Titus Bramble, Nicklas Bendtner, Lee Cattermole and any other individual – famous or not, but suspected of criminal conduct – remain innocent until courts decide otherwise. Nevertheless, Birflatt Boy is alarmed at what a lot of highly paid footballers consider acceptable behaviour …

It’s remarkable to find some people who still expect footballers to be role models.

Very few are, and indeed very few ever have been. The indiscretions of the wealthy and talented as well as the wealthy and not so talented are constantly spread across the pages of websites and tabloids.

Footballers are constantly in the news for non-footballing reasons. Since the current season began, various allegations have been made against the likes of John Terry, Luis Suarez, David De Gea, Ryan Giggs and our very own Titus Bramble and, more recently, Lee Cattermole and Nicklas Bendtner.

These allegations range from the comparatively trivial yet dishonest act of taking a doughnut from Tesco without paying to repulsive racist comments, damaging parked cars and sexual assault.

We would not of course wish to prejudge the outcome of any legal or other investigations which are currently underway; it would be unwise as well as inappropriate to do so.

But without dwelling on any of the above examples, but viewing the offensive and rather abhorrent behaviour of so many modern day footballers, there is an inescapable and rather obvious trend.

Modern footballers, or some of them, seem to think they are entitled to anything, anything at all.

That may be free doughnuts or a pizza, or the partner or wife of a team mate or even your own brother in certain distasteful examples of selfishness. There is an implicit assumption, or assertion even, that “if it’s there, then I can have it. It can be mine”.

Bendtner’s pizzeria exploits have no criminal implications. But if he seems incapable just now of adding to a poor league goals tally, he can’t keep his name out of the papers.

Unfit to play against Blackburn last Sunday, he was fit enough to get plastered in downtown Copenhagen and make a fool of himself by demanding free food in a pizza parlour when he had rather remarkably run out of money.

He now finds himself charged with criminal damage a matter of days later in Newcastle, but that is territory that we should prudently avoid.

They say money is the root of all evil. Many footballers are awash with it. And too many seem no longer to be satisfied with a more than comfortable income and lifestyle, with those things in life that most of us can only dream of so easily affordable at a ridiculously early age.

In short, many of them are spoilt, unappreciative young men with little education, lacking in any sense of moral propriety or respect for other people. The sense of entitlement extends beyond monetary matters, to the point where nothing has any value, in pecuniary terms or otherwise.

A simple snack has no value, the property of other people has no value, nor necessarily do relationships. They can afford virtually anything they want, to the point where all value is lost.

Whatever truth emerges from the recent spate of events and allegations, we appear to have a national game besmirched by an absurd notion of entitlement on the part of some of those who play it.

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by – and principally for – supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

19 Responses to “Pizza for nothing and your chicks for free” Subscribe

  1. Beth December 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    I wouldn’t condone the actions of the likes of Terry etc at all, but at least the likes of him and Giggs have achieved something in the game. Their achievements have been tarnished by their appalling behaviour, but at least they have an excuse that they have something to be so conceited and arrogant about.

    Bendytoy (I do like that BB! :-)) and Cattermole though have a little less to boast about on a football field. Bendytoy doesn’t seem to give two hoots about playing for us. MON should peddle him as soon as possible.

  2. Bill Taylor December 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    I just read this:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/sunderland/8960609/Nicklas-Bendtner-and-Lee-Cattermole-in-arrested-on-suspicion-or-damaging-cars-in-Newcastle.html
    It can’t be true? Can it?

  3. hilary December 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Yes Bill, this is emblazoned as you would imagine, over the front of the Newcastle Chronicle. They have been arrested, but innocent until etc

  4. Bill Taylor December 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Indeed they are. I really, really hope this is nothing more than a misunderstanding.
    Either way, BB is right in what he says. Rock-star money tends to engender rock-star attitudes and behaviour.

  5. Jeremy December 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    It’s two “incidents” of concern within 3 days for Bendtner. Is he looking to get his loan terminated in the wake of Doubtfire’s sacking I wonder?

    • Stew December 16, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

      As many “incidents” as goals, hardly showering himself in glory for one with such an high opinion of himself

  6. Birflatt Boy December 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Given the postings from contributors on another thread likening clubs to rock bands I have to say (and in keeping with the title of this article), that both Clatter’em all and Bendytoy could be in “Dire Straits” come February.

  7. ClapMack December 16, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    One incident after another off the the field – Bramble, Bendter, Cattermole, Bendter. Are these players trying to become the Premier League equivalent of the England Rugby team? No sense of responsibility off the field….lets hope we see a better sense of discipline and responsibility on it. Not happy, time these guys ‘got a grip’ and I hope MON can instill it

  8. Birflatt Boy December 16, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    Bruce has landed us with some real problem cases that other clubs must have been relieved to see the back of.

    He should just send Bendytoy back to dear old Arsene. I’m sure he’ll be just delighted to see the Dane again after he made his mouth go just as he left. He could be useful picking up litter in the stands or something.

  9. Stew December 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    While talking of rock stars I remember seeing Kevin Arnott and I think it was Shaun Elliott at a gig at Newcastle City Hall in the early 80’s. Can’t remember who the gig was exactly, or I’m too embarrased to say but the lads were very smartly dressed and stood out like sore thumbs. My mate went up for a bit of crack with the lads and commented on their attire for the occasion. The reply was that it was the wish of the manager (Ken Knighton I think) that they always looked smart in public as they were representing the club and they were respecting his and the clubs wishes.

    Anyway, back to todays news, when the truth comes out we’ll find out Cattermole was just trying to get into a taxi bt timed it al wrong !

  10. malcolm December 16, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    You Canadian based contributers won’t have seen this but I was apalled that Joey Barton was a guest on Question of Sport (a light hearted sports based television quiz programme m’lud) last week.

    I know he has served his time for his convictions but to my mind he has still to prove to me that he is a suitable guest on a prime time programme, no matter how good his agent.

    Could it be that MON had told Catt he was thinking of appointing a new captain? Getting arrested is a good way of saving face perhaps?

  11. Jeremy December 17, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    He may have served his time Malcolm but in most decent people’s eyes Barton remains an aerosol. It’s a really good example of how standards have slipped. Of all the players available to choose from why pick on that one?

  12. hilary December 17, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I think it is because he has developed a really high profile now here based on his pronouncements onTwitter . He evidently discusses philosophy and politics. I saw some reference to his liking for Chomsky the other day ! This seems to have rehabilitated him in the public domain.

    Not convinced? Nor am I.

  13. Bill Taylor December 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I still think Bruce should have gone after Barton, aerosol or not! And, having served his time, maybe he really is trying to straighten himself out.
    (Was that a pig that just flew low over my house…?)

  14. chatnoir_safc December 17, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    “Modern footballers, or some of them, seem to think they are entitled to anything, anything at all.”

    I don’t think it’s the footballers that have changed; it’s society that’s changed, and it’s the media that’s changed.

    Terry probably wasn’t the first footballer to sleep with a team-mate’s partner. But footballers are celebrities now, in a way that they weren’t for most of their history. And what people seemed to find so offensive about Terry, is that his actions appeared to fly in the face of his public image as a warrior on the pitch, and a devoted family man off it.

    Until the 80s or 90s, footballers didn’t have such public personas, and arguably, even if a newspaper had uncovered the story of Terry’s infidelities, they wouldn’t have published it.

    We’ve seen a lot of appalling things from footballers in the last twenty years or so, but really, no more obnoxious or OTT than other types of celebrities: models, actors, musicians.

    And let’s face it, people like Terry or Bendtner or Ashley Cole or Wayne Rooney are no longer just sportsmen; they’ve become public figures whose every private act becomes news.

    Whether this is right or wrong is another debate entirely, but Bendtner’s outburst in Copenhagen was just a variation on that old theme, ‘don’t you know who I am?’

  15. hilary December 18, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Whilst I agree that society has changed and the media are more intrusive, I still think that we have the right to expect good behaviour from footballers. What happens in their personal lives is one thing. My disappointment in Ryan Giggs is enormous. He encouraged our perception of him as Mr Perfect, and the revelations about his private life were shocking. John Terry always seemed to be a bit of a thug and I havent been particularly surpised about his pecadillos.

    However criminal behaviour is another thing altogether -it is totally unacceptable. Footballers are part of a team and a club, and have responsibilities to both-as well as to the fans of course. They shouldn’t be drinking excessively to the extent that they behave in yobbish ways . They are paid to perform as athletes, and standards of fitness are rising all the time. To be competetive now at the highest level, requires self discipline and the highest fitness levels . I do wonder about the Bruce regime. Bruce wanted to be liked and he didn’t seem to be someone for whom discipline would be a priority.

    I see that Rednapp has banned his players from having a Xmas party, saying that they get paid huge amounts of money and should be prepared to forgo these kinds of celebrations. He is right. I hope that O’Neill can get this lot to behave better both on and off the pitch and if any charges are proved, we should get rid of the players involved.

  16. Birflatt Boy December 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Chat Noir said “But footballers are celebrities now, in a way that they weren’t for most of their history.”

    What complete drivel!

  17. Bill Taylor December 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Yes, indeed, BB. For just a few examples over the past decades, see http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,,583485,00.html

  18. Birflatt Boy December 19, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    There are a couple of our old boys in there (no pun intended), Mr Taylor, well five in fact. I can’t help having the horrible feeling that Mrs Doubtfire would have lumbered us with no 6, in the form of Keith Gillespie if he had still been playing seriously during his time with us.

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