James Maddison’s old tweets are bad, but Tottenham fans should forgive him
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If James Maddison wasn’t familiar with the concept of too little, too late before, he most certainly will be now. The England international is on the cusp of signing for Tottenham Hotspur; financial agreements appear to be progressing at a promising rate, presumably his relevant medical tests will flit by without a hitch, and the general mood among Spurs’ fanbase has been... buoyant.
There’s always something, though. That’s just the Tottenham way. Such are the proclivities of the rabid Twitter mob, onlookers with too much time on their hands have trawled back through Maddison’s social media archives to find a series of tweets that are, let’s just say, less than positive about his prospective new employers. In them, a young Madders expresses his desire to see Luis Suarez ‘destroy’ Spurs - who he is quick to emphasise that he does not like one bit - and in another he compares Gareth Bale to a ‘chimpanzee’. Which is ironic given he’s the one flinging crap around.
Within hours of his jibes being unearthed, Maddison had deleted them from his account. It was a move that felt a little like taking down a drunken Instagram story the morning after a night out; you can pretend it was never there, but it still doesn’t change that fact that god knows how many people had already seen it. Like I said, too little, too late.
For what it’s worth though, I don’t think this is the end of the world, and I’m sure that any sane Spurs fan will be inclined to agree. For one thing, the tweets were written way back in 2013, when Maddison was only 16. Now, that’s not to say that it exonerates him of any and all blame - and the Bale insults in particular feel like cheap, cruel shots at low hanging fruit - but you would like to think that in the years since, the Leicester City star has matured considerably. The manner in which he conducts himself in interviews and other media appearances would certainly suggest that he has. Plus, the mortification of his inevitable meeting with Bale at some unspecified point in the future is surely punishment enough for his teenage self’s transgression.
And then, of course, there is the small matter of what he will bring to this Tottenham side. Players aren’t signed on the basis of their social media activity as a child, but rather, what they can produce in the here and now. In that regard, Maddison should have no problems whatsoever.
We’re talking about a player who made 19 goal contributions in 30 Premier League outings for a club who were soundly relegated last season, and who has felt like a top six talisman-in-waiting for quite some time already. He is versatile, intelligent, and well-rounded on the pitch, and he should have no problems adapting to life in north London. Just imagine what he should be able to do with Harry Kane in front of him... assuming he stays, of course.
Football fans, by our very nature, are fickle beings. Sometimes that can be a bad thing. In this instance, it might not be the worst trait. Give Maddison a couple of months and a pre-season tournament to prove his worth, and those pesky tweets will soon be forgotten, even by the lingering minority who have received them with earnest offence.
And in the meantime, let this act as a public service announcement to the rest of us; be careful with what you tweet, because who knows, in a decade’s time it could be you signing for Tottenham Hotspur.