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1.3.2005
I am nuts

Iím crazy. One of the biggest nutters of all time. There have been only 27 weirder footballers in the universe. In the history of the game. This is how FourFourTwo Ėmagazine lists me.

The Premiership is one of the biggest sport brands in the world. The passionate British football culture and style of play combined with glamorous setting and successful marketing have made a demand for everything that involves to it. Long past are the days when the product was just the game, now it is also the personalities and their life behind football. Even players are becoming brands. Or something like it Ė even crazy.

This happens because nothing seems to be enough in the modern world. At least traditional things like results, tactics and team performances are starting to bore people. We want always something different. A name. And something happening to that name. Biggest headlines are written about persons. Finesses of the game are becoming a property of smaller and smaller group all the time. Stories about persons on the other hand are reported every hole in the world in a split of a second. This way world-known and followed cult figures like Beckham and Henry is been created all the time. Games, teams, results are introduced through names, everything is personalized. When everything have a face and a name it is easier for people to either relate to that, admire that or resent that.

Not many players are that interesting though. Footballers are just normal people. However we canít sell that image so everyone needs a role. Media provides this by trying to find every little detail and small difference about every player. If there isnít one, it has to be created or otherwise the player doesnít really exist further than statistics. Football is actually quite boring if you donít have some personal reason following it. The most common reason is to know someone. Or feeling that you know someone. You are following someone because you know or have read that he is such and such person. That is the person and image often invented by media.

So I was offered in that light hearted article a role as a nutter. The interest showed at me also as a footballer increased immediately. I was recently also in a list of the most eligible bachelors in Finland. There have been many other lists in the past as well. Iíve been also reported dating this and that celebrity woman or tried to search a wife from the Internet. Even if I was crazy Iím pretty sure none of this ever happened. However that is what typical media victim John Smith from Croydon is let to believe. And he comes to a game. If he accidentally meets me one day he can be disappointed that I wasnít actually one of those escaped from the Jerry Springer show.

Show must go on. If even half of the stories in the media were true, every player would have lived a colourful and wild life. When Iím alone in my small flatís eat-in kitchen munching baked beans on Saturday night, I feel I donít know this wild mad man they write about in the magazine.

There is always a price to pay for the life you choose. I guess footballers biggest price is the lost of privacy. Everything from family members to a trip to buy milk is not private property anymore. The spotlight follows players from football to their whole life style. Camera is on all the time. Premiership players live like in a constant Big Brother house.

This is not a reality show or the whole reality though. Most of the times a Crystal Palace player can live anonymous life. However the risk is always there. On the other hand if you play somewhere like Man Utd people want to even know about your views on collecting stamps, they need any new ankle to a player all the time. Media has taken its task to report this. Because it sells. In the end stars like Beckham is been overfed from every channel so much that people think they almost know him. Many English homes are already talking casually how David has done this or that to his hair.

So why am I so crazy? Apparently because I like to write about my views and feelings truthfully with Finnish accent. How crazy is that these days! I mean I could just sit on my arse and do nothing after a training day. So that supposedly makes me different and weird. To what? I donít know but I take that as the biggest compliment ever given to me.

Where is all of this going to end? We are already now peaking to life of the stars, going further and further all the time. Now even us second and third tier players are interesting and some people need desperately to know whether we use salt or vinegar with our fish and chips. Why could that be of any importance to anyone? And how do you answer to that? That I prefer Nandos? I donít know. Well, I donít need to anymore, I can just say Iím crazy.

Or maybe all the stories and roles are true and everything written in the media is gospel truth. In that case you have just read an article written by a crazy, what does that make you then?


Aki


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