Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Footballers = Evil?

       BY  Benjamin Bloom

Footballers are stupid rich bastards. We know this because we're not stupid rich bastards, so it stands to reason that they must be. But I propose a solution to rid us good people of the bad that plagues us, one that is as dramatic as it will be effective. What we do is, we round up anyone that could potentially become parents to a stupid rich footballer and we sterilise them, that's right, sterilise them, it's the only option. I've thought long and hard about this so you don't have to, and you know you can trust me because I'm not a stupid rich footballer. Think of the glorious future, no more stupid rich bastards to ruin it (apart from bankers and politicians who are definitely stupid rich bastards), we clever poor, not bastard, people can play instead, and just to make sure no more stupid rich bastards happen again, we can turn football into something rubbish like bowls, and we can all just go and do something that shows how clever and poor we are, like going to a library. But hopefully that's before this stupid rich bastard government closes them all down.

Now I've got my plans on how to improve society off my chest, we can get down to the question of whether they are in fact evil. I'm assuming all of our first guesses are obviously yes, they are as inherently evil as they are talented and we have the evidence to prove it: a soft drink commercial that has been running the last few weeks in the lead up to Euro 2012. The ad features a number of star players surfing a crowd (actually they're just standing quite comfortably on top of the people thanks to shoddy CGI) at a music concert, for some reason, wearing the demented faces of acid heads. We see these unruly hop heads kicking a glowing space orb around in front of their own starlit names, as they all laugh sadistically and give the drinks dispenser a look of vacant joy, like the ones babies sport as they pass wind. And then, because he's a little scamp, Messi, under the noses of his coke pusher footie chums, makes off with the drinks machine courtesy of the strangely criminal crowd, the crazy things these kids get up eh?

But given that we get all our info on professional footballers from the tabloids, maybe we're missing the bigger picture. It was revealed later that Didier Drogba, one of the stars of the commercial, donated his £3 million pay for the ad to build a hospital in his homeland. An incredibly generous gesture, but the first thing that struck me was that he received a massive £3 million! And if he got that, then it goes without saying that the others, Jack Wilshere, Frank Lampard, Sergio Aguero, Fernando Torres and the star Lionel Messi, who all as far as we know are not big charity givers, would have received a very similar fee for their troubles. Now we all know that these professional athletes rarely drink the thing they are promoting, but that doesn't stop vulnerable people, especially children, associating these idols with the product they are being paid very handsomely to promote. It's not for me to say what these people should spend their money on, but the old adage about 'football being a short career' doesn't fit when the people getting the £3 million from eager marketing men are millionaires after just a months salary at their clubs.

And it's not just money, they don't exactly cover themselves in glory when it comes to issues of intelligence. When was the last time a footballer said something political or social or even anything of interest? Joey Barton quoting other interesting people doesn't count. And when was the last time a player enthralled us like Eric Cantona. Some people have (in my opinion) unfairly compared Mario Balotelli to Cantona, but they couldn't be further apart; Cantona was interested in art, in people, and in society, whereas Balotelli's main preoccupation seems to be acting like a massive arse. All the interesting things about him, like helping a bullied Manchester kid out and giving a homeless man a thousand pounds, turn out not to be true, and when you whittle out all the bollocks all you're left with is a spoilt, attention-seeking man child buffoon who occasionally sets fire to his own house with fireworks. This story, I think, probably sums up what we imagine most footballers level of intellect to be: Jason McAteer, then of Liverpool, was once locked out his car, so the recovery man told him to go get a hanger to break in, the dim-witted McAteer duly came back with a wooden one. Don't snigger, we've all done it. Someone once asked me to get ice for their swollen ankle and I came back with a camel, so easily done. Anyway we should be praising poor old McAteer for his childlike naivety, and marvel and wonder at how he see's the real world everyday with the brain capacity of a Biro.

But back to the money issue. Didier Drogba and few others apart, footballers are renowned for not being very generous givers (unless you believe the daily sport articles), and even in 2007 when Premiership footballers promised to give a days pay to nurses, only a third actually did it. Yes there are stories like the one of Steven Ireland giving a substantial amount to a children's hospital that he visits often, which is increbily honourable, and then there is Craig Bellamy who has started up his own foundation for underprivileged children in Sierra Leone, to which he has donated millions of his own money, but uplifting stories like this are too uncommon. Players that appear in post match interviews wearing ridiculous clothes, massive expensive watches and diamond earrings, and who can barely string a sentence together, doesn't fill the average person with pride about football, or give us any reason to have any sympathy for them if they hit a rough patch or are in trouble. That is what I think is the most divisive factor in people feeling like they cannot relate to the modern footballer, and is ultimately what makes these people stupid rich bastards. And they are almost definitely evil too.

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