So here’s the thing.
Our Director of Rugby David “Dai” Young recently admitted to the Coventry Telegraph that he was in a “dark, lonely place”. I’d like to take a moment to express exactly how I feel about Dai Young at this moment.
I am truly, and deeply proud to have him at the helm of the club I love.
Obviously there is more to it than that, and I will explain, but I don’t want there to be any doubt in your mind as you start to read this.
We Owe Him
I’ve spoken about this many times, and so have many other people. But during the club’s darkest days, when we were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and we didn’t know how it was going to play out Dai stuck by the club.
He’d come on board not knowing how bad the situation was, and no-one would have blamed him for walking away but he didn’t. He dug deep, he paid for supplies out of his own pocket and he helped save Wasps from going under. Clearly he didn’t do this by himself, but I honestly believe that we would not be here today if it was not for Dai.
He Genuinely Cares
He has a developed a reputation for hiding his emotions. Whatever is going on on the field it is a rare day when he cracks a smile, or indeed shows any visible emotion. But I think it is safe to say that that is not the man he is. It is simply the persona he takes on when sitting in the public eye as the leader of the club.
He has made it clear on many occasions that it is not about him. That he is not the story. And his approach effectively gives the press nothing to latch on to. There are DORs who take vastly different approaches, and that is entirely their right. But the recent rumours and negative press about the club show very clearly that he is doing the right thing.
But, and this is the bit that actually matters. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Just go read the article about how he felt watching Dan Robson not be brought off the bench in the England Ireland game last week.
He Has Real Vision
For years now Wasps have been playing a different game from everyone else. Some have laid this at the door of Danny Cipriani, but anyone with eyes to see knows that this is not the case.
Whether it was us struggling at Adams Park with Stephen Jones at the helm, the stunning win against Toulon led by Ruaridh Jackson not long after moving into the Ricoh, or the glory days of 2017 when we finished 1st in the league the way the club has attempted to play has been the same.
How on earth a former world class prop can take a team and develop such a free flowing, running game is beyond me, but it is clear that that is his goal and when it works well Wasps are the envy of every team in the world.
He Has Integrity
When the salary cap debacle exploded a few years ago there was one team that lead the way in being honest, accountable, and outraged at the idea that other clubs may have been cheating the cap. He was the man who stood up and made it clear that Wasps deeply opposed the alleged financial transgressions, and that we had no part in them. Once he’d stuck his head above the parapet other DORs followed his lead. But it was Dai who had the integrity to make his feelings clear.
Unlike many coaches in the public eye when Dai says something, you know he isn’t simply spinning a line to get the press off his back, or to create media interest for the sake of it.
It isn’t just with regards to the big rules, and the alleged cheating where his integrity shows. He also refuses to pass the buck, even when he would be perfectly entitled to. He recently said:
“It’s my job to support them, but it’s a pretty lonely place for me.”
His metaphorical shoulders are clearly as broad as his actual shoulders.
We’ve Got Your Back Dai
It is not exaggeration to say that Wasps have the names of some genuine rugby legends among their DORs Melville, Gatland, McGeechan to name but a few. And I for one would not swap Dai Young for any of them.
If you read this Dai, then please remember that despite the verbose tirades of a few outliers, pretty much all the fans of Wasps are proud you are our leader. You’re doing a great job, and we’ve got your back!
What do you think? Are you on Dai’s team? Come and tell us in our forums.