Chelsea legend Kerry Dixon believes that modern day footballers are obliged to give more to the fans than they do and need to build more of a “rapport” with those in the stands.
The eight-time England international has endured his ups and downs off the pitch, but the striker was a hero among Blues followers in his day.
Playing in a different era, fans and footballers were closer in the days of Dixon, with the obstacles of vast wages, language barriers and safety concerns far reduced, and the now 55-year-old, speaking ahead of the release of his film series ‘Legends Live – Kerry Dixon’ in two weeks’ time, has revealed that he thinks players need to give more back:
“One of my bug bares is that I have always believed you get out what you put in with your club and their supporters, but one or two of the modern days players don’t bother.
“They’d rather walk past with their head phones and hoods on their mobile phones, but they should realise it is an important part of the game to have a connection with the fans.
“In my time, if I saw someone who wanted an autograph, I was only too happy to oblige, and maybe that was one of the reasons that I have had a rapport with the fans.
“Chelsea fans have been fantastic toward me, the current fans, the old fans, and they’ve tried to help me in various ways, and I still find an opportunity to meet up and talk about the old times.
“Roman Abramovich has come in and the fans have experienced European Cup finals, wonderful days and nights in Europe, and although we know money talks in football, those fans deserve it, as I can still recall how 15,000 stood on the terraces for our first game, and they would travel to some places like Grimsby and Shrewsbury, they were devoted and the players respected that.
“Now quite a few of the present day players should sit back and think about what the supporters put in in terms of their time and money.
“I spent nine years at the club and maybe that also had something to do with it, and when you look up north at Gerrard and Carragher, and Gary Neville and Ryan Gigggs, we also have with JT, Lampard and Drogba. When you look at people who devote the majority of their playing lives to one club they will often have a special repoire with their fans.
“If a fan is willing to stand around for an hour waiting for an autograph, you should sign it, if there are ten, then sign them all.”
The Dixon film of his remarkable life story will be screened at the Sanctum Soho with several big name legends attending to support him in his continuing rehabilitation.
Dixon is now working relentlessly to reinvent himself as a footballing legend, to be remembered for his ups, not just his downs.