Published on September 20th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman4
“Yaya Toure, my opinion” | Ian Cheeseman
Written by Ian Cheeseman
The most discussed Manchester City player, in recent days, has been last season’s player-of-the-season Yaya Toure. The Yaya debate was ignited during the summer by “cakegate” which lowered the popularity of the Ivorian, in the eyes of some City fans.
In truth though, the real story of Toure’s summer was the loss of his brother. I don’t have any brothers or sisters so I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to lose one, but I have lost my Mum and others very close to me and I know how deeply I was affected.
If something happened to either of my sons I’m not sure how much of a will I’d have to watch football after that, let alone play it.
I know that Yaya is very well paid to play football, but do you really think that would make any difference to YOUR state of mind, your outlook on life, if his personal tragedy happened to you?
It was a long time ago that I lost my Mum, I was barely an adult, but it had a profound effect on me, changed my mood, it made me look at the world differently.
A couple of days ago, I listened to twenty eight minutes of Yaya speaking to Football Focus’s Dan Walker, most of which will never be heard by the public, and I heard an intelligent man, who was well aware of the criticism he has faced recently, but I also heard a proud man who is just as determined as ever to be the player that lit up City and the Premier League last season.
Manuel Pellegrini, never one to be drawn on what he really thinks, reluctantly admitted on Friday that Yaya Toure was not at his best, but just like me, he knows what a difference Yaya can make. He’s a special player, you’ve seen it for yourself, the best passing stats last season, loads of crucial goals and an inspiration to all around him.
I’m a fan, I make no apology for that, but Yaya is not a machine, he’s a human being. We’re all guilty of talking about “famous” people – celebrities – as if they’re a product to be cast aside or replaced when they’re used up, worn out or we find something better and we assume that they don’t care about what people say about them.
On BBC Radio Manchester, on Saturday afternoon, we asked football fans of all clubs, is it ever ok to boo your own players? It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Would you want to be booed if you had tried your hardest but not performed as you’d wanted to in your job?
That leads to one other point. Yaya Toure’s style of play can look languid, and fans generally prefer the all action type of players like James Milner, or from a different generation Danny Tiatto, which makes it harder to criticise them if they under perform, whereas a Yaya Toure or Samir Nasri or Didi Hamann can look like they don’t care. No-one notices if things are going well but everyone does when the team under performs.
As I write this Yaya Toure has played in four competitive games this season, and the way some fans have been talking he’s been poor in all those games.
He might not have been brilliant, but this is a man who has played a crucial part in the exceptional times City have had in the last few years, in fact I’d argue he’s been the key player during those last few years.
He’s obviously a proud talented man, who has had a personal trauma in his life, the sort I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
I, for one, would rather put an arm around his shoulder and support him, as Pellegrini and City seem to be doing, than be so quick to judge and criticise.
Yaya Toure is one of the best footballers I’ve ever had the privilege to see and occasionally meet. I also sense that Yaya and Kolo are special people, just as I’m sure Ibrahim (his younger brother) was. Remember this when you jump to criticise, just because he’s a highly paid footballer doesn’t make him any less human than you or I.