Now that Birmingham City have got that 38-year-old monkey off their back, it seems appropriate to move on and talk about something else, anything else really. Ashley Cole? Ok.
On being told of the latest embarrassing story to emerge from ‘Chelsea’s Cobham base’ (the full story is available here, but basically Cole shot a work experience student with an air-rifle), a friend of mine responded ‘What is he six-years-old?’ Exactly. It is ridiculous. Apparently Cole, who didn’t know the gun was loaded (which, in itself, raises questions about his state of mind), was ‘larking around’ with an air rifle he’d brought to training in a box. This is kind of how certain types of kids, the cool ones with older brothers, would perform when you went round their house on Saturday – only less decent. They might shoot you a couple of times, but they’d probably (unless they were a proper moron) let you shoot at them a couple of times too.
We don’t know the exact circumstances of this encounter. Maybe Cole, inspired by scenes in Egypt and Libya, has tired of JT’s reign of terror, and was attempting a coup. Tom Cowan (the student involved), for all we know, may have been injured while taking a bullet as England’s Brave John Terry’s human shield.
That seems unlikely though, Cole is not adverse to some gratuitous semi-naked posturing of his own, so behaving like a six-year-old is, basically, too lenient a description of his antics. He didn’t just have a cheapy BB-gun ‘imported’ from Majorca. He had a ridiculously tricked-out .22 calibre RIFLE with a muzzle and a nightscope.
If ever proof was needed that footballers are not the best people to trust with several million pounds, this was it. ‘Cashley’, as Cole is affectionately known across London, makes £5.7Million pounds a year. The purchase of a stupidly pimped up pest control device suggests that he’s running out of ways to spend it. It also seems like he might have a bit too much time on his hands; there is something incredibly, especially pathetic about a minted 30-year-old hunched over a laptop adding components to ensure he has the coolest air rifle possible. What a total buffoon.
I don’t particularly object to footballers being paid a lot of money but they have got to be shown better ways to spend it. Obviously it’s a generalization, I also learned this week that Shola Ameobi is reading Ulysses, but making kids play football all the time when they should be goofing off with their mates and air rifles and reading Of Mice and Men and learning algebra and about the rise of Fascism seems like it might also involve stunting their intellectual and social growth. That’s definitely how the Cole situation looks.
His generation of footballers is really the first to have earned this incredible amount of money for an entire adult life. There is no precedent for what happens to these blokes’ lives once they retire. If Cole is shooting people while he still has the excitement of a professional football career to sustain him then what the hell kind of antics will he be up to for the fifty years that he’ll still have to live and breathe once he retires?