When I was younger, I looked up to Ryan Giggs. Being left-footed, stuck out on the left-wing and with the name “Ryan”, there wasn’t really many others who I could emulate whilst playing on the local park; and it wasn’t long before the nickname “Giggsy” stuck. For me, he was still someone I could look towards and admire as I got older – even if I wasn’t a Man United fan. Ryan Giggs was one of the good guys.
That was, anyway, until the whole recent “un-named footballer” controversy/farce, which got me thinking: “Are there actually any good guys left in football?”.
With the modern day obsession of celebrity, it seems that the tabloids want us to believe that everybody who is earning more money than us “normals”, is a sex-obsessed, attention seeking adulterer, or just a plain fucking idiot. Surely that isn’t the case.
I for one, believe it’s highly unlikely that all footballers lack a moral compass, and i’m sure that there are footballers out there doing a lot of good with their lives. So why on earth is the story about Mario Balotelli handing a homeless man £1,000 sitting somewhere hidden on page 27, whilst the one about him acting like an idiot is pretty-much certain to make the front pages? I’m not saying that he isn’t sometimes a nutcase, but the balance is pretty uneven.
Maybe there is a feeling that the British public need to feel in some way superior to the people that are earning money by doing something that we all wish we could do. But do we really need to open our newspapers everyday to read about how these people with more money than we could ever imagine can’t control their personal lives? Are we as a nation so shallow, that we crave to scream out how “They may have more money than us, but at least we’re better people”? Are we really a bunch of bitter bastards?
Maybe it’s the media who are the ones making us feel like this in the first place. Maybe they believe that if we constantly read about how there are rich sports-people who have fantastic personal lives, and also do good; we will not want to buy their red-topped turd rags due to us feeling a severe sense of jealousy every time we get past the pair of tits on page 3 (and i’m not talking about Richard Keys and Andy Gray). Can we really blame the media for creating a nation obsessed with finding out which Premier League player is shacked up with his team-mate’s wife, rather than which player has made the most assists or completed the most passes?
Although it obviously isn’t all down to them, these papers should surely take a certain amount of responsibility. They should know that some of the people who pay hundreds and thousands of pounds to follow their heroes, can be easily influenced. So by showing pictures of Steven Gerrard, John Terry or any other top footballer leaving a nightclub, are they effectively encouraging young people to go drinking? By allowing column inches to cheating stars, are they glamourizing adultery, and making it out as almost acceptable behaviour for young men? Is a media hell-bent on concentrating on the side of players who demand more money – or who are generally being arses – helping to create a lack of good role models for kids and teenagers?
Whilst I believe that these players who have a major influence on young people need to be “outed” to the general public if they are doing something that they shouldn’t be, I feel that more coverage should be given to the players who are doing good with their lives. Instead of that extra feature on Ryan Giggs’ uncle’s mate’s brother telling the readers how there’s now a “bit of tension in the family”, why not offer some page-space to the footballers helping sick children, or the ones donating to charity? Maybe (and this is a big “maybe”) there is a small chance that people will see good being done, and want to copy their idols for the better. The news stories of players using their fame and fortune for good are the ones that deserve to be heard; not the ones abusing their status for their own gain. Even the “non-stories” – which have absolutely no real significance at all – seem to get more coverage than the good ones. I really don’t fucking care if Wayne Rooney has had some hair from his back-side put onto his head, but the papers seem to think it will garner more readers than a piece about a footballer doing good ever could; and unfortunately, they are probably right.
“Footballer in sex scandal” they scream in capital letters from their advertising boards; something that we’ve seemingly become accustomed to. But is it just an image which the media of today have created, or is the behaviour of these players indicative of how everyone else in society behaves nowadays?
I know that deep down, the latter is not true; it can’t be.
Or maybe I’m wrong about it all. Maybe everything that you have just read is bollocks, and there are just no good guys left in football.