This decade, when it’s over, will surely be remembered as the time when it was uncool to be young. The London riots, as awesome and energetic display of youthful disorder as it was, did nothing but make every other kid in the country look like ASBO material.
The masses of greasy skinned teens at home sponging off mum because there’s no jobs means that today’s youth are a bunch of lazy, unkempt and unrefined yobs who haven’t the gumption to get up from behind their Playstation’s and go out and make a decent contribution. If they do leave the house it is to go and hang outside a fried chicken joint and cause trouble. Ohh, who would want to be young today?
Andre Villas Boas, the ‘young man’ of the EPL, is the latest youth in Britain to be written off before he’s even got started. Fact. Ok, he’s not 18 but in footballing terms at 34 he is literally viewed by many a sports pundit and commentator as a pubescent apprentice caught in the headlights.
Spurs fans’ many of which are unhappy at the appointment of ‘new kid on the block’ Boas have eagerly joined the queue behind the sports pundits and tabloids turns to lay into the EPL’s latest young punch-bag.
Last season, literally one day had elapsed after Chelsea revealed Villas Boas would be taking their helm when Ray Wilkins is quoted as saying on MOTD, “It will be interesting to see how this young man copes with all the expectation at Chelsea. There’s a lot of guys in that dressing room who aren’t much younger than him, so it will be interesting to see how this young man lives with that. He’s a very young man is that Villas Boas. A very young man indeed.”
Personally I like the way Ray Wilkins comes across. I’ve never known a man be able to constantly string together so many superlatives in one go. However on that occasion I couldn’t help feeling as though Ray Wilkins was condescending youth as whole, not just Villas Boas.
Or maybe even more sinisterly Ray Wilkins was just tapping into what is currently a Western observation on our young of today, that young people these days, rather than helping build up our society, are tearing it down and have become oppressors to modern society. When you are categorised as such then as young enterprising individual conditions to generate your own success become laboured against a backdrop of extreme prejudice and negativity.
For example, fast forward to this season and in between then and now the ‘carrot top youngster’ was guilty of ‘losing control’ of the dressing room at Chelsea and his teams’ ‘tactically inept’ displays were worrying the owner; so much to the extent that he was sacked in his first season (even though they were still in the Champions League).
All the doubters as to what this young pretender was about began to grow in voice. An older head would have kept it all under control to be sure. You wouldn’t see that happening under Mourinho or Ferguson you would hear. The Portuguese league is weaker than ours..blah blah blah…Villas Boas came to work in a Mini Cooper…blah blah….etc.
Villas-Boas tactics have been lamented by Chelsea and Spurs fans as not defensively sound enough, too flaky and this ultimately sets the foundation to heap more criticism on to those narrow young shoulders.
His post match interviews leave one imagining either people have found him to be intelligent and focused, or indeed people have instantly switched off to the sight of a fresh faced kid. All in all as far as most fans at Chelsea and Spurs think, and as far as many a football pundit thinks, Villas-Boas is a young lad who doesn’t know what he’s doing in the Premier League.
As Andre Villas Boas has found out, the burden of youth has never been so great and perhaps never more so in focus as before in this country.
The question remains as to how Villas-Boas will perform for Spurs and how long he we will be given to display his talents by Daniel Levy. Against what is not a particularly rosy outlook for today’s young, I applaud Villas-Boas for having the courage and conviction to try and succeed in England with Spurs.
In my humble opinion Spurs fans and sports commentators and pundits should give AVB a break. Being young in years isn’t so bad.
What if Villas-Boas wins the league for Spurs in the next five years as did Sir Alex Ferguson for Man Utd? He will still only be 39 which is still young for a Premier League manager. Will he still be a very young man indeed then?
Let us know what you think, Does AVB deserve some slack after Tottenham's bad start but difficult transfer window?
image: © Vladimir Maiorov