And so we say goodbye to Oviemuno Dominic Ejaria, otherwise known as Ovie, a player that’s conjured up a whole host of emotions and feelings since day one at the club. It’s rare for a player to have had such majestic highs but, ultimately, sunk so low.
Sadly, those highs were few but they shone ever so bright, brighter than many players could ever hope for. At worst, he’s culpable for holding the club hostage when it needed money the most. The oft-used phrase “stealing a living” pretty much sums up what he has done in the last couple of seasons, give or take. Unfortunately, there was a lot of taking and not enough giving.
Much like many other enigmatic stars of the past, he loosely fits that kind of mould. A joyous wizard with the ball at his feet, but for reasons best known to himself, a baffling anomaly on the flipside.
We had seen games where he ran the show. Many will recall his single-handed destruction of Fulham at Craven Cottage. We’ll fondly remember his drag-around of a Millwall defender at the SCL, or Madejski Stadium as it was then. But we’ll also remember times when he barely figured, hardly functioned and was hauled off too often to mention. He could lift you off your seat or you’d want to throw it at him. He was that kind of player.
Rumour has it Ovie Ejaria is still spinning Mahlon Romeo around— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) November 12, 2019
Unbelieeeeevable tekkers pic.twitter.com/tdmxdl6ogk
At times, in general play, he could be a hard-worker. He would put the yards in and track back, in others he’d barely be noticeable. We all waited and waited for him to find some form, to regain that composure, just even to be a professional footballer again. God knows we needed him this season, and last season, and the season before that. Where did you go, Ovie?
We’ll never know what happened, more than likely. There had been plenty of rumours floating around during Covid times. There have been plenty of rumours ever since. That’s all we had for the best part of two years: nothing but rumours. For all the conjecture, all we wanted was to see him back on the field. Not just for what he once was, but just as a body, a player with experience. He’d probably find League One a lot of fun, but fun didn’t seem to follow Ovie around. He never looked particularly happy at the best times. There may be reasons for that, too.
The overriding feeling is that it’s such a shame that a player with such great talent couldn’t evolve and grow with us. He leaves a legacy of “what if” rather than “what a player”. We waited and wished for him to be played as a 10, instead of wide on the left. But we never saw him again, let alone play in what was likely to be his best position.
The stories of injuries, indiscipline, attitude issues, illness, mental demons could maybe be true, or just possibilities to pin down the real reasons as to why he was absent for so long. It comes as no surprise that the club sought to cut their losses and end his contract early. It was clear that the club had given Ovie enough leash to sort himself out, one way or another.
At the end of the day we can ill afford, in every sense of the word, to have a player like Ovie around. Financially, we can’t afford him. For team spirit, he’s not brought anything to the table. On the pitch, he’s been a non-event. We wish him all the best, nonetheless. Did we see the very best of Ejaria? I don’t think we’ll ever know. All we saw was very fleeting sparks.