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Football Has Lost Its Heroes, Apparently

Wigan boss Paul Jewell thinks the backlash against the England squad is just indicative of the way modern football has lost touch with the supporters,

“It’s gone past passion – it’s reached the point of hatred, and it’s sad, but that’s the way football is going,” Jewell said.

“When I was a kid you idolised the players that played for your team, but a lot of people now who support their team are jealous of the players.

“I know some players don’t help themselves because they are a little bit flash, but there is jealousy, with everyone’s wages dragged through the press.

“The link between the common man and the player has gone, and it’s almost become a them and us situation, and I think that’s sad.

“When I was a kid, and you look at what my father earned and the players who played for my team, they earned good money as well.

“But we still idolised and loved the players – I don’t think that is happening anymore.”

It’s hard to disagree, one of the first insults thrown at any player who puts in some bad performances is that they aren’t earning their wages. That they’re overpaid and unworthy of such a privileged job. And they’re right, to an extent. It’s the clubs and agents who are driving these wages, not the players. If someone offered you 100K a week to do your job, even if you were a bit crap at it, we doubt there’d be many rejections.

It does seem football is being rolled out for adult, paying supporters rather than kids or lower class citizens. Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard is probably the closest in the Premiership to the die-for-my-club of lore. The man or child on the street just can’t relate as well to the highly paid, glamorous, well-groomed superstars that appear on 60 foot billboards and at celebrity events with a WAG on their arm.

The modern footballer is more an entertainer than a hero, for better or worse.