It’s not all fast cars and parties
Footballers. If we aren’t reading about their exploits on the pitch, more often than not we can read about their exploits off it. Much is speculation and the rest can’t be mentioned before the watershed, but as I recently read, it’s not always bad.
West Ham United striker Craig Bellamy is more used to finding himself in hot water rather than hot weather, but following a recent trip to Sierra Leone, the Wales international has formed the Craig Bellamy Foundation there.
Bellamy’s 600,000 pound football academy is set to include 14 new leagues, 68 new boys’ teams and employ 141 managers and coaches.
So it’s not all fast cars, big houses and sordid parties after all then? In fact, if the media turned their focus away from the usual suspects, they would see a whole host of top players participating in worthwhile causes.
Portsmouth’s Nwankwo Kanu formed the Kanu Heart Foundation after having surgery on a hole in his heart during his early playing days. His charity arranged treatment for 250 African children with heart problems in 2007 and hopes to help 1,000 more this year.
Reading’s Bobby Convey regularly visits the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Lion Ward to spend time with sick children. He is not contracted or sponsored to do this and did the same thing earlier in his career while playing in the U.S.
England international Frank Lampard is involved in a range of cancer charities, and has become an enthusiastic backer of Chelsea’s latest initiative with CLIC Sargent, Kick for Children with Cancer.
Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper about footballers ‘bad press’, Lampard said, “…People forget that we are young lads growing up. We all made mistakes. Life’s about learning from them. So many players I have come across are down-to-earth lads who want to help out.”
So should we give footballers a break? Or should more players be putting some of their efforts and mountains of cash into worthwhile causes?
Do you know of any players worthy of a mention? Let us know.
Neil Maidment, London
PHOTO: Wales’s Craig Bellamy in action against San Marino in a Euro 2008 qualifier Oct 17, 2007. REUTERS/Daniele la Monaca