Given that Roman Pavlyuchenko has spent most of this season sat on a bench, spouting abject nonsense and feeling rather hard done to, it seems a natural progression for him to make the move into the political arena.
But that is what the grumbling Tottenham striker did shortly after his move to Tottenham Hotspur. Standing as a deputy for Vladimir Putin’s “United Russia” party in his home town of Stavropol, Pavlyuchenko’s party secured 63% of the vote, more than enough for the striker to be elected onto the regional council.
Oddly enough, another England based Russian footballer, Andrei Arshavin, preceeded Pavlyuchenko by running for Putin’s United Russia party in the parliamentary elections before his move to Arsenal. Arshavin actually gained a seat in local parliament in St Petersburg (oddly enough, the local club Zenit have been linked with Pavlyuchenko recently), although he quit it immediately afterwards. It is perhaps not too difficult to understand why when he was coming out with classic soundbites such as;
“If I had it in my power to introduce a ban on women driving cars and to withdraw all their licences I would do it without thinking twice,
“I would never give driving licences to women. We need to build new roads for them. Why? Because you never know what to expect from a woman on the road. If you see a car behaving weirdly, swerving and doing strange things, before you see the driver you know it is a woman. It’s always a woman.”
I hasten to add, Arshavin had no experience of London taxi drivers when he stated that initially.
One would hope Pavlyuchenko’s own political ideals are a little more inclusive and perhaps don’t involve him sitting on the sidelines with a huge trout pout, moaning about how the Gaffer Putin is not using him properly or fairly and is actually mocking him because he hasn’t been made Interior Minister for Sport or suchlike.
While he may have had his problems at Spurs, Pavlyuchenko has seemingly done a good job as a local official in Stavropol. He runs his own soccer academy in the town and has played a role in developing a whole host of sports in the area. Or has he?
There are many that maintain the current vogue for Vladimir Putin to use high-profile, popular sports stars as political figureheads is simply a cynical, manipulative way to increase votes and retain an image power and popularity, without actually having to examine the finer details of their political policies and the results of Putin’s government. “Manipulation in Russia!” I hear you cry “Surely Not!”, well Sovietsky Sport commentator Anton Lisin had this to say on the matter, shortly before he was probably clapped in chains and transported off to Siberia for the next eighteen years;
“He’s not from Moscow. He’s a village guy. The only reason Pavlyuchenko might be interested in politics is if the international financial crisis affected his wages.”
In his own way, Pavlyuchenko could be a trendsetter. Although the Tories tried it with Seb Coe a while back (until they realised very few people can stand the unctuous little twerp). Steven Gerrard MP for Liverpool North, Ryan Giggs, member for Cardiff South? Arsene Wenger, the honourable member from Cloud Cuckoo Land. It’d make politics a good deal more interesting wouldn’t it?
Written By Ian John