Young has got priorities dead right

CRAIG YOUNG hit the nail on the head as precisely as he shot down St Martin’s the night before.

CRAIG YOUNG hit the nail on the head as precisely as he shot down St Martin’s the night before.

‘My family come first’ and ‘earning a crust’ were the themes of his personal argument as to why a top player, a current Muratti one at that, chooses not to feature for the Green Lions at present.

Young is adamant he wants to play for GFC again but, at present, when he has too much to lose and cannot commit fully, he has to turn his back on them, arguably handicapping his Muratti prospects as a result.

The Bels striker has got his approach dead right and, in an era, when us media people, associations/boards, coaches and team managers, not to forget the supporters, demand more professionalism, more commitment, Young’s comments bring reasoned and refreshing honesty to the equation.

On the other hand GFC, to be honest, don’t really need him.

They would surely like his services but as they continue to sweep all before them at the Combined Counties League level, there is no need for Tony Vance to start knocking down his door for talks.

But, as pleased as I was to hear Young’s message, there was disappointment in hearing that another GFC player, a pretty influential one at that, had opted to take a holiday and won’t be available for selection next week.

Publicly, Vance refrains from criticising his squad members for taking these breaks, but surely he knows that if the Green Lions win another promotion and a place in either the Ryman South [Isthmian] or Evostik South [Southern League], we won’t succeed with players who choose to hop off for a holiday mid-season.

Only last week Vance publicly praised his players for their commitment, which is a million miles ahead of what it was pre-GFC, and their fitness is light years ahead of what past generations of players would have settled for. They also play some magnificent football.

But surely even Vance knows that it soon won’t be acceptable for players to harm the team’s chances in this manner, and not only because the best part of 1,000 GFC season ticket-holders will want their heroes to be doing everything they can for the cause.

The whole argument of what can be reasonably expected of amateurs in an increasingly pressured and professional environment, is certainly worthy of discussion.

At the end of a wholly disappointing cricket season, many of our top cricketers will argue they were tired and deserving of taking their foot off the pedal after their commitments in preparing for World League action in Singapore at the start of the year, and Malaysia the previous September.

The more I have considered that argument increasingly I have some sympathy with it, because it is no different from an athlete [in the precise and broader term] enjoying an easy year, between the biennial cycle of an Island Games or the Commonwealths every four.

And when that happens, nobody says much, if anything.

So the question is:

Are we expecting too much of our top sportsmen and women?

The answer is probably yes, but the fan in me will always counter no.