Yesterday in The Times, Matt Dickinson, a writer I like and whose pieces I look out for, wrote of Andre VillasBoas “What is the substance to a man who has risen so young that he has had to cultivate a beard purely to look older than his years? Villas-Boas believes that, in masking his youth, facial hair earns him more respect from his players. Yet there must be more to this workaholic than a beard.”
Today, the same newspaper’s Matthew Syed, another writer whose work I’ve enjoyed for some time, asked in passing “and what about that strange beard?” I’m not sure if The Times‘s normally excellent sports desk have been at the Christmas Baileys, but what’s this obsession with the beard? How can Dickinson know why AVB grew the beard? I’d be surprised if he sat him down for an off-the-record explanation – “Matt, I need to explain to you about my beard…” How does this stuff get past the first edit?
With attention now moving to interim-perhaps-apprentice-maybe-trial-period-while-Levy-puts-off-having-to-make-another-decision managing caretaker coach director of footballing on pitch operative matters Tim Sherwood, meanwhile, an old interview with The Guardian has resurfaced in which the important matter of Sherwood’s taste in cheese has come up. Apparently he eschews all but cheddar, and only mild cheddar at that. So there you have it.
I trust the big cheeses in the boardroom at Spurs will be taking considerations such as facial hair styling and partiality to coagulated casein into account as they deliberate over who is next in line for a compensation package in about 18 months. It will probably be as effective as any other method they have used in the last 12 years. The fact that the etymology of the word cheese is derived from the proto-Indo-European word kwat – that’s with a k – meaning “to ferment, turn sour” is entirely coincidental.