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Yaya Toure Is Not Moving On – So City Fans Need To.

July 19, 2014

Relax everyone. Yaya is staying and it seems it was never in doubt. We can move on, secure in the knowledge that one of the world’s best midfielders will be strutting his stuff for the Citizens next season. What’s more, he wants to see out his contract and be at the club for a long time. As a result of his pledge, a few of us probably feel a bit stupid after slamming him constantly for the past two months, eh?

Well not quite. You’d have to be pretty naive to think Toure has not had a problem with City at any point this summer. His agent might be another of the type that like to stir, make spurious claims and generally unsettle their clients, and god knows plenty of his type have passed through City’s doors down the years, but there is no smoke without fire on this occasion, especially as his agent is such a close friend that Yaya named one of his children after him. Seluk is not some loose cannon making bold statements without the consent of his client.

So what did happen? You can type on a facebbok group page as many times as you want that he is a spoilt
mercenary, he owes the fans, he is paid a fortune, he should shut up, who does he think he is, he is dead to me, sell him, buy Pogba instead, why didn’t he quell the rumours, why ruin the celebrations, what is his problem, he needs to grow up and so on ad infinitum, but none of us knows what really happened.

My completely unsubstantiated, shot-in-the-dark, wild stab at the truth? Yaya, like many top footballers, is a precious soul. As subsequent missives have suggested, he doesn’t feel appreciated as a footballer – a cannibal, injury-feigning cheat winning Player of The Year awards ahead of him probably didn’t help. If he wasn’t black he’d get more adulation. If he wasn’t African, he and his national team would get more respect. This feeling of not being appreciated and loved then spread to his employers, who probably hadn’t realised they had a player requiring special attention. His agent was instructed to test the water about a possible change of career, a tactic used to engineer his move to City from Barcelona, a tactic that the agent seemed to dabble with every summer. Maybe this wasn’t done to get a move, but another new contract. Hey, it works for Wayne Rooney. The problem is, Yaya Toure’s cakegate moment was due to his 31st birthday. Not many clubs want to pay huge wages and a large transfer fee for a man in his thirties. It seemed Yaya’s options were limited, especially as it wasn’t long since the last shiny new contract. Thus Yaya and his agent back-tracked quicker than Liverpool’s open-topped bus.

And so, Yaya appears on Sky Sports News very briefly to mumble something down a telephone line telling us all he is disappointed by the speculation, speculation that he started. His reputation is still tarnished with many fans. What rankles most is that this was all so unnecessary, coming at a time as we all celebrated a double. There’s few things more unsavoury than a player and his unlicensed agent publically playing out a spat with their employers. If he has a problem with City, at least have the decency to sort it in private, rather than leaving cryptic messages in the public domain and getting your representative to talk utter drivel on Sky Sports News. Of course, footballers do not live in the same world as us, and do not think about the consequences of many of their actions. This whole saga was played this way deliberately, and was calculated by Toure and his camp for reasons we can’t verify, but they soon seemed to have realised that City’s hierarchy don’t stand for this sort of crap anymore. They decide who goes and who stays, not the players themselves. In addition to this, I doubt Yaya Toure is losing too much sleep at the thought that a few fans are not impressed with his actions over the summer – he won’t be aware of any anger. Hopefully he doesn’t have a Bluemoon subscription.

BUT. Yaya Toure’s younger brother died this summer. Some City fans seem to struggle with the magnitude of this. This was no sudden occurrence – he had fought cancer for some time. As Yaya Toure helped City fight for the title, he knew his brother was dying. As he celebrated the title triumph and jetted off to Abu Dhabi, he knew his brother was dying. As he flew to Brazil for the World Cup, he knew his brother was dying. And as he participated in the World Cup with Kolo, their brother passed away, aged just 28. This didn’t seem to matter too much to some fans when assessing the actions of Yaya Toure. Far more important than the death of a sibling was Yaya’s failure to assure needy football fans on the internet. I can’t begin to think what has been going through Toure’s mind over the past few months – so much to deal with, and I am not sure how I could have coped myself. He has been through hell, and I doubt we could all act like perfect human beings in such circumstances. The club knew this, and had offered extensive support over previous months – they knew to keep their counsel and try and resolve any problems quietly and efficiently.

So basically – cut him some slack. Not much maybe, but some. Personally, I couldn’t care less how much of a brat he may or may not be if he continues to perform on the pitch – if his performances wane, then it becomes a problem. Don’t cheer him, don’t chant his name, don’t consider him a legend, who cares? This is the guy who scored the winner in the semi-final of the FA Cup against United, the match when City truly arrived and everyone knew our name. He then scored the winner in the final to bring City their first trophy in a generation (the Thomas Cook trophy does not count). He scored a goal at Newcastle that to me was as important as THAT Aguero goal. His 20+ goals last season from midfield was vital in regaining the title. If he doesn’t have the diplomacy or respect of Kompany or Zabaleta then so be it. Carlos Tevez may never be a legend at City either (however you define such a thing), but both were vital in making this club what it is today. Toure is staying, he is not moving on – as fans, we need to do the opposite, and support the team as an exciting new season approaches. We all have short memories – a derby-winning goal and the summer saga will be a distant memory.


You can buy my Manchester City 2013/14 Season review book here:

Or at the National Football Museum, Urbis.


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  1. HeavyRiffs permalink

    ‘Thus Yaya and his agent back-tracked quicker than Liverpool’s open-topped bus.’

    *Wipes coffee off computer screen…

  2. old cynic permalink

    You forgot to include in the timeline the time that he spent in Quatar (psg anyone) between Abu Dhabi and the World Cup posing with his birds of prey.

    Time in hindsight, perhaps better spent at the Christie

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