I wish they would shut up and put up with their lot. They do not realise how fortunate they are.
Not all footballers fall into that bracket. Of course they don’t. For the sake of balance, I can confirm that there are players out there who appreciate the riches life has delivered them.
But it appears ever more the case that the moment players make it into the Premier League, they think they are ‘big time Charlies’ who should be treated in a manner more associated with someone who has displayed great bravery in the field of battle. Rather than simply kicking a ball on a football field.
They seem to think they are doing us fans a favour in turning up to play.
Earlier in the year, a consistently average footballer called Jay Bothroyd took to Twitter to moan about how the then Sheffield Wednesday manager, Dave Jones, was treating him during a loan spell at Hillsborough. He was sick and tired of being played as a loan striker. Too much work for him to do, he said.
Bothroyd had rightly been judged by QPR to be not good enough to play regularly in the Premier League, so off he went on his UK tour of tattoo parlours. Interspersed with having to run around on a football pitch for 90 minutes and turn up for training a few mornings each week.
Bothroyd even made the mistake of having a go at the very fans who were contributing to a salary that was even larger than his head.
Now how many brain cells do you have to possess to know that, as a footballer, slagging off the fans of the club you play for may not be a good move? Unless, of course, you and your agent are trying to engineer another move.
That Bothroyd has being unable to find a club since QPR released him last June fills me with hope. Perhaps not every manager is so desperate, every Chairman not so stupid, as to take on a liability like Jay Bothroyd.
How this man ever won an England cap (albeit only as a sub in a friendly) is beyond me. Any talent the young Bothroyd may have had was lost long ago. Perhaps all those tattoos sapped his energy.
When Bothroyd had his honeymoon paid for by his friend, the third son of the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the footballer said that “you can only judge people as you see them.”
Well, football fans in England have done just that when it comes to Jay Bothroyd. Be they supporters of QPR, Cardiff, Charlton, Wolves or Sheffield Wednesday; sooner or later the fans realised his mouth was more prolific than his feet.
Twitter has shone a bright light on just how arrogant, conceited, ignorant, greedy and self serving many footballers are.
There have always been thick footballers. The difference today is that we hear more from them and, sadder still, that the media hang on their every juvenile utterance.
Bothroyd is just one of several footballers who have moaned about how present or past managers have treated them. They cry like babies. “It’s not my fault I can’t score… blame the manager.”
They talk about their bosses being “terrible at man management.” What would they know about acquiring that skill?
This from footballers who cannot tie their shoelaces unless their agent tells them how (or gets them a lucrative financial deal for lace free boots).
Malky Mackay is not a man I’ve had any dealings with. But many in the game have utmost respect for him. People who know their stuff and know what it takes to be a successful manager.
He has been sacked as manager of Cardiff City. His dismissal was like waiting a long time for a bus you knew would turn up eventually. Mackay played it well. He refused to bow under the pressure of club owner Vincent Tan – one of several cash rich idiots running football clubs these days.
Tan tried to force his manager into resignation with the same bully boy tactics he employed to persuade Cardiff fans that it was OK to have the team play in red, rather than blue shirts. Mackay held out for the sack and, no doubt, his lawyers will be trying to settle on a financial pay off. Mackay will be back in work soon enough.But he will not be signing a player I had never heard of until I turned on Twitter to see what reaction there was to his dismissal. It was there I came across someone by the name of Ibrahim Farah. He was gloating about Mackay being sacked. He revelled in sticking the knife into his former boss. How classy!
It seems Ibrahim Farah had his contract cancelled by Mackay. So his tweets are no doubt sponsored by a bitter!
Farah doesn’t go in for punctuation, so I have added it for your benefit. In twitter speak he said: “What goes around comes around.. treat people how you wanted to be treated. Malky treated players at the club like dirt. Fans don’t see it. Good manager who knew how to win games, but his man management skills were terrible.”
In modern day footballer speak that equals: “He didn’t play me enough…. he made me train with the reserves… he didn’t put his arm around me and give me a cuddle… he refused my agent a pay rise” etc etc
There are days when I wish Jimmy Hill had not won his long battle to have the maximum wage for a footballer scrapped. Having seen Bothroyd play for my club, £20 a week was more than sufficient remuneration for his effort.
Jimmy Hill is now, I am told, in a home and suffers from alzheimer’s disease.
Premier League footballers of today should be donating 10% of their annual income to charities who help those suffering from such an awful disease. Or to those scientific researchers who work tirelessly to find a cure for dementia.
After all, but for Jimmy Hill, they would not be able to drive their flash motors and live in splendid isolation from the public. Those grubby people who contribute to their wage packet.
It is not a cliche to say footballers used to travel to games on the same bus, train or tube as the fans. I saw players of the 1960’s do so.
Decades later, at the gates of a training ground, I recall Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank driving his huge, supposedly off road vehicle so fast that the disabled fan he knew to be waiting for an autograph had to be swiftly pushed out of the way by a family member. No doubt Hasslebank had a more pressing lunch engagement.
I do not dislike all modern day footballers. Indeed, through my umpteen year support of one club, and my 25 years as a producer of televised sport, I have had numerous enjoyable acquaintances with footballers. Even a handful who I would call long term friends.
I just wish the sensible, grounded, in touch with the real world variety would speak out more. That they would be asked more intelligent and searching questions by reporters than: “Did you feel pressure?” (the word ‘pressure’ should have no place in football coverage).
There are footballers out there who do know what has gone on in Syria these past three years. There are footballers who make payments to charities that try to save lives the world over. I know there are. They do so without boasting about it.
There are players who watch TV channels other than Sky Sports News. What a shame we don’t hear more from them.
Instead we read about the latest footballer or footballers who have gone out on the town, persuaded a young, vulnerable, possibly incapable female back to a hotel room. They take it in turn to have their way with her – and film their supposed sexual prowess on a mobile telephone.
It would be something if these spoilt delinquents were fit to lace the boots of George Best, Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves, Pele, Messi, Cruyff or other truly excellent players of my lifetime. But they are not.
So very often it is the ordinary players who are lucky to be making a living in the Premier League that are the most vocal on Twitter. Not content with throwing their toys out of the pram on the training ground, they now do so on social media.
Footballers are entitled to have an opinion. Some are intelligent and impart information that is useful to our understanding of the modern game.
But too many are like Ibrahim Farah and Jay Bothroyd.
Some end up in prison cells for committing disgusting crimes. They thought they would not be convicted because they are footballers. In their world, surely they are above the law.
They can hardly believe it when the judge says that the next game of football they play will be for the prison 11.
Others, like Farah and Bothroyd, find themselves without a club.
And for that at least, I am very thankful.