Blogs Yaya Toure

Published on September 20th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman


“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.

Yaya Toure Stats

Some of Yaya Toure’s stats from last season

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.

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4 Responses to “Yaya Toure, my opinion” | Ian Cheeseman

  1. Tony Ford says:

    If my sibling were to die I’d get a few days off work on compassionate grounds, probably until the funeral and then I would be expected back at work. If I didn’t show up and perform to the best of my ability my continued employment would be in serious doubt. If I combined such shenanigans with a blatant attempt to get a significant pay rise by claiming some insignificant slight against me, just because my sales figures had been pretty good for the last nine months or so, I would be chased out of the building.

    Yaya has been an integral part of the success City have enjoyed since 2010/11 and at his best he can be devastating. Unfortunately, at times he can also be a passenger, not picking up runners and ambling around the pitch without making any kind of telling contribution, just as he did on Wednesday against Bayern. After the nonsense of this summer Yaya needed to make a strong start to the season. He hasn’t.

    To be honest, with his value probably as high as it will ever be and Toure marching in to his thirties, I think City would have been best to sell in the summer. Maybe they would have done but there were no takers. Whatever, with both Fernando & Fernandinho fit I’m not sure I’d pick Toure, especially not on current form.

  2. Brisbane Blue says:

    Well written Cheesy and your thoughts echo comments I made elsewhere a couple of days ago. I wonder how a post injury Colin Bell would have fared against the impatience of a modern day football crowd

  3. Bill Farley says:

    Well said Ian. Nobody is at their best all the time and YaYa obviously had a difficult summer. I live in Kentucky in the US, and we have two top college basketball teams, but it’s the same with them. I’m a huge City fan and YaYa is a difference maker. I’m willing to be patient.

  4. Bob Fasoli says:

    Ian, I agree with all you say. I lost my son some years back and I don’t think I would have done my job as well as I could for a little while. That is understandable. However what is not understandable is the Managers attitude.

    Ya Ya’s performance is obviously being affected and that is affecting the team. We are playing with 10 1/2 players. So MP should understand and rest Ya Ya until he has had time to get himself back together. Continuing to play him does not help him or the team.

    Ya Ya had an outstanding season last, but that was last. As a Manager you can’t live in the past. The team is his responsibility and playing Ya Ya at the moment is not for the best.

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