A coroner has criticised top football clubs for the “cruel” practice of ditching young players, after an aspiring footballer killed himself as he battled with depression after being dropped from a Premier League club.Whilst what the young man did was tragic for friends and family, I simply cannot accept the coroners statement that Premiership clubs have a duty to somehow keep going with players who are clearly not going to make the grade. Josh sadly wasn't good enough and if he'd been schooled in the atmosphere of hard knocks that my generation got used too in schools he'd have probably developed the necessary defence mechanisms to cope with failure, God alone knows I had enough knocks and setbacks to cope with, though admittedly I was not that talented at sports.
Josh Lyons spent three years as a young teenager trying out for a place at Tottenham Hotspur when he was ditched by the club at 16. He played for other teams but struggled with depression and killed himself earlier this year at the age of 26.
Dr Karen Henderson, the assistant deputy coroner for West Sussex, criticised clubs that “build up the hopes” of young players only to drop them, and called for more support for aspiring footballers.
“It was that pivotal point that crushed a young man's life and all the dreams that go with it,” she said.
"That one moment I find was the single most important factor that led to the events that ended on the train tracks.
Schools and indeed parents today rarely if ever teach their kids about dealing with failure, it simply didn't happen. Look at the banshee wails when the government made examination marking a bit harder after so many successive years of kids getting better results yet an ever higher turnout of illiterates was recorded. Kids and parents have become unused to failure, not because they are cleverer or better, but simply because a system was set in place to prevent failure being acknowledged or learned about.
As it is, kids reach adulthood or get into an adult environment and discover a whole new ball game where failure to perform to a certain standard has very direct results and if they haven't learned to cope with failure, well sometimes the result is tragic.
What happened to Josh is awful, but the blame does not lie with the football club, it lies with those who did not teach him to deal with failure.