporters were allowed into grounds Grealish famously went down in the box when a Villa fan burped in the back row of the Trinity Road Stand, the slight change in air currents being sufficient to send him tumbling.
There have also been incidents of him falling when a team mate has patted him on the back of the referee has accidentally touched him at the coin toss, The Premier League have agreed that VAR will be the final adjuticator.
2. Although Grealish will be allowed to roll after falling, he will be permitted only three rolls and they must all be simultaneous, he will not be allowed to sit up to see if the ref had given a foul and upon finding he hasn't roll around a bit more.
He will also not be allowed excessive stretching of limbs ie moving his arms & legs out as if he was performing a laying down star jump or doing one of those stupid photos some people take when lying in deep snow.
3. The ball has to be in play, falling down just before taking a free kick is prohibited as is throwing himself to the floor during injuries to other players, or when the ball is being retrieved for a throw in etc.
4. Goal celebrations count, although the ball is not strictly in play, in this case it will count.
5. Southampton goal celebrations do not count, if Saints were to score then sliding to join Danny Ings will not be added to the total, not even if it is Grealish himself that has scored the goal.
This has been a blow to Team Grealish, they saw this as a big opportunity to gain yardage at vital points in the game and they were not ruling out a last minute own goal Southampton winner to get their man over the line.
6.Muddy bits are not excluded, if a par tof the pitch has excessive mud or if a jealous team mate or opposition player has urinated on it, he still has to cover that area.
7. The pitch area is defined as all parts between the touchlines including the semi circles at corner flags and the area underneath Jannik Vestergaards studs.
8. If Grealish is booked or sent off in the act of falling over for simulation, then that area will not be counted at that particular time
9. Only Grealish's body part's can be counted, if he has a girly floppy fringe, no part of that will be allowed if it touches the floor, that also goes for boot laces.
10. The period of the World Record Attempt is defined as being between the referee's whistles for the start and end of each half including injury time, nothing will be counted after or before that point including post match interviews, being tripped by groundstaff or walking to and from the tunnel and running over to hug your own coaching staff after the final whistle.
Make no bones about it this will be a tough ask for Grealish, but it is all for a good cause, a justgiving page has been set up in the name of the Jack Grealish Hair Gel Fund and all donations will be greatly received.
Initially TUI felt that this record was beyond the reach of even Jack Grealish, but a look a back on his career makes us feel that he can achieve the magic number of yards needed.
He made his debut in 2013/14, still in his teens he hit a hat trick of theatrical flops to show Villa fans he was one to watch.
The following season he made 17 appearances and averaged 2.5 throws to the floor.
In 2015/16 Villa were relegated and Grealish gained his first record, he played 16 games, all defeats, but that was not for lack of trying, a Premier League record of 4.85 dives softened the blow.
Three seasons in the Championship were not hard for Jack, in most games he didn't have to try too hard to fall over, on cold nights in Barnsley and the like they were queuing up to despatch him to the turf.
Villa's return to the top flight last year would see him finally perform consistently, from the very off he was on the grass more often than a member of the Happy Mondays and his fine form was the catalyst for this potentially historical attempt.
Will he be able to achieve it, we await with baited breath !
Photo: Action Images
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