All too often footballers are criticised for their lavish lifestyles, exalted statuses and ‘detachment from reality’. The frequently negative nature of newspaper stories concerning footballers’ private lives serve to reinforce public perceptions of the men worshipped as heroes. However, every so often, one will hear a truly touching story which proves that not all footballers are bad eggs. Having arrived in South Africa as a late replacement for injured England captain Rio Ferdinand, Spurs defender Michael Dawson has admirably used the trip to the World Cup as an opportunity to visit a South African orphan that he has been sponsoring.
The visit was born out of the association between Dawson’s club, Spurs, and SOS Children, the world’s largest orphan charity. Under the arrangement, the entirety of Spurs’ first team squad and management team currently sponsor an orphaned child in South Africa, China or Haiti. In addition to this, Spurs have funded the construction of an orphan house in Rustenberg (affectionately known as the ‘Tottenham Hotspur House’), with the development of said house financed by money raised through players’ fines.
Speaking of the scheme, legendary Spurs defender Gary Mabbutt said, “I’ve been lucky enough to go and see the Spurs House in Rustenburg. It was an incredible experience, very humbling and the work they do at SOS is amazing. The players and management team have all got involved and we’d love supporters to do the same.”
With nearly 150million orphaned children worldwide, the work of Spurs and their staff has certainly helped to bring welcome attention to a worthy and needy cause. Given the global attraction of English football, Premier League players enjoy hero status across the world, and it is refreshing to see Spurs’ players make good use of their positions of power.
Although most Premier League clubs will involve themselves in charitable work, it would be great to see other clubs follow Spurs’ initiative and support charity in similarly enterprising ways.
Find out more about SOS Children at http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/
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