Footballers have a habit of getting themselves into trouble, we’re all used to that now and very little surprises me. Unfortunately people have somehow contrived to bill top players, particularly England internationals, as role models and people the rest of us mere mortals should aspire to be.
Personally, I couldn’t care less how many times any particular player has cheated on his significant other, done the dirty with his team-mates’ partners or indulged in a bit of dogging. As long as the other party is a consenting adult and nothing illegal happens. Who am I, or we, to judge? People who probably have their own shit to hide too, that’s who.
It seems as if England manager Roy Hodgson has the same viewpoint. This is what he’s had to say recently.
“You just have to deal with it and hope your players are lucky enough to stay out of the clutches of this type of journalism when something they have done in their private life – away from football – lands them in hot water,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“They are young men and people do make mistakes.
“It is a lot more difficult for players to do anything which people think they shouldn’t do as professional footballers, when it is being captured on a mobile phone and people are making money out of it by selling it to newspapers.”
Simply put, he’s not saying “don’t do it”, he’s saying “for Christ’s sake. Do. Not. Get. Caught”. The vast majority of professional footballers never wanted any kind of role model status, they just want to kick an inflated piece of leather around a field and get paid a shitload of money for doing it. It comes with perks, women for one, but you can’t go too far.
It’s a bit like being given a Ferrari but then being told it has to stay on the drive, only you can take it for a ride there’s nothing stopping you apart from consequences that may or may not arise after you’ve had your high-speed, turbocharged fun. I know I’d risk taking it for a spin; the temptation would be too great and I have no willpower anyway.
If they’re smart chances are they won’t get caught but unfortunately most footballers are stupid as hell. If you’re going to use prostitutes, it’s probably best you don’t sign autographs afterwards, if you’re going to cheat on the Mrs, go for someone who will keep it discreet not some aspiring Z lister desperate for her 15 minutes and for the love of god whatever you do – do not film it, or at the very least keep your face out of the shot.
The England boss also seems to be attacking journalists but in all probability the hacks he’s targeting won’t be reading these quotes. The people who come up with these kiss and tell stories aren’t the guys who write about sport all week, they don’t digest every word that comes out of his mouth, they’re just seeking the next scandal or whatever and if you’re in the public eye you’re fair game, you’re Cecil the Lion and they’re Walter Palmer. It could be John Terry, it could be Kim Kardashian it doesn’t matter, just so long as it gets people clicking on their stories.
I’m not judging; there’s a market for this because people are interested and that’s the bottom line – it makes money. There’s going to be one scandal at least involving an England player or players before Euro 2016, that’s almost guaranteed. All we can hope for is that it is a mildly amusing one.