Charlie Ray (@charlieray47), a journalism degree student at University Centre Milton Keynes, explains why the Carlos Tevez saga is bad for grass roots football.
CARLOS Tevez, a man who has caused constant problems on the training ground, pitch and bench, is now being branded as the possible saviour of Manchester City.
But for me, the striker embodies everything that is wrong with the modern game. I’m only 20, so it wouldn’t be right for me to drum up images of football nostalgia and start saying “back in my day”.
But for the good of football, it was imperative that Tevez never played for an English club again.
Having refused to come off the bench in a key Champions League fixture and, after disappearing for a period stretching to almost six months, I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that many within the football community didn’t see a future for Tevez in England.
These assumptions seemed well-founded after Roberto Mancini’s open and seemingly honest displays of annoyance, anger and disappointment. The Italian was adamant the Argentinian would never play for City again, and so were we.
The tables have been turned though, both metaphorically and literally.
Manchester United are still the bookies favourite for the title but City’s number 32 is back, and he’s scoring goals. Tevez has sauntered back into Premier League football with no obvious loss of form or fitness. Scoring four in two starts for the club he’s had so many problems with, it seems all is forgiven.
But the same cannot be said for his team-mate, Mario Balotelli.
The Italian striker, who is rarely out of the headlines (but constantly in the referee’s note book), is the man everybody loves to hate, the man in the dog-house at City and the ‘bad boy’ of British football. Having said this, I recently heard a BBC Sport pundit say “At least Mario was there” – and I couldn’t agree more.
Through all his match incidents and off-the-field antics, Balotelli has been there for Mancini to pick him if so wishes and yet he is the trouble-maker and the player that ‘could cost City the title’.
So what then, is all this doing for the image of football? I feel sad and frustrated by the behaviour of Tevez, but what annoys me more is the long term affect his actions could have.
In a time where Mohicans spread faster than the common cold and the name on the back of your replica shirt seems more important than the shirt itself, it’s quite likely that, regardless of his attitude and arrogance, young footballers will look up to Tevez.
They will see that it’s okay to act like a spoilt brat as long as you score a goal in your next game. Then where will that leave youth football?
Football is such a large part of many youngsters’ lives that our clubs need to send the right message.
So like Mancini earlier this season, it’s the footballing communities turn to feel let down.
> If you are interested in studying for a foundation degree in journalism at University Centre Milton Keynes, email Jon Boyle on firstname.lastname@example.org or apply via UCAS