Footballers, arguably the most fortunate amongst us seem to struggle during interviews to construct meaningful sentences. Footballers have never been known for their sharp wit or their ability to recite Hamlet, but why are they so dumb?
They get paid whopping amounts of money to play a game they clearly love for a few hours a week, plus if it happens to be a home fixture they get revered by over fifty-thousand cheering supporters. They get endorsed by numerous brands which picture them as someone greater and more important than the average Joe Muggins in Primark. And even a select few, if their whim so takes them, can sometimes shoot a lesser person with an air rifle. They get all of this without having to worry too much about their education. By the time they are a newly formed fetus dribbling in the womb they have already been signed by some or other team who will lovingly nurture them until they are ready to play. It’s like some sort of communist worker camp where as soon as they are signed up they are indoctrinated by the teams ethos and brainwashed like the Manchurian Candidate.
Football is a short-lived profession, most players at the top of their game get ten years good service and then they are sent out to pasture or made into an expensive wallet. If they are one of the unfortunate ones who don’t become luxury goods they can either get a job on one of the many TV stations that show live football or they are given ‘a column’ in one of the tabloids where they get paid to blabber on about who is the right player to massage Fabio Capello‘s corned feet, or which footballer’s wife John ‘I’ve had the same dreadful haircut since I was pre-pubescent’ Terry will sleep with this month. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, is a footballer worth listening to. Such ex-players as Gary Lineker who throughout his entire footballing career seemed to be made for television, or Eric Cantona, who if he had been born about fifty years earlier would rather be sat in a French cafe during the occupation discussing existentialism with John Paul Sartre. These are the only two footballers who are allowed publicly to speak, the rest must all wait until they have been asked.
Maybe I am being to hard. If you start to look at the goalkeepers, whenever they are being interviewed they are usually so much more articulate and comfortably understand the questions they are being asked. Messieurs David James and David Seamen are good examples, clearly they’re not going to set your dinner party alight, but at least they don’t have problems getting their present continuous and present perfect mixed up and end up sounding like an audiobook stuck in a blender and you probably won’t have to cut up their food for them! Goalkeepers are smarter because for the majority of the game they are not called on, so while the midfield are midfielding it and the strikers striking it further up the pitch, the goalkeeper can afford himself sometime to relax and read the newspaper or listen to his Radio 4 podcast.
Football is a beautiful game played by hooligans, to coin a phrase, but this is not necessarily true. Football IS a beautiful game, but I’m afraid it is played by rather brainless souls. Studies have shown that continued impact suffered by players through heading the ball significantly increases the amount of damage done to their noggin. Over the years various scientific papers written that continued impact on the skull affects memory and planning as well as visual preceptors in the brain, and this is clearly demonstrable when footballers open their mouths to do interviews. So stop doing interviews, stay out of the papers and just continue to not score for England!
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