Carlo Ancelotti’s definition of what makes a role model is as admirable as someone who steals food from a famine victim.
When Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole accidentally shot Tom Cowan, a 21-year-old work-placement student last month, Chelsea manager, Ancelotti was asked for his thoughts. Amid allegations that the club’s training sessions were out of control Ancelotti opted to stand up for Cole and said “we all make mistakes”.
Mistakes? This is more than a mistake; it’s another brick in the wall that shows just how footballers are totally out of touch with the rest of us. Co-existing with other human beings on planet earth is tough enough as it is, never mind having to share oxygen with miscreants such as Cole.
Let’s look at the situation this way. If you or I were to bring a .22 calibre air rifle into a work and proceed to accidentally shoot someone in on work experience from one of the local schools, what would happen? We’d either be severely reprimanded or sacked on the spot. The level of just how unaware of themselves footballers like Cole are never fails to baffle to me. Just because they’re successful, get paid plenty of money and are skilled at what they do doesn’t give them the green light to treat the rest of us like dirt.
Cole’s lexicon of shortcomings and dire behaviour has been foul smelling for quite sometime. Be that as it may, Ancelotti still feels obliged to come to his rescue. The Italian manager said that he still thinks highly of Cole both as a player and as a person. Really? Well Carlo, if you think Cole is a good man then Frank Lampard and Petr Cech should be surely canonised.
I am sure Cole is not completely unsavoury but when he wrote in his autobiography in 2006 that he nearly crashed his car when Arsenal offered him £55,000 a week I wanted to rip out my eyeballs.
Football clubs could learn plenty from how fashion house Dior dealt with star couturier John Galliano after he allegedly made remarks that were deemed anti-Semitic. Galliano’s anti-Semitic rant was recorded by a customer in a Paris bar and after it was made public, Dior were left with no option but to sack their top man. Why can’t football clubs act in the same way?
Obviously I am not trying to equate anti-Semitism with accidentally shooting someone with an air rifle but there’s a definite point to be made here. Too many sports people see their fame and vast riches as a licence to behave like spoilt children and it’s about time that we told them that enough is enough.
Footballers are treated with such exaggerated reverence that they believe that they are the most important people to walk the planet.
Cole may or may not have to answer to the police for his actions but that’s not the point. Not every distasteful act that these footballers take is illegal; most are just down right nasty, selfish and wholly self-indulgent. It’s not good enough for football managers to say that a player should not be disciplined because no law is broken. It’s no longer good enough to fine a player two week’s wages. Hit them where it hurts and lead by example; if players do not behave like decent human beings then there should be severe consequences.
The mollycoddling of footballers must stop and they must be made to take responsibility for there actions. If allowed to continue then the gap between us and them will become even greater. Where will it end? Perhaps when Wayne Rooney accidentally detonates a nuclear device at Carrington training grounds they’ll start to take us seriously.