Much of the recent attention devoted to Arsenal players has highlighted the greed and avarice of the modern professional footballer. Ashley Cole’s transfer to Chelsea is rooted in money, his wedding giving the appearance that wealth does not equate to taste. Mind you, there is some ludicrousness creeping into the reporting as The Sun alleges that he forgot the clubs tour to Austria. Presumably that is the same forgetfulness that the journalist has about the leftback’s honeymoon. Last summer Robin van Persie suffered some serious allegations about attempted rape, which although there is no case to answer cast a shadow for a long time.
Elsewhere, Fat Frank appears to have lost the chance of £130k per week by not signing a new contract before the World Cup, hoping to screw some more money from his employers. He failed in Germany and they are not currently considering renewing his contract. Liverpool have signed three players this summer who have considerable baggage coming with them. Jermaine Pennant has served his sentence, Bellamy is up before the beaks in September / October time and Gonzalez is alleged to have had some problems with young ladies at a recent international. Indeed, Liverpool could conceivably have a frontline next season consisting entirely of convicts, Bellamy a striker with Pennant on one flank andd Harry Kewell on the other. Perhaps Rafa is considering a Social Work role for his next career move – Peter Crouch’s ex will no doubt be his drugs case.
Earlier this week, four Bristol City players pleaded Guilty to charges of Affray and Public Order offences outside a nightclub. They will be sentenced at a future date. But none of these stories presents the game in a flattering light. Over the years, many footballers have done commendable work for charities, hospital visits, etc., and I am aware that very little of this is reported. Good news does not sell newspapers nor does it fit with the stereotype of footballers that the media want to portray. Like it or not, a great many people’s thoughts and perceptions are influenced by the poison pen of the newspapers. One bad story undoes the good of ten.
So it is refreshing to read of a player providing a positive life story, giving hope to others and proving that not all asylum seekers are the sponging, criminal elements that the denizens of Wapping would have you believe. Gunnerblog has an interesting piece on Fabrice Muamba, now on a season long loan at Birmingham, who has come from nothing, carved a career as a professional and represented the country that gave his family refuge at international level, in this case England. Even if he should fail to make the grade at Arsenal, he has shown what can be achieved. It would be nice to read a four page spread tomorrow in the Sunday’s or on Monday morning, not in the sports section but in the news articles. Much is said of how footballers have to be role models. Here is a young man who can give hope to many and change perceptions through his actions. It is much to put on the shoulders on one so young but one would hope that someone, somewhere will take the chance to present his story. I doubt that it has been a bed of roses for Fabrice since his arrival so his experiences would worth hearing of and how he has overcome them to achieve all that he has so far. And why will this not happen? Because Fabrice and his family were Asylum Seekers, evicted from their homeland through Civil War (surely the worst misnomer in human history) and not fitting in with the stereotypes forwarded to a nation over its Cornflakes by the Harbingers Of Doom residing in the Dailies. Would that they would change.