Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Booing Ashley Cole is the fans verdict on celebrity

Spontaneous boos greeted Ashley Cole's every touch of the ball in the immediate aftermath of that chronic pass that gifted Kazakhstan their goal at Wembley.

But it wasn't fan reaction to poor football or even a bad show by the Chelsea left-back.

It was their instant verdict on Cole's controversial celebrity status.

Cole's odious "My Side" biography, the greed and disloyalty of his transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea and the soap opera of his relationship with WAG Cheryl played out daily through the tabloids, gets on supporters' wicks.

If Wes Brown or Matthew Upson had been responsible for the same pass, they certainly wouldn't have been booed with such conviction.

Cole's doing his best these days to keep his gob shut, to avoid searching for the paps with his celebrity wife: to quote the phrase so readily used about David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo before him, "he's playing himself out of trouble".

Fans don't mind a footballer's millionaire lifestyle, as long as he gives his all and demonstrates his commitment by consistency and good performances. Becks remains England's most popular player because he remembers just that. He learned the hard way with that sending off against Argentina a decade ago.

Cole's slowly recapturing the form that catapulted him to stardom at Arsenal. He's turning in his best performances since joining Chelsea. That's probably why another branch of England fans started clapping his every touch to compete with the boos.

But as those first fans at Wembley showed - and they're entitled to their opinion - he's still got work ahead of him to repair his image - as a man and as a footballer.

Listen to Rio's verdict on England's WAG circus under Sven!


  1. Fair enough Jonny, however the booing was distasteful IMHO.

  2. Thanks Jeremy. I respect your verdict on the booing - but as an England Fan, you're entitled just as much to your opinion as those paying customers at Wembley who booed Ash

  3. I thought that booing of Ashley Cole was uncalled for (whatever one thinks of him). Hardly a way to support and motivate ones team. Anyone can make mistakes on the field.

  4. It was a lazy and disgraceful pass and he deserved to be booed. The fact that the lucky b*****d gets to s**g Cheryl whenever he wants & the vast majority of male England supporters are insanely jealous is neither here not there!

  5. Agreed, Jonny. Provided Cole plays good football, England fans will cap their irritation and envy (which it is, lets face it). As far as Cherly is concerned, she is, IMHO, the arch example of a girl that should be seen and not heard!

  6. Ashley Cole represents everything ordinary people hate about modern football. The England fans who booed him the other day weren’t booing him, they were booing what he represents: greed, selfishness, big-headedness and not working hard enough for a ludicrous salary. If an ordinary bloke has to spend a week’s wages on taking his kids to an England game, he deserves to see every single player giving 100%. No excuses.
    I’ve spoken to quite a few ex-footballers from the 70s and 80s in my time, and in general they seem like decent blokes. Yes, they were paid well and yes, they’re far richer than me. HOWEVER, their salaries were not so great that they became completely detached from the real world, and for that reason they didn’t become too big for their boots.
    As a Welshman, the Wales-Germany game was my main focus of attention on Wednesday night. I was watching it in the pub with a friend who I hadn’t seen for quite a while. He used to be a big football fan, but told me he’d become disillusioned with the game in recent times and doesn’t follow it anywhere near as closely as he used to. He’s simply fed up with the greed and the endless whingeing he hears from footballers- and Ashley Cole epitomises everything he was talking about.
    Football, with its billionaire owners and overpaid mercenaries is in danger of killing itself.
    Footballers, like all entertainers, will only be employed for as long as people will pay to watch them play. David Beckham understands this. Despite enjoying some of the trappings of fame, he essentially seems down-to-earth and a pleasant guy. Wayne Rooney seems to be turning into a similar character. I bet Sir Alex is instrumental in helping them keep their feet on the ground.
    The day people decide enough is enough, and they no longer wish to fund the lifestyles of spoilt brats, football will begin to die. I’m sure my friend on Wednesday isn’t the only one getting a bit fed up with it all.

  7. I agree with all you write, Marcus, although reports of football's demise maybe somewhat overstated.... some fans are attracted by the showbiz and money as in some minds, it gives context to what's happening.

    It's a sad day though (and increasingly commonplace) for a committed fan to be alienated.


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