It’s nice when people do nice things, but in the world of prima donnas and spoilt brats that is professional football, it’s especially nice when some do nice things.
New Bournemouth signing Tyrone Mings is one of those footballers who hits some sort of headlines for doing good things fairly regularly – he just seems like an all-round nice person. A rare commodity in the Premier League.
But he’s actually Bournemouth’s record signing, too. The Cherries saw fit to splash out £8m to bring Mings with them from the Championship into the Premier League – a lot of money for a second tier centre back. Clearly they see the value in him on the pitch, as well as off it.
He’s young and capable, and if he puts on a good show this season in the Premier League who knows what Bournemouth could sell him for in the future. Obviously they’re not thinking about that right now, but a good return on an investment is always smart business, especially for a first-time Premier League club.
But it’s not his youth or the fact that he’s the club’s record signing that makes him a breath of fresh air for the Premier League. It’s his attitude.
Last season, Mings hit the headlines after he posted a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation with his mother where he revealed that he had paid off his mother’s debts with the caption, ‘This is why I do it, this makes it worth it’.
It’s probably not such a special thing for a young footballer, signing a lucrative contract, to pay off his family’s debts. After all, a talent like Mings would have dreamed that Premier League football wasn’t far away, and that the money needed to pay his mother wouldn’t mean very much to him in the long run. Perhaps others just don’t post these private moments onto social media sites.
But the fact that he did post it shows a different side to this now Premier League footballer.
He also hit the news for buying Ipswich tickets for a fan who couldn’t afford to go to the match and then he also bought Ipswich shirts for two fans who had Mings’ name printed on the back only for the young defender to be given a more prestigious squad number afterwards.
Most 20-something year-olds live hand-to-mouth. It’s all they need really. Work hard enough to earn the money to pay for rent, bills, transport costs and the odd pint at the weekend. The lucky ones save up enough for a few weeks in the sun once a year. But without responsibilities, families to support and so on, most people Mings’ age just don’t need the money. They’d like it, but what would they spend it on?
Mings chose to do what a generous person who doesn’t take himself too seriously would do and give tickets to fans, and bought a shirt for someone who clearly held him in high enough regard to get his name printed.
He’s the kind of character the Premier League needs. Maybe with the pressure and stress a Premier League defender must face, the scrutiny of Match of the Day, Twitter and basically anyone in the world with an opinion on English football, and the extra cash that he’ll have playing week in and week out in the most lucrative league in the world will change the kid. Maybe he’ll turn into one of the rest of the league’s overpaid prima donnas with their fast cars and mansion ‘pads’. Maybe he’ll get a stupid haircut and an awful tattoo.
But hopefully he won’t. For the moment he’s just a kid living his dream, and this season he’ll be living it in the Premier League, facing Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez. Let’s hope for some more heartwarming stories throughout the season from Bournemouth’s record signing.