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May, 2011

Fancy being a footballer’s girlfriend

Why do we care about footballers’ celebrity status and private lives so much?

Where are the millions of people who find this stuff interesting? They must be out there otherwise there’d be no commercial reason for chasing down this kind of information.

As a media person who finds this kind of personal information boring and of little interest, I do see it from a slightly different point of view.

I don’t find it boring because I’m trying to be too intelligent or anything highly moral. I have, in the past, looked into someone’s private life because I believe it serves the public interest to do so.
I’ve told a presenter to challenge a married MP on air about his love affair because it was directly affecting his work in his constituency. That was not pleasant, it felt uncomfortable but I could see the point. However, I’ve known several other MPs who’ve had extra-marital relationships but have considered it irrelevant to their professional standing.
Any journalist who works around politicians, celebrities or footballers knows far more than he/she will be in a position to publish.

footballer kicking a ball

I've interviewed many famous footballers

I’ve also interviewed footballers, some very well known, and have found no reason to talk to them about their private lives.
Frankly some of them might be able to kick a ball around and show astonishing talent on the pitch – but they can barely string two sentences together.

Some have been astonishingly rude – treating journalists who turn up week in, week out to watch often second-rate games with complete contempt. (A dangerous tactic to employ when you consider how quickly bad news becomes public).
Some have been so lecherous that it’s nauseating – I can think of one very famous former footballer who was well known for making a beeline for the young 20-somethings in the studio. He’s married.

But one thing that has astonished me about the football world is this – there are a group of women, often very beautiful and very intelligent, who follow footballers around trying hard to hook one. They form a kind of clique, football groupies, who will throw themselves at footballers at every opportunity. I’ve seen these women in action and it has always amazed me.


  • Is it the money?
  • The life-style?

Even if I’d had the looks, the body and the balls – I could never have been one of those women. There’s something so cheap and desperate about it.

If you’re the footballer, away from home, feeling down, had a row with the wife/girlfriend, feeling weak – these girls are waiting to pounce.

I’m not condoning any footballer being unfaithful to his wife/girlfriend but I do understand that temptation is thrust upon them in a way that us ordinary mortals can barely understand.
So although I think resorting to a super injunction is sheer cowardice (man up for goodness sake!) I do have some insight into how this kind of thing can happen.

Tip: Avoid being a football groupie, you’ll be given a fairly unpleasant label. As for the footballer, if you succumb to temptation, don’t blame the press, blame yourself and sort it out.


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