Although it must have been frustrating to manage and play with Mario Balotelli, his antics are going to be missed, as there are few characters left in English football that can raise a laugh. The majority of them are just mindless and moronic. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Liam Ridgewell was a laugh, wasn’t he? If his career ever goes down the proverbial toilet, there will always be a place for him on the comedy circuit. There you are, in the public eye, earning a reputed £20, 000 ($31,000) a week, and the best joke you can come up with is getting a friend to photograph you on the toilet wiping your backside with £20 pound notes. Bill Hicks sure missed a trick with that comedy gold.
I am not going to bleat about footballers being role-models – as you should only ever be a role-model for yourself. But what is it about British footballers that I find so repugnant? Oh, yeah, a complete lack of education.
In Germany, you have to be in school at least to the age of eighteen. Therefore, if you break in to the Bayern Munich side at eighteen, you still have to attend school. In Spain and Italy, they learn from an early age that alcohol is detrimental to a career in football. The odd glass of wine with a meal is taught from an early age.
Is it any wonder that there are no significant English players plying their trade at big European clubs? They’ve obviously learned their lessons well. Remember Paul Gascoigne when he was signed by Lazio? With the Italian journalists waiting for his arrival, he got off the plane drunk, then burped into the microphone of a journalist who had stupidly asked him a question.
And who can forget Ian Rush, who said playing in Italy was like playing in a foreign country? The last two examples of British footballers’ behavior are nothing more than that of a buffoon. But then I think of the likes of Joey Barton, who stubbed a cigar in the eye of a colleague and gets away with it! I have to ask myself why I am supporting a profession that not only shows society to be completely on its head, but also seems immune from the law.
In any profession, except maybe for the Mafia and professional football, stubbing a cigar in someone’s eye would be an immediate dismissal, with no chance of ever getting another job in that profession.
Back to Liam Ridgewell and his “joke.” I can’t see this joke being tolerated in any of the European countries I have mentioned above. But the following day, his team mates continued the joke by hanging some toilet paper and a twenty pound note on his locker. It must be an absolute riot in the West Bromwich Albion changing room – Frank Skinner need never write another joke.
The problems do not ultimately lie with the footballers. They lie with us who support and revere these morons, and the clubs who are too frightened to get rid of them. The official response from West Bromwich Albion in regards to the photo of Liam Ridgwell wiping his arse with £20 notes was: “This is a private issue for Liam.” This sums up perfectly our laissez-faire attitude towards footballers and their immunity from any personal responsibility.