'We're very courteous' - Paddy Andrews strongly refutes 'silly' Jim Gavin criticism
THINGS Jim Gavin has been accused of in 2017 (an incomplete list).
- Not smiling.
- Failure to exhibit adequate levels of sympathy for Mayo after beating them in the All-Ireland SFC final.
- Not celebrating boisterously enough.
- Showing no signs of emotion on the sideline.
- Not being more loquacious in press conferences.
- Not condemning his players’ tactics in the closing moments of said All-Ireland final.
“I thought it was very silly to be honest,” says Paddy Andrews, not exactly a neutral in the debate but thoughtful enough not to simply lob in an opinion dolloped in blind loyalty.
“Jim’s job is to help the team and to help us become better players. It’s not really his job or the players’ jobs to entertain outside of that.
“That’s obviously a bonus if you can play good football and have relationships with the media.
“I think we’re very courteous, genuinely, although maybe you (the media) would say different.
“But I just thought it was a bit silly to bring up something like that. Jim is an absolute gentleman and he puts his team and his county first.
“So to suffer whatever sort of slagging or whatever went on in the media, I don’t think he’d take much heed of it firstly, but I don’t think it was right.”
Together, the allegations (referenced at start) all suggest the same thing: that Gavin’s demeanour is a performance rather than the genuine persona of one of Irish sport’s most successful managers.
Those who know him immediately attest to a warm, engaging, humble man and footage of his recent oration in Round Tower Clondalkin GAA club serves as evidence of that side of Gavin’s character.
Those who observe him exclusively in his various guises as Dublin manager find no window through which to view his soul.
“It’s not for show I can assure you,” says Andrews. “Jim and everyone involved as players were probably a bit more emotional at the final whistle.
“Everyone was absolutely delighted and ecstatic because it’s such a hard thing to do to win one.
“To win three is beyond your wildest dreams really. We enjoy it ourselves in the background and that’s the way Jim is.
“I certainly wouldn’t change anything about him, he’s been an amazing coach for me as a player and for the team.
“Whatever about the stick in the media and jumping around and making a big song and dance, that’s not his style.
“He’s got class and composure.”
It may just be that Gavin becomes a trend-setter.
That in years to come, we view the sideline histrionics of managers as nothing as counter-productive self-indulgence.
“There’s times when lads probably do need a bit of a kick up the backside and you do need a bit of a telling off,” Andrews concedes.
“But I think that wears pretty thin. Once or twice a season, but that’s about it.
“Definitely on the sideline is not the place for it but maybe at training if things aren’t going well and guys aren’t putting it in, but that’s not something that we come up with that much.
“The guys are always dedicated and working hard and things like that.
“Screaming and shouting – maybe the odd time but the players wouldn’t really value it any more, especially with younger guys coming in.
“Look at any of the development squads not just in Dublin but around the country, it’s about coaching the kids and making them better players.
“It always comes back to that as players and coaches – how can I become better?
“I just don’t think screaming or shouting is productive really.”
These are rest months for those Dubs not still involved in the Dublin SFC.
Some will make the trip to the East coast of America next month.
In late December/early January, they will take their official team holiday before Gavin turns the switch for 2018.
As it stands, Andrews, reveals, nobody has said they won’t be around and he isn’t expecting any mass exodus.
“It’s up to guys to see, one, are they enjoying it and two, is the work/life balance still compatible to have a young family, do a job and be committed to the Dublin team. That’s the question for anyone,” he outlines.
“I’m 29 now and I’ll be answering that question in a couple of years myself.
“It’s a very personal decision. All I can say is it’s a very difficult place to walk away from.
“It’s a special team and we have obviously had some great success over the years and everyone still enjoys it, genuinely like.
“Thinking of the 35 or 36 guys, I know there is frustration at times for guys if they are not getting in obviously and I’ve been there myself but I think deep down it’s a very special group.
“There is no rush. We have a couple of months to think about it.
“Again, it’s a personal decision for the lads, but I’d be surprised if there’s many now, to be honest.”
Dublin footballer Paddy Andrews was in Holy Spirit BNS, Ballymun yesterday at an AIG Heroes event