Sometimes it’s just that simple – Liverpool fans hate Gary Neville for his Manchester United colours – but in recent years football culture has evolved and so has player hating. Nowadays (thanks to a false morality championed by the English press) we hate players for a variety of reasons.
To paraphrase, Football is a TV show, football fans are voyeurs and normal people with extraordinary lives are being dissected and painted in exaggerated caricatures of angels and demons.
Why do we hate these footballers? Why do you hate certain football players? Have a look at our list of ten perfectly logical reasons to hate footballers, and then add your own at the end:
10. Jealousy: Sometimes people hate others because they’re jealous of what they’ve achieved. In football it could be wealth (discussed separately below) or something as simple as having an attractive wife or girlfriend (or in Ronaldo’s case, bedding fabulous bodies around the world).
I don’t know him, I don’t even care about his football, but I just don’t like Marcus Bent. Would I swap lives with him right now? That would be quite a Christmas present…
9. Affluence: David Beckham is probably the richest footballer in the world. He’s also hated for how he’s used his career and good looks to make a lot more money than we ever could (this man can buy a football club if he wants). Accumulating wealth is so unholy!
While we’re at it, let’s pat ourselves on the back for saving that extra 10 grand last year, it’s going to come in handy if things get worse.
8. Referee Abuse: I can’t stand players abusing referees. What right do they have to scream at them for getting one decision wrong when they themselves miss 5 chances per game? Why don’t we reward referees for getting decisions right?
“That new ref at our weekly Saturday game? Total wanker.”
7. Rivalry: A fundamental by-product of supporting a football club. Chelsea fans hate Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United fans hate John Terry, and so on.
I’d say something funny here, but seriously, what’s there to like about John Terry or Jamie Carragher? Nothing! Exactly!
6. ‘Characters’: There are some players who thrive on being hatred as they love being the center of attention, and then there are some players who make so many mistakes in the public eye that it’s impossible to like them.
Take a bow: Ashley Cole and Joey Barton.
5. Arrogance: There’s nothing worse than a footballer who thinks he’s the best, a footballer who’s pride is insulting when coupled with his obvious shortcomings in his ability to get the job done. That boy Ronaldo, his stepovers and his freekicks, perfect example.
Of course, the first article of faith for a ‘true’ football fan is to believe his team are invincible going into every game. The second article of faith? Make sure everyone around you knows about your team’s supposed invincibility (it makes the win that much sweeter).
4. Disloyalty / Ungratefulness: Ashley Cole is perhaps the most hated footballer in England, and it’s impossible not to know why.
“You know why I don’t work for them anymore? My boss gave me his word, his effin’ word, that he’d pay me as much as Simon from Marketing. And what does he come back with? 500 pounds a month less? Screw that, I don’t need them, I’ve given them all my life and this is what I get? Ungrateful, disloyal bastards…”
3. Sex Ronaldinho’s brothel habits. Ronaldo’s transvestites. Ronaldo’s orgies.
“Excuse…me…as I…daydream…ah…about…those…two girls…oh…from…the…office. Yes! Yes!”
2. Greed: Shame on footballers for wanting a raise an year after they got their last one! Shame on them for changing clubs for more money!
And while we’re at, let’s celebrate the entrepreneurs who have made fortunes in a short period of time and pat ourselves on the backs for moving to London ‘for the city life but not for the money’.
1. Bending the rules: Oh, we love our football fair and our footballers hard (that sounds gay, but homosexuality has no place in football, remember?). If you’re tackled, don’t get the foul you muppet, get up and fight. Boo the divers, boo the simulators, boo Ronaldo, boo!
“Did you know you could declare this as a tax-deductible expense? Let me show you…”