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The repution

Possible rape, possible doping scandal, boozing, un-sporty behaviour at top game, threat of violence… Very topical issues at the moment. People ask me why don’t I write about them? It is true that I was struggling with subjects and these would make a story easily. It is not the actual game that has been the most interesting subject lately. The name of football has been painted with ugly colours, the colours that reporters love.

Tabloid papers have been laughing, they have had more than enough material for back and front page. Serious matters are delicious news potential. Obviously papers try to milk them through. It is their job. And there seem to be no wrong way for them to do it either. They want to make it look as bad as possible. No mercy for people, no need to be informative, main thing is that it is selling enough. If someone might have done something wrong lets make money out of his misery.

So I should have an easy job. Just join these people nailing the footballers already deeply haunted in the media. There is always room for another story, after all people love reading bad things about others. I don’t, especially about my collegues. I always feel that it is partly touching me when the name of football has been ashamed, because after all I am in the same water with the rest of the footballers. I don’t like to read about it and I definitely don’t want to write about it. It would be like pissing into my own tent. I want to talk about football, not about scandals. My inspiration to write is the actual game.

And what would even give me the right to judge other people, to gossip or even write about other teams and players. I don’t think I have any. Although I might know a lot of inside information about some matters I would never be tempted to write any of it. It is not that I want to try to hide something or be always on footballers’ side. Of course bad things should be brought up light and discussed. But it is not my job. I am a footballer, I am eating the same bread than my collegues and I have no desire or hidden agenda to make them look bad. I might have an opinion but I have no need to make my opinion public.

I strictly believe I have no right to talk any issue concerning other players, especially when there is any controversy involved. I would even go so far that I really never want to mention anyone in good way either. It just feels like violating the unwritten rule of not letting anything out from footballers world and discussing others business.

Some papers have different way to look at it and write about it. There seem to be no rules, no shame and unfortunately no need to have enough facts to write even harsh claims. I have experienced that especially football reporters, sometimes like merciless hyenas try to catch us players. I often feel that no matter what I answer the story is already written. Yes could be made to look like “no” if the words said are bit fixed. I think that sometimes a journalist just tries to find vague legal justification for his story by asking some questions along the line of his idea of it. The rest could be always added up later.

There is often some truth behind every story but also some fairytale to colour it up. And if sometimes an innocent has to suffer through wrong conclusions or fixed information, the bad reputation is just an unlucky disadvantage of a highly paid job. Not often these faceless journalists actually need to meet these people behind the headlines anyway.

Obviously it would be wrong to involve every reporter into this category but unfortunately many decent ones are suffering from the bad reputation made by the headline hunters. One thing is for sure that every reporter love asking about other players. It is not the game it is the names that sell and make headlines. And what would be a better start to a story than a player naming another.

I was just a blond and blue-eyed foreigner, who was looking world and football naively. I was often tricked by reporters when I arrived to this country. They were professionally good enough to make me believe that they were into football and willing to make good stories with proper information. I was wrong. I even felt that sometimes papers thought that lets test this foreigner, how much we can write about him. So far I have for example read that I am about to open a kebab restaurant in Finland and that I have advertised at the Internet to find a wife, and God knows what else have been written somewhere in there. My team mates have had many laughs at the dressing room reading these weird stories about me. And No, most of the stories are not even remotely true.

I have had to change. No more long discussions about life and football, no more colourful stories. I have unfortunately turned into this cynical, calculating player who hates to give an interview or actually even answer any simple question properly. So it has been “I just take one game at time and try to do my best for the club”. Boring! But that is what English journalism makes you. People say footballers are stupid and can hardly speak anything else than ready learned clishes. I say it is the moral of journalists that has made it so. It seems like speaking your heart have only disadvantages. And that is sad, because people are missing lot of good things.

The rule is that respect the opponent, the score and the game. So no comments about other players unless you can make it positive. Never emphasis individuals in front of the team. Never comment about political, legal or social issues you are not sure off. Never mention anyone’s name or pinpoint a team or a player. Never gossip, never judge, never try to solve things, always answer in common level.

It is boring. This story is boring, the whole man is actually quite boring. Maybe so, but at least I can face my collegues and myself. At the end of the day the headlines will be there anyway. I actually feel that in England there has to be too many stories written about too few subjects. There is not enough fresh subjects, interesting stories or facts behind them. And still in England the love for the tabloid papers and stories even remotely related to football is essential part of everyday life. It is football that sells, no matter what is written, or how. And again here is another story in English paper about actually nothing at all.

I do recommend:
1. Helmiä ja Sikoja -elokuva
- Brilliant Finnish entertainment, real feel good -movie -
2. Superman by Five for fighting
- Sometimes it is not easy to be anyone -

I do not recommend:
1. Asking or answering questions conserning other players
- you will be most likely quoted wrong -
2. Making up stories to sell papers
- it just kills the interesting world of sports -

- You only get what you give -
Aki, New Radicals

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