Former Newcastle United star, Jermaine Jenas, has taken a swipe at those supporters who labelled him, Kieron Dyer and others as the ‘bling brigade’ back in the day, citing the fact that because David Beckham wore more diamonds than he did, it clearly showed that race was the problem.
It’s obvious that when young players have a lot of money and little responsibility, they’re going to spend it however they choose, however, it appeared to Jenas at the time that there was a lot of jealousy that black or mixed-race stars were being seen to be a little ostentatious.
“It was all the black and mixed-raced players basically getting accused of being in this bling brigade, yet you would have Becks at England who would have a £200k watch on, £400k earrings,” Jenas told the Daily Star.
“I’m just throwing numbers out here, but he had plenty of diamonds on him, trust me. And not once did anything about bling brigade get thrown at him.
“I think it was the mentality of the person, how they saw us, and all of the bling brigade stuff came later. That was under Graeme Souness really because we were performing under Sir Bobby Robson.
“[…] I think England’s always struggled with young players, or young men, then all of sudden getting a bit of success and then, okay, not having the stability to be able to manage those financial gains that you get. They pull us down, it’s what they’ve done over the years, but it’s part and parcel of the job.
“You don’t see it in cricket, you don’t see it in golf, you don’t see it in tennis. But in football it happens a lot.”
Jenas’ words, whilst thoughtful and considered, are bound to open a can of worms.
Now a successful pundit as well as presenter on BBC1’s The One Show, Jenas can expect some heat for bringing the issue of race to the fore once again, albeit, it’s his lived experience so he will surely argue that he has every right to express himself as he has done.