Sep 27, 2010

Who cares about adultery? The ‘Football’ press, that’s who!

By Richard French

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.


Toby said...

"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."

Hits the nail on the head really.

Great article. The problem is that it obviously sells to write such salacious gossip about the private lives of these stars, supply & demand.

Anonymous said...

If only it was theother way round, Richard French wrote for the Mainstream and the sewer rat Newspaer reporters had to hack out a living on the edge. You never know, I live in hope! RichardD

Anonymous said...

Good article just be aware of the long sentences at times. The broadsheets generally do write about the 'football' it's only the tabloids that get caught up in the scandal most of the time.

Anonymous said...

good article Richard. It seems like it doesn't matter whether it's politics religion or football, media have got half the story about the more salacious element.

Unfortunately this totally detracts from the beautiful game itself. Personally I'm not interested in the WAGS, the cheating, the scandal or any part of the game brought into disrepute.

maybe this makes me a football fan, and not somebody who buys into the celebrity obsessed society that we have become.

It's a sad indictment of the world today.

Anonymous said...

Football will never be one of my favourite sports but I enjoyed Richard's article. My stance has always been that the off-pitch (and sometimes on-pitch)antics of the overpaid, unsophisticated players with questionable moral values are a powerful influence on particularly young people. Richard's excellent article brings into question the press' responsibility in this, bringing details of the aforementioned antics to the people.