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Giles Coren – Going Down

May 26th, 2011 by · No Comments · Features

On a day when Giles Coren may be jailed, for naming Gareth Barry as the second injunctionator, here’s a little of what we’ll be missing. It made me LOL – as the twitterati would say. But maybe these players have memories after all? Revenge?
October 11, 2003

Footballers are witless, illiterate, spoilt morons

Giles Coren
A CHARITY called Roadpeace has criticised the Transport Department for collaborating with the Football League in a road safety campaign, because footballers are such demonstrably bad and dangerous drivers. If footballers are committed to road safety, says the group, “they should lead by example and drive small, safe cars and make a commitment not to speed and to drive safely”.

Hmmm. I’m just trying to picture it. I’m trying to see a 19-year-old wunderscally celebrating his £40 million move to Manchester United (in a deal that gives him £200,000 a week, plus three helicopters and as many go-go-dancing Danish virgins as he can eat) by going out and buying a brand new Ford Ka. Or Honda Civic. Or Seat Ibiza (with cigarette lighter and passenger-side vanity mirror).

I’m trying to see the front page of Hello! screaming its exclusive photos of “David Beckham at home in Madrid with his stunning collection of economical yet surprisingly capacious one-litre hatchbacks”.

I’m trying to see headlines like: “Premiership star arrested for driving too slowly on dual carriageway in hydrogen-powered eco-buggy” and “Dwight Yorke prangs bicycle again — basket irreparable.” And I’m having a bit of trouble.

A typical example of the way footballers think about cars was the response of Les Ferdinand, Ferrari collector and occasional scorer of fluky goals with his knee, to an interviewer who asked him if he was a safe driver. “I drive fast, but safely,” Ferdinand said, missing the point of safe driving as howlingly as ever he missed a sitter in the six-yard box with the scores level in extra time and the keeper lying unconscious on the touchline.

But Ferdinand just wasn’t going to say: “Yes, I drive well within the limits of human reaction time, taking my lead from prevailing road conditions. I know my stopping distances by heart, always wear a seatbelt, and am so averse to high speeds that I could get a nosebleed taking a sharp corner in a milk float.” Because if he did, he would get no respect from his pig-ignorant, villainous, oafish peers.

Footballers are witless, illiterate, spoilt morons who are no good at driving because they are no good at anything at all, except, very occasionally, playing football, and then only if they are French. They can’t speak, they can’t read, they need Sun journalists (God help them) to write their autobiographies for them, they can’t hold their alcohol, they can’t have a relationship with a woman without beating her, they can’t remember to show up at a drugs test unless their mummy takes them, they can’t organise a strike properly or avoid injury before big internationals, and they can’t tell a well-cut suit from an empty pantomime horse.

Footballers are the apogee of the modern British male as fêted by men’s magazines, late-night television programming and advertisers of almost every stripe — for they understand only money, lewdness and brutality. They converse in the vulgar patois of cars, tits and speed. For Christ’s sake, these people think that Graeme LeSaux is gay because he reads The Guardian. What would they do if he bought a VW Beatle?

The sportswriter Brian Glanville has been knocked about for explaining the problems encountered by some footballers in a radio interview in the following terms: “They have very little education and then suddenly these uneducated boys are projected into a world in which they are earning £40,000 or £50,000 a week; there are no controls.”

The uproar was because Brian was talking about black players, but the degeneracy of footballers has nothing to do with race or environment. All footballers are scumbags. Black, white, or yell— no, wait, those Japanese and Korean chaps at the World Cup were rather marvellous. They probably had degrees.

But Roadpeace is right. Footballers should be stopped from driving their stupid sports cars. Not because of the bad example they set in the field of road safety but because of the bad example they set in everything.

In the days when footballers only very occasionally became famous it did not matter that they were without exception vain, crass and moronic. The odd George Best or Charlie Nicholas came to the fore, but the rest we saw only occasionally, clumping around in the mud on a Saturday afternoon. Now that all footballers are famous, something has to be done.

So, yes, ban them from owning fast cars. But ban them also from living in gated mock-Tudor estates, ban them from going to nightclubs, ban them from spitting, ban them from beating up Asian students, ban them from saying “as I say” all the time, ban them from buying Versace frock coats and ties the same colour as their shirts, ban them from owning vast plasma-screen televisions and Bang & Olufsen stereos but no books, ban them from keeping pedigree dogs called “Prince” and “Lady”, ban them from calling their children “Dene” and “Chenille”, ban them from going out with ropey peroxided media tarts, and ban them from punching them, ban them from listening to soul music, ban them from writing naff messages on their vests and then tearing off their shirts in public, ban them from doing their special “celebrations” and then explaining them to the press afterwards, ban them from using the historic present tense, wearing jewellery and raping young women, from taking bungs and dyeing their hair and calling people “gaffer”.

Lock them up and let them out only on Saturdays, when it is time for them to perform, like the depraved, venal, punch-drunk circus animals they are.

 

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