It made a welcome change to see Mike Tindall and the England Rugger boys on the front and back pages due to their antics on a night out in Queenstown New Zealand over the last couple of days. Allegedly groping girls, picking up midgets and getting generally sh!t faced has left this well-to-do class of sportsman with egg on their boat races. No doubt they were just having a laugh and who doesn’t enjoy midget flinging? But the reason I enjoyed this one was because for once, it is not footballers in the news, especially in a week where drugs and football have been in the limelight.
I don’t understand why a lot of the football population seem like they would be more at home on the Jeremy Kyle show rather than on a football pitch. Some of the livestock in our Premier League at the moment is nothing short of laughable when you look at how they conduct themselves and it makes you wonder what is wrong with them? They have the world at their feet, the opportunity of a lifetime and seem intent on messing it up.
Now don’t get me wrong a lot of footballers are well behaved and you will never see their name in the papers for the wrong reasons…think of players like David Beckham and Ryan Giggs…whoops, my mistake. These two have got a mention but you don’t see them portraying this ‘invincible’ type attitude that you do with other players who think they are literally above the law, whether that’s actual law or the unwritten laws that govern the streets. Players that disrespect not only their employers but also the hard working fan off the streets.
You don’t hear too much about players like England international Michael Dawson who just likes to keep his head down and stay away from the limelight. Someone like Fernando Torres at Chelsea, who may have rocked up to his first days training at Chelsea in a brand new Aston Martin DB9, but doesn’t swagger around the training ground thinking he is ‘the man’ like some other Chelsea players.
The older generation maybe dying out, but a lot of these guys were some of the first to experience the real wealth of the Premier League and the real pit-falls of stardom. During his first six months at Chelsea, Fernando Torres was a bit of a loaner, he would eat on his own in the player’s canteen and go home to his wife and kids.
This was in stark contrast to someone like Frank Lampard who likes to rock around Chelsea thinking he is ‘the man’, preferring to wade in to the canteen at Chelsea in a towel and flip-flops, before eating at the ‘top table’ with Ashley Cole and John Terry and leaving his plate for someone else to clear up when every other player does it themselves.
No doubt Frank is a bit too big for his boots but at least he isn’t the kind of guy you would see on the Jeremy Kyle show. But other senior England stars captain John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney you might as they have all been arrested or getting in lady trouble at one point or another and this seems a problem that is inherent in football. All footballers are role models, but it seems that this responsibility isn’t enough to keep some in check. Players like Marlon King who has continuously been in trouble with the ‘old bill’ throughout his career and seem to get away without being punished because their football value outweighs the ethics of employing a criminal. Nothing seems enough of a deterrent for these guys and the most worrying thing is the trouble that ‘new money’ footballers seem to be heading the same way as the more experienced players.
We find ourselves in the North-East with Newcastle striker Nile Ranger and this guy is either dumb and dumber rolled in to one or just a complete muppet. For someone who has, in my opinion, minimal talent and mostly potential, he hasn’t been repaying the faith the club have shown in him after they awarded him a new 5-year at the end of 2010. At 4.53am on Sunday September 11th, the 20-year-olds Range Rover was pulled over by police and Nile Ranger was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. This was hot on the heels of him being bailed for assault last month after an incident near a nightclub. Both of these are on the back of the club having to apologise in May 2011 after pictures emerged of the ‘lone ranger’ posing with a replica gun.
Andy Carroll is another player who doesn’t seem to be far away from the headlines. In October 2010 he pleaded guilty to an assault in a nightclub and in the December charges were dropped against him following an alleged assault on his former girlfriend. Following his move to Liverpool Carroll has twice been criticised by Fabio Capello for his drinking habits and has been warned he needs to ‘drink less’ to fulfil his potential.
As well as Ranger being a ‘young gun’ quickly establishing a rep as a bit of an idiot, there are more high profile youngsters like Jack Wilshere was involved in a incident that ended up in court. Wilshere started this after telling a girl ‘Come with us, we’ve got more money’ as he attempted to pull her in front of her boyfriend at a night club…cue a fight, shock.
If this was me I would live like a monk until I am 35 retired and have a pot of money to go and have a blow out on. I don’t get it at all, what is the problem here? Is it the money at an early age? Is it being led a stray by the wrong people? Is it the fact that people will always have a pop at footballers if they see them out. For me footballers are contributing to their own problems, drink driving and assault charges are likely to be no one else fault than that person. Being brash and flash only gets up the general public nose, most of who will be affected by the recession the country is in and the last thing they want is a flashy footballer in their face. In truth the only players who seem to actually give a sh!t are the lower league players who have a lot more to lose.
By no means should footballers not drink the best booze, drive the most expensive cars or live in ridiculous lodgings, but it goes deeper than the superficial material world. We are literally seeing a generation of players seem to have issues that belong on the Jeremy Kyle show rather than in the public domain and it is up to the clubs to do something about it.