What is it with footballers

Posted: August 17, 2012 in football
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So, Michael Owen when known footballer, apparently, wonders why football PLAYERS are being dealt with unkindly by some sections of the public.


To quote the great? Man;


“I turned to my wife, Louise, while sat in our lounge at home watching the Olympics, and said, ‘just you watch footballers get hammered once this is over’.





Well let me see if I can think of any reason why overpaid prima donnas may be the object of scorn from some people. They are normal human beings with an extraordinary talent … aren’t they? If this were the case then perhaps they could win an occasional game, and I don’t mean against a team from Tristan da Cuhna.


Footballers, with a few notable exceptions, behave appallingly on and off the pitch. They expect mere mortals to fawn and toady to their every whim. The sums of money they demand are obscene and not in any way, apparently, linked to performance. (Who do they think they are, bankers?) The attitude has driven some clubs to bankruptcy, players demanding ever more money without necessarily returning the performance the clubs pay for.


Players are often loutish, boorish, mean spirited and far from being the ambassadors of sport Olympians like the brilliant Jessica and the marvellous Mo. They are no longer hungry for success because, along with most of society apparently, they are consumed by greed.


This can be established as a truth, I believe by reference to another sport, Rugby Union. Now, being of a certain age, I recall with no difficulty at all the ‘amateur’ years of greats like JPR and Billy Beaumont. I am sure they were not angels, indeed characters like Jason Leonard have admitted as much. However, in the days of amateur competition there was no real publicity around the players. This can only be because 1) they were gentlemanly and discreet 2) saved their worst excesses for ‘safe environments’ or 3) the press weren’t interested. This is in stark contrast to the behaviour and press coverage of the current England team.


Is it money that makes the players monsters, or that attracts the attention of the media?


Whatever the answer, money is at the root of the problem. I am quite happy for the sports people to earn a decent wage but the obscene amounts are counter productive.

  1. Interesting and quite decent BBC article. I was going to say footballers have become entertainers rather than sports people, and I see the article came to the same conclusion by labelling them celebrities. I noticed former Leeds player John Charles featured for his good behaviour. I think that culture changed a bit with Revie’s boys.

    But on the Olympics, I thought most of Team GB were pretty good, and you can even forgive a bit of smugness for someone who has just won any medal at all, whatever colour. Personally I found Bolt’s ‘living legend’ statement a touch too arrogant for my reserved British nature. That’s for everyone else to say. In fact I saw neither him nor Farah in their races, although I did see Richard Greene (?) run a great third leg in the men’s relay.

    I thought this was an interesting blog post.
    I don’t think there is any question that sports people are role models – why else would DC be talking about investing money in training top athletes and improving sporting provision in schools if not to inspire a new young generation to emulate our Olympic athletes?

    • Yes yes yes. The Olympians give us all a lesson, but especially the spoilt footballers. No loutish or boorish behaviour there. I am quite sure if Jess or Mo had gone on a bender had sex with someone or been found collapsed in the street the media would have pounced. That there was no news but positive news demonstrates the ethic that surrounds these sports personalities.

      What surrounds footballers is a stench of stale booze and vomit.

      John Charles, sorry don’t recall the gentleman. I am sure you are right, my example would be Sir Bobby Charlton, a gentleman, gentle man, to his very core. Nicely counterpointed for these purposes by George Best.

      • Yes, but George Best was extremely talented. I felt sorry for him. He was the 60s/70s version of todays crappy footballers but could play better.

        John Charles is in a photo caption box, on the right hand side of the article you linked to. [Come along attention to detail here]. The gentle giant.

      • ATD not my strong point. Besty certainly didn’t have help from publicists and managers like they do today. Talented yes but still a bad role model.

  2. Vicky says:

    I hate football with passion, though I haven’t always.

    I’m not tarring all players with the same brush, but the problem with a lot of them these days, is they have far too much money, and being in the media spotlight, they are unable to cope with fame.
    How many celebs (and yes, I class footballers in this bracket) earning vast ammounts of money, go off the rails, be it drugs, drink, or just the arrogance of I am, so I can.

    99% of Olympic sporting personalities are totally different, they aren’t paid vast sums, so it’s certainly not the money attracting them to what they do, yes, they probably do enjoy the fame, when they stand on the podium with their medal, but looking at their faces, it’s an inner satisfaction with them, not a ‘hey, look what I can do’

    Roughseas, I couldn’t agree with you more regarding Bolt, his arrogance oozed out of him.
    He’s already joined the ‘I am, so I can’ crowd though, probably earning big money through a TV adver for a well known Broadband supplier here in the UK.

    • Too true Vicky, I last watched football in 1968, Manchester United v Benfica. The game was sublime. However, I already had an interest in a different shaped ball by then. Not all players are grotesque, and as usual the antics of the few contaminate the many, some following in the footsteps of bad boyz and some just being caught in the sidelines.

      Your description of the Olympians is spot on. There is also, after the furore has died down, the simple work ethic of get back to training for the next contest, I am only as good as the last performance. Footballers seem to be like, well last season I was great so give me more money even though I am underachieving.

    • That’s interesting V, I thought I was the only one to think that about Bolt. Everything I read (OK I didn’t trawl every news source on the internet) seemed to suck up to him. That’s not to take away from his achievement, but did he really need to say so? Did Ben Ainslie say that or Sir Chris Holt? Equally valid statements. I didn’t watch anything live of his, so I can’t say what he was like. But to pronounce yourself a living legend?

      So, at the time, and all for different reasons/records, were Chris Bannister, so was Mark Spitz, so was Martina Navratilova, probably Geoffrey Boycott was too for all I know, or Ian Botham. And then there is Mohammed Ali, Kip Keino (currently, aged 72, running an orphanage for children in Kenya), Chuck Norris, Geoff Capes, or even Nicola Adams – first boxing gold for a woman? Surely that is ‘legendary’ in a different way. Had to end on a Yorkshire note and sorry Roy for the tangent. /rant

      • Vicky says:

        There are many great achievers who don’t blow their own trumpet.
        Talking of Nicola Adams, what a wonderful down to earth personality, and such an amazing smile.

      • Of course, she comes from Leeds 😉

      • No worries with the tangent or the rant, I enjoy stimulating debate! Of course you didn’t mention Daley Thompson and Dave Bedford, but I forgive you.
        I think there is something intrinsically British about disliking the overly self confident. I would just like to say ‘I am a living legend’ is hardly the thing one expects to hear from someone. It’s a bit like saint hood, it’s for others to decide. Of course, ‘I am the greatest’ must be a whole other ball game! In his day, I found Cassius Clay / Ali just as repugnant in his pronouncements of brilliance, although I think on Parky he was being outrageous because he knew the audience loved it, see the naughty boy twinkle in his eye. However, like Clay / Ali, Bolt is performing at a whole other level. Time will tell if he is great and that is as much about what he does after sport as it does with his track performance. Kip Keino has my vote as great. Thanks for drawing the Pens attention to this.

      • I didn’t, although I remember those too. I just picked some random sporting names that came to mind because of achievements, not necessarily Olympics or British.

        I do think at the time, Clay/Ali was the greatest in his boxing class/weight so there wasn’t much argument. Arrogant (like Bolt yes) but not inaccurate. I think legend is taking it a stretch too far. Two Olympic medals in succession doesn’t make someone a ‘living legend’.

        ‘I am pleased to have achieved these double golds both for myself, and more importantly for my country of Jamaica,’ would have been correct. In my British opinion.

        And as you say, what he does afterwards, like Keino and others, is what matters. That’s when you stop being a five minute wonder and earn respect.

  3. Hey up, Leeds like, IMHO not all that comes out of Leeds is great, my mil for example!!

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