It is some years now since football has been reported for what it truly is; the most beautiful competitive game human beings have ever created. To the media, it has become nothing more than a soap opera with heroes and villains to adore and despise.
As with Politics, people are hugely swayed by the media when it comes to football. If The Sun tells the masses that Wayne Rooney is a better player than David Villa, of course they will take tabloid word as oracle and blindly regurgitate this ‘fact’ as their own ‘knowledge’ in the pubs and bars of this country.
Therefore when the press make revelations about stars’ private lives, they can twist and manipulate the public to love or hate them accordingly. It is all too easy to target the highest paid and successful soccer players, for people are naturally jealous of the huge talent and fortunate lifestyles they have.
It is time for this grotesque exhibition of human wretchedness to end and for our Journalists to report on what really matters; football.
The front pages are shamelessly splattered with rumours about David Beckham, Peter Crouch, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney. Of course, some of the misdemeanours are true, but one can be certain that they are embellished and twisted to suit the ‘plot’ of the story the mainstream press are playing out.
There is still no definitive proof that Terry had any affair at all, in fact, the lady he was said to have tarnished his name with has stated since that they have never been anything more than friends.
Ashley Cole may be the ‘love rat’ that he is now generally known as, but let’s leave that to the gossip and showbiz writers to deal with, shall we? If sports reporters keep delving into the lives of Cheryl Cole et al then we may as well have Perez Hilton reporting on the Champions League tomorrow night.
Rooney is the easiest target of all. He is not the most aesthetically pleasing chap, shall we say, not to mention the fact that he has the unenviable role as the focal point for England fans’ wildly unrealistic expectations for the national team. He is one of the highest paid stars in England (and hence the world) and has been the darling of the media for some time.
It was a matter of time before they hit us with a bombshell about the (still) young man.
The media will invariably do this. Build a public figure up to demigod status only to be the driving force behind their fall from grace (just as with Politics again). It has happened with Beckham (World Cup 98’), Sven Goran Eriksson (Faria Alam affair in 2004) and Paul Gascoigne (domestic violence and alcoholism mid-1990s and 2000s).
The general public are so quick to criticise players, especially fond of comparing them to the apparently angelic Rugby players who are so revered for their ‘real man’ appearance and persona.
Putting Rugby stars on a pedestal is a practice which has become all too common and seems the knee jerk reaction of many, but the fact is that drug taking and cheating is far more widespread in the ‘hooligans game played by gentlemen’ (as the saying goes) than it is in Football.
It seems that footballers have a lack of supporters, despite the amount of ‘supporters’ of the game we are constantly reminded that there are. If John Terry has an affair with a French lingerie model, it should be of no more concern to us than if John Smith from up the road does. The difference being Mr. Smith would be hailed as a hero for his antics by men at the pub, whilst Mr. Terry is nothing more than scum.
There is no doubt that on occasions it is right for the public to know about what their heroes get up to off the field of play. The fact is, however, that people just a few years younger than I am will have no clue about the intricacies of the most wonderful sport on the planet, but will be experts on the disgusting, perverse and often erroneous gossip which now dominates our game.
Sep 27, 2010
Who cares about adultery? The ‘Football’ press, that’s who!
By Richard French