November 9th, 2010

Footballer Frolics: Just Because It Feels Good?

Happily, they have each other. For the time being, it’s probably going to remain that way. (Getty Images/Daylife)

It’s here. It’s there. Apparently, it’s ruddy everywhere. Let’s be honest, who was surprised when news broke this weekend that Newcastle United’s Andy Carroll (single) and his care in the community worker (married) Kevin Nolan had been busted for allegedly taking their celebration of Nolan’s hat trick in the Magpie’s 5-1 demolition of Sunderland a little too far**? That’s lady friend far, for those of you who’ve missed it.

But Arsene Wenger? Defending himself against allegations of infidelity with a younger woman? Yep, we admit it. We didn’t see that one coming.

So why is this happening? Why do elite soccer players (and their managers. We see you, Avram) seemingly find it impossible to remain faithful for more than ten seconds? In the interests of our future happiness, we decided to see if we could figure out what the hell is going on.

When the English Premier League was set up in 1992 no one could have dreamed of the impact it would have on the lives of the players. From minimum wage muddy boys to global fashion icons, ‘football player’ now equates to ‘playboy’ in the eyes of the world and the lifestyles of the richest and most talented are followed like a soap opera by a celebrity obsessed public.

The fact that the super-injunction has now become common parlance will testify to that. For while success on the field is exciting, scandal off it is far more newsworthy. In recent years, player indiscretions have become fair game to a certain section of the tabloid media and it’s rare a week passes without a new scandal involving a female, a (usually married) player and an illicit liaison in a cheap hotel. This weekend’s shining examples included.

In England particularly there is an unspoken requirement for men to be in a relationship. Many club managers prefer their players to be married as it ‘settles’ them and after Tiger Woods’ and Wayne Rooney’s recent alleged transgressions, it’s clear to see that sponsors are heavily reliant on a family man image.

But something is wrong here. The England NT’s history in this area, not to mention the ever growing list of unfaithful male celebrities implies that the settled ‘married with kids’ life with the magazine spreads and photo opps isn’t sufficient to keep a guy faithful. And it’s always their fault. The tone of newspaper reports implying that money and fame is corrupting and players don’t know the meaning of morality.

Seems a little too easy, though. Instead of looking at the effect, what of the cause? What if the pressure to marry and be perceived as one thing completely goes against what young guys want to be doing, even need to be doing? After all, how frequently do we read about single footballers ‘enjoying’ themselves while out clubbing? There’s no story there, is there? It’s only when there is a wronged woman and preferably babies involved that it becomes interesting and more importantly, media worthy.

The pressure on players to conform to an ideal is huge and for many, lucrative. But the pressure to take advantage of what is being offered, seemingly on a plate is apparently greater. Which brings us onto the other issue here. The women.

Over the last ten years there’s no denying it has become culturally acceptable for women to pursue footballers in order to gain a certain type of lifestyle. This lifestyle has been pushed via celebrity magazines and other media as aspirational for years so why wouldn’t women take steps to attain it? It’s easy to talk about the role of women in society these days, how we can have it all, how there is no glass ceiling, you can be what you want to be.  But for many women, access to education, a career, hope of personal fulfillment is merely that. Talk.

From this perspective, the footballer becomes the prey, worshipped, sought after. An easy way to the top. And the player is elevated; a King on his throne, admitting or banishing women from his court according to his whim.

So if women are prepared to put themselves in this position, if this is the price they are willing to pay to become one of the chosen few, should players treat them with respect? Why? We read the stories in the papers condemning their behaviour but who hangs out in a club’s VIP area hoping to catch an eye? Who spends the night then sells the story for a tidy sum? Who is the predator here?

Ooh, isn’t it fun to be judgmental from the sofa? Let’s up the ante a little here, shall we? Picture the scene. You are in a club looking scorchio (natch). You’re not on the lookout, you’re simply enjoying a night out with your bishes, but via a series of serendipitous events, one Xabi Alonso and entourage just happen to be chillin’ in said VIP area. You catch his eye. You melt.

Where’s your moral code now? Does your mind immediately flick to every ovary busting shot of Xab’s and his bubs? To his gorgeous wife Nagore, girlcrush of this parish? Are you retreating to a corner to continue your evening in peace, smiling secretly to yourself because for a split second this beautiful boy noticed you? Or have you accelerated from librarian to street walker in a four second window?

Hmm, not quite so black and white now, is it?

Blame is so easy to hand out; whether it’s the women who look for it or the guys who are so up for it and have no problem separating ‘love’ from ‘party boy lust’. The sense of entitlement that receiving thousands of pounds a week for kicking a ball around a field confers, the small sacrifice of dignity it takes for a woman to take that risk, compared to the money, status and opportunities she would have available to her if she catches the right eye.

As long as there are tabloid newspapers there will be speculation, gossip and kiss n’tells. While footballers are being paid extraordinary amounts of money, there will always be a section of women for whom the struggle for equality is nothing and economic reality is everything.

It’s just unfortunate that while we’re all having such a good time, someone has to pay the price.

**Granted, it would appear Kev didn’t actually hook up with anyone on the night, but really: bringing back women to your family home at 5 am…? That’s just bollocks.

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44 Responses to “Footballer Frolics: Just Because It Feels Good?”

  1. lulu says:

    a friend of mine had a dream in which she was Xabi Alonso’s mistress and they had hot s.e.x at a 5-star hotel room. No one could ever say no to Xabi.
    the only thing is that none of us would be a kiss-and-tell no matter how much money is being offered. we’d want to repeat the operation as many times as possible!
    sorry, that’s just what i think.
    (anyway i simply don’t see Xabi cheating on his wife, so this is merely what it started as: a dream)

  2. JoleenMean says:

    “It’s easy to talk about the role of women in society these days, how we can have it all, how there is no glass ceiling, you can be what you want to be. But for many women, access to education, a career, hope of personal fulfillment is merely that. Talk.”

    Really? Is there no state education system in the UK these days then? Maybe I’ve been living in the US for too long where a college education can actually be prohibitively expensive.

  3. Izzy says:

    I couldn't go out with someone married. Period.
    That said i agree with some coments that yes a footballer getting married young is a get mature faster tactic and i see why clubs would want that but if you are a playboy or whatever i mean then don't get marrie, because you are going to hurt people! and your wife maybe one of the last people on your mind at the moment but what about your kids i mean your wife is very important to think about you made vows you should respect and is it really worth it to srcew some chick you know is sooo easy and still look your children in the face or your wife or the rest of your family and be okay i mean.
    when you enter the world of marrage and parenthood you HAVE to grow up! if you don't want that then don't get married, save all the hurt you would be causing to the people around you!
    And seriosly footballers you can't keep it in your pants? its that bad that you have to bang a random chick? You have take responsability and be a grown up even if you don't want to!

  4. Ash Menon says:

    I blame the ballers. It was your choice to get married, it's your choice to stay married. We all do. Ballers aren't the only ones surrounded by stress and temptation. It's not like you just marry someone and it's done with. Every morning when you get up, you make the choice to stay married, faithful, and loving to the person beside you. Which is why marriage isn't for everyone.

  5. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with celebrity magazines or the Premier League era. Lust and infidelity are as old as humanity. Read Homer or the Bible or Shakespeare. Women want powerful men and men want women who want them.

  6. @AgnesWonka says:

    these things will happen all the time! ballers are human beings!! hello!!

    • allie says:

      That does not make it okay. Yes, footballers are human beings, therefore they have minds to choose what they would do, and what the consequences of what they would do would be. Either way, even if something happens all the time, what is wrong is wrong (for example, cheating on your spouse) and its being common does not make it okay.

  7. Ana;) says:

    Well said and written kickette. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this behaviour. I definitely think society is way up there, expectations of footballers and the way gossip mags glamourise their lifestyles. We seem to be so obessed with celebrity culture, that it is now affecting the people of our game. Yes the footballer who cheats is responsible, and the women, yet so are many societal factors. However, a footballer is no longer just a footballer, he is also an icon, role model, ambassador, face of _____. You know? So for some tabloids and people perhaps that gives them the right to examine their personal lives and analyse and pick at every bit of it. It saddens me to say oh well, that’s what happens when you’re famous. It shouldn’t have to be the case. Many people cheat, but for some reason cheating when you are rich and famous is something else in itself, and always explosive.

  8. [...] Breaking down footballer infidelity. [Kickette] [...]

  9. Leya_S says:

    Honestly, being a footballer, or being a woman dating/married to a footballer is dangerous…you can have everything and nothing that you want at the same time.

    I have really conflicting feelings about this thread. On the one hand, its really easy to look down your nose at footballers who are playboys and run amok bedding every woman that throws herself at them. However, if he's single, I honestly can't see anything wrong with it. These men aren't saints, and if some rando is going to offer herself to a young, single, virulent, strapping, hard-bodied, pouty-lipped, bedroom-eyed…okay, sorry, getting carried away….GQMF baller, than fine. You can't blame him for that! And on that note, is it really so wrong to want to get with a baller? As long as he's unattached and you're not just looking for someone to buy you nice things and make you famous, then okay. If he weren't famous and he were just another hot guy, no one would care.

    On the other hand, these women can't go throwing themselves at married ballers. Now, this becomes a sticky situation bc lets just say you're a woman of principle and you do meet Xabi, you join him and his entourage, you guys hang out, talk blah blah blah, nice meeting you, goodnight. Everyone goes home in their separate cars and thinks "Well that was pleasant." The next day there will inevitably be pics in the papers saying "who's that woman who's not his wife?" Unfortunately we live in a society where a man and a woman cannot simply enjoy each others' conversation without there being something going on. Lame. So the question becomes should you have not gone over there bc you probably knew something like that would happen? Or should he have not invited you over bc he knew something like that would happen? It's a tough call, really, but its the price paid for fame. As far as ballers cheating and women home-wrecking, the rest of it comes down to responsibility: have enough self restraint to think "Hey, this guy's married…if I knew that and he weren't famous, would I STILL throw myself at him." And on the baller's part, he needs to think the same thing: "Hey, I love my wife and this would kill her."

    That being said, I don't think that I can condone cheating…EVER. I just feel like there are not enough good reasons to cheat…forgive me, there are NO good reasons to cheat.

  10. elcynico says:

    I suspect the percentage of unfaithfulness among footballers is about the same as society at large. Also I find it extremely interesting that we never hear about a wag cheating – are they all completely faithful and loyal? If we look at percentages, then it's logical that some of the commentors on this site have had more than one affair going at the same time, or else this is a site purely for saints. As for Arsene, there were allegations years ago about him, he exploded that his life was private and the press took a step back. I can't remember him denying or confirming in either case.

  11. JVD says:

    The players- I will never understand the need to cheat once you are married. If you want to have options stay single. I realize that encouraging young footballers (and other athletes) to marry is a "maturing" tactic and that for some it means promo money, but it so rarely ends well… wouldn't it be easier to simply get your young stud player a minder? I know for a lot of them, marrying your childhood sweetheart is a kind of security blanket and you know she isn't with you just for the money. But easy women and idiot friends are an occupational hazard. If you want to fall down the "fame and fortune= I'm the king of the world" rabbit hole do it alone.

    The WAGs- Maybe you love him. Maybe he's just a meal ticket. Decide what you can and cannot deal with. Make this known and dont back down because your afraid of being replaced.

    The WAGabbes- If he has a wife/girlfriend of eighty-leven years odds are he won't drop her for you. No one is impressed that you had the "privilege" of hosting his penis (odds are he is doorknob guy). You aren't special to him. There are less sleazy ways to make money (set up an ebay shop or something).

    As for how I would react in the given situation… I don't care how great Xabi looked or how flattered I was that he looked at me no way am I sleeping with a married man. I am not trying to moralize-for me it is cut and dry. I feel guilty for checking him (and Torres) out here on Kickette, no way could I do more than smile, acknowledge his good taste and move on. I respect the vows he made even if he doesn't.

  12. blue_verry says:

    Money, fame, and sex scandals always go hand in hand. It's like a rule of nature. Unless we live in the same environments that these athletes and celebrities do, are subjected to the same influences and temptations, and have the same sexual drives, we'll never understand why they do what they do. We can speculate, judge, and criticize, but we can't understand.

    On the flip side of the coin, there are the women. I think trying to figure out their mentalities is another wasted effort down the drain. All I can say is everyone has different values and goals in life. Some women don't give a crap about career advancement, gender equality, and breaking the glass ceiling. They want Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Louboutin instead. Nothing anyone can do about it.

    Besides, our society idolizes famous figures to the point of worship. Hence there is always an obscene amount of public interest in celebrities and their love/sex lives. Public interest drives TV ratings, tabloid sales, site (blog) traffic, etc. Media attention in turn feeds the public interest. It's all a vicious cycle IMO. None of us are above the media frenzy. Otherwise, why would we be here?

  13. wow says:

    At the end of the day, footballers or managers are not the only people cheating, unfortunately for them their of the pitch activities are all over the media for us to see and read about . To be honest i truly enjoy reading about their personal life, because it's very interesting. We have to admit that it's kind of easy for them to cheat, together with their huge Bank account and fit physique, it is easy for them to get into couple of sticky situ here and there. At the end of the day it's a shame that alot of them don't stay faithful to their wags!

  14. Dru says:

    "Xabi Alonso and entourage just happen to be chillin’ in said VIP area. You catch his eye. You melt.

    Where’s your moral code now? "
    _________________

    Not speaking for every woman or even every Kickette, and god knows Xabi is fit enough to make my knees melt, but….. I can't do that to another woman. I'd feel an absolute skank if I went after a married man and I knew he was married or seriously committed (in fantasyland, my boys are always single, but in reality? Wishful thinking). I mean, I'd def. go up and ask for an autograph once my jaw comes off the floor/I stop drooling, but hitting on a man with a wife and bubbas? No way, José.

    Caveat: if one of my actually-single (no wife/SO) footy crushes looked interested, I'd totally reciprocate.

    PS: Kickette, you guys are right about the media attention to WAGs promoting this rash of WAGabees, and god knows there are players out there who couldn't keep it in their pants (Crouchie, Wazza, Becks, Kun and some people say Totti has a roving eye, and even Maradona admitted to cheating on his wife when they were married) but not every married baller is a skank-magnet/cheater.

    • Amber says:

      I agree with you. Would never go after a married man, famous or not. I just wouldn't be able to live with myself, and I would rather be alone and waiting for someone who respects me. Now, I will say, I am one of the lucky women who was able to get an education and a well-paying job that I love. Maybe my self-respect clouds my vision.

      • Lou says:

        My conscience wouldn't allow me too, who are these women? At least they expose the cheats though, thats something! Otherwise their partners and family would be none the wiser, some good I suppose comes from the bad, these men need to be exposed, enough is enough!

        • Lulu says:

          Kickette, I'm still half mad that you brought Xabi into this. How could you possibly do this? XABI?
          Anyway, doesn't matter who it is, I wouldn't allow myself to go after them. A signed shirt perhaps, or a picture (and e-mail?), and it'd end there. If by any chance he actually remembers me the next day, e-friends perhaps. But then again, I'm the kind of person that has a career path planned out.

          I would rather they don't expose it though. It tears apart a family and they get harassed by the press and reminded of it every waking minute of the day at least week after, and even after the hype dies down, fears the resurgence of it as another scandal gets uncovered.

          • Dru says:

            I agree, it's not as if "exposing the cheat" is such a great thing when it's often such a huge source of pain and embarrassment for a family, and for the spouse/SO who's been cheated on. Especially if the whole thing is a setup (not that ballers themselves shouldn't take responsibility, though.

          • Dru says:

            I agree with you about Xabi too- I mean, yes he's the fantasy husband of about half of us but Xabi as possible adulterer just doesn't seem credible AT ALL, he's too mature for that ****.

    • Leya_S says:

      Agreed. I'd sit around like, "Crap, why does he have to be married" and maybe have a few extra drinks with my girlfriends and have a good-natured grumble about "all the good ones being taken", but I'd never go after a married/attached man.

      In defense of the prostitutes, that's their job. They don't discriminate against married or not married clientele. And if they manage to hook a baller, they might considering selling their story so that maybe they can get OUT of prostitution…I've seen a lot of documentaries where a lot of prostitutes are forced into it and can't get out without risking death. So the blame 100% falls on the ballers in those cases.

      Also, I think some of these women have "other woman syndrome" – she thinks she's better for him than his current wife or girlfriend, so she's going to pursue it…delusional and dangerous.

      • Dru says:

        Oh, I don't believe it's a prostitute's job to differentiate between married/unmarried clients, that fault lies with the footballers themselves, as does any decision they make to cheat- I was talking more about 'regular-girl' (not hooker, that is) types who believe shagging a footballer will set them up for life and who'll do anything to get one into bed, married or not- and then sell the story. Cause I don't think the average Kickette is a hooker, is all, and the question was addressed to us.

        • Leya_S says:

          Haha, to clarify, I wasn't defending hookers against anything you said in your comment. It was just a general defense against anyone (not you) who might think that prostitutes might have some fault in those situations. Sorry about that. I guess I should have used "in the case of" instead of "in defense of". My b.

    • Izzy says:

      I agree 100% you said it perfectly!!! i mean yes Xabi Alonso OMG he could make me melt!! but no way, i mean yes its easy to say that now but in the actual situ things would be different but i still go with no, get an autograph and probably act like a total dork and maybe even blurt out "man you're HOT" but i would leave it at that!

  15. lilygold says:

    Some Footballers clearly have an Ego and Wallet so enormous and an intellect so small they think they can get away with anything and keep it quiet, hence the Super Injunctions.To this, add women who are so desperate to attain the lifestyle they will do whatever it takes and in the process lose all self respect in order to snare a Footballer even if he's married ,They're all as bad as each other! Tony Terry , Abbey and Coleen cannot bear to leave their men because they know there will always be another Woman willing to take their place regardless of what he gets up to.The status of being the Wife will always stop them from walking away. I think the men shag other women just because they know they can get away with it, with the exception of Cheryl Cole which other Wives have kicked their sorry asses out of the house?

    • Lou says:

      They must be quite dense to think they won't get caught? Footballers today have become 'celebs' and alot of them crave that image (ie OK spreads etc), with it comes the exposure. They may want to be talked about in the front parts of the newspapers as well as the back now a days, but with it their more then likely to have scandals written about them. Its a double edged sword. They want the multi million pound contracts but not the negative press, but you cant have one without the other. If you cheat the media will cover the story and drag your name through the dirt. When they meet these Wag wannabes why don't they actually think of the repecussions for one minute? It's highly unlikely with the coverage they get that it will remain Private, and is it really worth destroying your family and your public image for a quicky? If they had any brains they'd at leats have a confidentiality agreement, not that Im agree with their actions, but they arent exactly the brightest bulb in the box are they? lol

      • Lou says:

        AS for Caroll, he's a bad egg that one. He's basically brought all his problems to the Nolan houshold and no doubt this family will fall apart from here onwards :( Not that Im excusing Nolan, If you had ANY respect for your wife or your family you certainly wouldnt invite Three s*uts back to you family home. Also what guy planning his wedding would give out their Number to the Rooney Prostitute? He may not have been accused of sleeping with another woman whilst married, but the signs dont look good for him.

  16. zztop says:

    I doubt the cheaters/not cheaters, women with self-esteem issues/ women without ratios are that different from 'regular' people. Non-footy people have also been known to be cheaters / golddiggers/ dignity-bereft humans. We hear about these guys because they are famous.

    Just from personal experience, in every group I've ever been in, say school of work place, a percentage of those people are as sure as rain to be untrustworthy. It's a personality type, has nothing to do with fame or money. C'mon, you all know someone in your extended social circle who cheats, or who would sell their grandma for money or fame, and you feel sorry for them or despise them or whatever. Or maybe you are that person and it doesn't bother you.

    • LosAngeleno says:

      So so well put!!!! And non-earth-shattering advice to both potential WAGS and us regular people alike– if someone seems untrustworthy, they probably are. Keep as far as possible from these kind of people in both love and friendships. Otherwise, you shouldn't be shocked when your inklings come true.

  17. Rossanera says:

    Excellent, thought-provoking piece, Kickette.

  18. blake2108 says:

    As much as I hate the fact that my Gareth has a girlfriend, I'm happy as long as he and he rare both happy together and that he remains faithful to her and she does to him.

    I'd wanna kill her if she ever hurt him.

    My opinion on it is simple. If you're a guy, footballer or not, if you marry a woman, you're vowing that you'd never commit adultery, Therefore you never should. If you do cheat, then you shouldn't have married her in the first place (cos chances are she'll find out and screw you for half your stuff, and if you're a footballer, that's a lot of stuff)

    I'd rather be dumped than cheated on. There are many examples where footballers in particularly, have cheated, If they've cheated before, chances are they'd do it again. I understand that the women getting cheated on love their husband/boyfriend, but would they love it if they cheated again?

    I personally think the likes of Cheryl, Colleen etc are/were fools for taking their man back once they cheated. If their's a baby involved then obviously that makes it difficult as you want what's best for the kid.

    It's hard, as you don't really know everything that's going on in their lives to make a perfect judgement. But honestly. If you're going to cheat, don't commit yourself, and dump the other half before you cheat.

    (I say all this, but if I were with Gareth, and then he cheated, as heartbroken as I would be, I'd still forgive him and take him back cos I love him so much, even though he's likely to do it again.)

    It's a tough one, this.

    Cheaters are scumbags though, either way.

    • Lou says:

      I agree with this^ (Minus the Gareth comments, not my cup of tea I'm afraid and no one should take any rat back! :D )

  19. nodnarb says:

    If I could offer a guy's perspective that you may have alluded to: Working out makes men horny. (I'm sure there's some scientific explanation about releasing endorphins, but I'm too lazy to look it up). Anyways, when your job involves working out every day for extreme hours, far longer than the average person, you're likely walking around like a firecracker about to go off. That in no way excuses cheating. It's just some perspective.

    Seriously guys, if you get married (even if it is for EPL non-mandated appearances) and you and your partner have outrageously mismatched sex-drives, take matters into your own hands (ahem). Don't cheat.

  20. hereforthenando says:

    "It’s easy to talk about the role of women in society these days, how we can have it all, how there is no glass ceiling, you can be what you want to be. But for many women, access to education, a career, hope of personal, is merely that. Talk."

    Thank you so much for pointing that out. It's really telling about our society that women can sleep with footballers for prestige, but men get to actually BE the footballers.

    • Angharad says:

      "It's really telling about our society that women can sleep with footballers for prestige, but men get to actually BE the footballers. "

      Very, very true.

    • Missy Manchester says:

      You raise an extremely valid point. I'd like to add another:

      The only "professions" that seem to consistently pay women more than men is modelling and prostitution.

      And these days…selling sex has definitely become more mainstream and palatable. Do we blame Hooters, Cheetah's and ashleymadison.com? Madonna, Miley Cyrus and the record industry?

      Do we blame men who have more money than morals? Do we blame the media/advertisers for sexualizing everything from toothpaste to tires?

      Where does it start? And more importantly, how do we end it?

    • Dru says:

      "men get to actually BE the footballers"
      ________________

      So true. I mean, there are women's football teams of course but they don't draw even a tiny fraction of the attention that the men's games do because the men's games are where all the lucrative sponsorships/big money goes.

      • hereforthenando says:

        A report that came out really recently about gender and sports found that in the US, women's sports gets 1.6% of coverage. Scary, eh?

  21. Sharon says:

    I've never commented on this site before, but have been reading you for months. Just wanted to pipe in and say this was extremely well written and I can definitely see both sides of the story. Great writing!