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Footballers are people too

I missed this when it came out before Christmas, but this crackerjack of an article by the often-excellent Martin Samuel in the Times (of London) about the hypocritical attitudes of the press towards burglaries on well-paid footballers is a good read. It had me nodding in agreement. So footballers have terrible taste in jewellery and cars? So what? Burgling their homes, particularly when family members are in the premises, is a heinous crime and should be punished with heavy restitution by the offender (if it takes the yob years to pay off such a debt, well tough). And yet the attitude of some parts of the press, if Samuel’s take is correct, is that rich sportsmen somehow have it coming. It reminds us of an unpleasant combination of anti-wealth snobbery mixed with the current loathing of “Chav” culture that brings together some fairly weird mixtures of political and cultural views. A bling-wearing Liverpool footballer is as entitled to the protection of his life and property as any Torygraph reader in Tonbridge Wells.

Read the whole thing. I like the Mossad reference at the end.

6 comments to Footballers are people too

  • Sunfish

    The fear that a burglar will receive 27 rounds of 5.56mm for his efforts delivered at 2800 feet per second, or might end up as a chew toy for a loyal but irate mastiff, or receive facial surgery performed with a tire iron[1], is a wonderful deterrent. But I’m preaching to the choir again.

    I wouldn’t say that the wealthy have more of a right to be safe in their own homes than the rest of us, but surely they wouldn’t have less of a right either. Even if pro athletes are hoodlums more often than the general public, they still don’t need to be written off as “allowable victims.”

    (Snip me ranting about how I’d change policing in the UK…I’d get a lot of ‘right on!” and a lot of ‘you fascist thug a*****e!’ and it’s probably off the subject anyway)

    [1] Would the police and CPS go after you for assault for that, or would they refer that one to NHS as performing surgery without a license?

  • Kevin B

    There’s something Kiplingesque about our relationship with our top athletes, although Tommy didn’t quite get as much moolah as Stevie or Lamps and our Three Lions band of Heroes ain’t winning enough at the moment. Still, it’s Loot, Loot, Loot that makes the boys get up and shoot, and I’d guess the Wags attract as much admiration and respect as the camp followers of Tommy’s day.

    And right on cue, Joey Barton comes along and reminds us that ‘Footballers are people too.’

  • Sheri Shepherd

    It’s TUnbridge Wells, actually

  • anon

    Yes but scousers aren’t English.

    In your liverpool slums…

  • Kim du Toit

    I just find it incredible that celebrities in Britain earn those huge sums of money (eg. Gerrard) and yet do not employ their own private security forces / bodyguards.

    Is this illegal in Britain, maybe?

  • llamas

    To Kim du Toit’s question – no, I don’t think it is illegal in the UK to employ private security, in fact I understand that there’s quite a few very-sucessful private security agencies in the UK – staffed largely by foreigners, including plenty from the former Soviet bloc as well as Israelis and South Africans.

    However, since it’s essentially impossible for security personnel to be armed in any meaningful way, their effectiveness in personal security must necessarily be – limited.

    I think that celebrity is seen differently in the UK, both by the people and by the celebrities. I well-recall, when I lived there, that many celebrities appeared to live very-much among the people. The Brits have a peculiar form of disdain for those that they see as ‘putting on airs’ or acting ‘above’ their perceived station in life. The ‘minder’ is seen as the appurtenance of the petty gangster or low-life – refer to the seminal 1980’s UK TV series of the same name for the exact definition of what this means. Many Brits still hold a very egalitarian viewpoint that considers that, since the UK is an Eden of tranquillity and personal safety, rich and famous people have nothing to be concerned about and can live in exactly the same way as everybody else does. The bobby on the beat is more-than-enough personal security for any Englishmen, be he a navvy or a superstar – so goes the thinking.

    Needless to say, this is not so, and has not been for some considerable time.

    Remember when George Harrison and his wife were attacked in their home by a knife-wielding burglar? In Henley-on-Thames, FGS? And Harrison’s idea of an effective resistance to the attack was to shout ‘Hare Krishna’ at the man as he was burying a knife in his chest? That’s how disconnected the Brits are about the idea of personal security – even rich and famous Brits. Even a Brit like George Harrison, who would have every reason to fear a violent attack upon him personally – after what happened to John Lennon. They just think ‘well that sort of thing just doesn’t happen here’ – except it does.