Ashley Cole’s latest outburst, this time aimed at the crinkly suits that run the Football Association, was depressingly familiar, not only due to the player in question being involved, but in terms of the way the game has been heading for some time, which makes you wonder, what is it exactly about modern players that we dislike so much?

The 31-year-old left-back is one of the finest full-backs that you’re ever likely to see, a truly world-class player on the pitch but an odious little squirt of questionable character and morals off it. Being found guilty by an independent panel of fudging his evidence to suit team-mate John Terry’s defence over the whole Anton Ferdinand racism case, his vitriolic, expletive-laden outburst via Twitter hardly came as a surprise.

Cole has been a player dogged by controversy ever since nearly losing control of his car on the motorway at being just offered the insulting sum of £55,000 per week by former club Arsenal in his new contract, his reported philandering while ‘national treasure’ Cheryl Cole waited at home and shooting a youth-team player at Chelsea with an airgun rifle.

While you may be able to respect him as a player on the pitch, for his is practically without peer throughout Europe in his position and has been consistently excellent for nearly a decade now, it is equally as reasonable to have little to no respect for him off it, but he is just the latest case in point of how detached the modern day player has become from the fans that they purport to represent on the pitch.

It’s not just the poor judgement of people like Cole, for it obviously takes nothing for him to issue a disingenuous apology through his solicitors the moment he realises that he’s gotten himself into hot water, it’s the sheer juvenility of it all which shocks the most. This is a grown man we’re talking about here and while we all know that footballers live in a bubble, cut-off from the real world and everyday problems, it’s the lack of thought for the consequences of their own actions which makes them so easy to dislike.

Of course, if you make footballers out to be role models from which your children can look to learn from, then you are seriously setting yourself up for disappointment. They are merely regular people, or they were once upon a time at least, who happen to be extremely talented. More often than not they lack intelligence because they’ve never had to rely on it, mollycoddled from a young age and handed everything to them on a plate.

However, a large degree of responsibility must be put down to the media, with this weekend’s action serving as a fine case in point. Luis Suarez was stamped upon by Robert Huth early on in the game, but this was overshadowed by a clear dive later on in the same fixture. The dive was given the full treatment, in terms of columns, coverage and faux outrage, with FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce referring to it as a ‘cancer within the game’, but little to no attention was given to the far more serious incident of foul play and aggressive, bordering on violent behaviour.

The reason for this is solely because Huth is not a pantomime villain and his lack of standing within the wider world means there’s little to no point wasting their time dissecting his stamp and the wider implications it could have had. Suarez, though, is a different story altogether – everyone will have heard of him, so we are force fed this one-sided version of events that regards a dive, albeit an act of cheating, as equal if not more scandalous than someone stamping on someone.

Football has merely become Loose Women but for men, ramping up issues out of nothing, making mountains out of molehills but only when it suits them and when there’s an easy target to hit. For instance, Craig Bellamy for years was derided as a terrible human being by the press simply because of his misdemeanors on the pitch, completely ignoring the huge amount of work he does for charity off the pitch and the same could be said for most players.

Far too often the media only feeds the negative, rather than focusing on the good simply because it sells more, so we are treated to these extreme caricatures and this never-ending soap opera when most of us just like watching 22 men kick a ball around every weekend. It’s gone beyond ridiculous now. While I was at Stamford Bridge the other week to see them take on Wolves in the Carling Cup, John Terry, fresh from learning about his four-game ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, was given a resounding cheer every single time he touched the ball – tribalism like that simply isn’t healthy for the game.

Another factor is obviously the wealth that comes with the game now which breeds a certain degree of arrogance amongst its own kind. While we’re in the midst of a double-dip recession, it seems to not have affected football at all, where even your average Premier League footballers is grossly overpaid for the job he does – breeding a level of contempt and jealousy that creates an even bigger divide between the stands and the pitch than it ever has before. The superstars you see before you on a Saturday don’t feel like normal people to you and it’s hard to really connect in a climate that increasingly treats you, the fan, like a customer.

Footballers are not role models, they never have been, but the egos, money and disregard for the consequences of their own actions only serve to highlight how the wealth within the game is distorting the people which are a part of it from society. The media doesn’t help matters much, but if we continue to lap up the melodramas with such fervent consumption, can you really blame them?

The result has seen supporters lose touch with players, which in turn leads to both sides harbouring feelings of mistrust, which has led to footballers becoming widely disliked. I for one would just much rather focus on the game itself as opposed to all of the drama surrounding it.

What makes the modern day footballer so unlikeable?

Money (36%, 485 Votes)

Lack of loyalty (36%, 485 Votes)

Ego (22%, 300 Votes)

Loose morals (3%, 43 Votes)

Cheating (3%, 41 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,354

You can follow me on Twitter @JamesMcManus1

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  • Barry
    2 years ago

    easy answer, their succsesfull and live in britain. your not allowed to do well here.

    Reply
    • Tom Hark
      2 years ago

      And your spelling and punctuation prove one thing you haven’t done well at…
      :-(
      It’s: Easy; they’re; successful; Britain; and You’re; that you were looking for…

      Reply
      • Guy Johannson
        2 years ago

        Supercilious prick!

        Reply
        • Tom Hark
          2 years ago

          Handbag!

          Reply
  • Gutter Press Sniper
    2 years ago

    Ironic that the people that write about these meaningless events, whilst ignoring the actual facts and using verbal BS, represent the lowest form of life.

    Reply
  • Harrrrumph
    2 years ago

    How about subpar parenting combined with lack of self-reflection? Their troubles started long before they touched a ball. But in this they are not much different from the rest of the world; they just have the spotlight on them and the means with which to misbehave more. But that is their problem, and I’d like to be struggling with so much evil money. Reducing their pay is no answer either. We are simply living in an age when people just behave badly, and generally get away with it. Blame it on junk culture and reality TV soliloquies by would-be “role models” … and, as always, clueless talkingheads. Sports journos are particularly shallow and airheaded. That’s right, you guardians of values and vapidity. Jocks have always been … that way. True sportsman are less common, I suppose. I think certain sports attract certain personality types too. I think the framing of the question is too vague, by the way.

    Reply
    • Tom Hark
      2 years ago

      The main problem possibly is exposure. Modern footballers are probably no more detestable as a group, or individually, than those from previous generations – nothing much changes. Trouble is we know just too much about ‘them’ and hear too much about ‘it’, be it from the shallow journos, or their own Twatter accounts.
      Let’s retain some mystery…

      Reply
  • shannon
    2 years ago

    Well, look at Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand. We’ve barely seen him play, and he had already tweeted something “offensive” – I don’t even know what he said, the news reports didn’t reveal it – and had to apologise for it the following day. He’s basically still a nobody – being in the England squad doesn’t change that! – and he’s in trouble already. As far as tweeting goes, do these players act first and think later, or do they just say what they want to and then cover it up with an apology, knowing that what they said is already out there? But they’re just jocks, and imo ignorance, not money, is the root of all evil.

    Reply

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