Idiot Footballers #1: Victor Anichebe

Most footballers are decent people. Some give generously to charity, often without any publicity, some have charitable foundations that do great work both in local communities and overseas. Some are just generous with their time with fans, media and people on the street. Even some players who act like total morons on the pitch are actually nice guys off it.

However, some footballers are complete idiots. As Joey Barton, in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, said “Most footballers are knobs”. They are arrogant egotists who believe that just because they were given the talents to succeed and make huge amounts of money playing a game that millions of people play for fun, they are somehow a cut above everybody else and the normal social rules of treating others with basic decency and respect don’t apply to them.

Players who are so far detached from reality that they cannot see just what a privileged and precarious position they have, being adored by tens of thousands. They are the players, who are already on obscene amounts of money and then complain they are not being paid enough, while people are losing their jobs and homes in the recession.

So I’d like to start a series dedicated to some of the more idiotic members of the footballing fraternity. I meant to kick this series off with the delightful Antonio Cassano, whose contact was terminated by Sampdoria after he was heard by fans telling club owner Riccardo Garrone that he wouldn’t turn up at “that shithouse of a hotel... for that asshole of a prize”. The prize in question was an award from a Sampdoria supporters club.
That was a few weeks ago and I forgot to write about it, so I’d like to officially start the series with Everton’s Victor Anichebe.

You’d be forgiven if you have no idea of who Anichebe is. Anichebe is a 22-year-old fringe player for Everton. He has come through the ranks at Everton. He is a quick, strong player that made his debut as a 17-year-old in the FA Cup and has been around the Everton first team ever since.

He is usually a striker, although David Moyes has often played him on the wing. His best goal return in any season is 5, from 40 games in the 2007-8 season, though most of those came in Europe. In his career so far, he has only managed more than one goal in a Premier League season once.

Anichebe has suffered bad injuries in his career that have held him back, limiting him to twelve appearances in the past two years. He was the victim of a really bad tackle by Kevin Nolan that left him out injured for a year. He picked up another injury that shut him down for the season soon after coming back.

Everton have stuck by Anichebe through his injuries and with his contact running out at the end of this season; have seen enough potential in him to offer him a reported contract of £30,000 a week, a huge increase in wages. Given the fact that the club has stuck by him through injuries and indifferent form, you’d think Anichebe would’ve jumped at the chance to sign.

Apparently Anichebe has refused to sign and has told Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright that he has no intention of signing either. This has left the Everton hierarchy furious and they will not improve what they believe to be a very generous offer and nor should they.

This is yet another example of a footballer believing they are entitled to the big money without having done anything to earn it. He seems to think he has arrived in the big-time, when in reality if Everton had deeper pockets or more striking options, he’d probably have been booted out of the door a long time ago.

He is a 22-year-old who seems to think that earning £1.6m a year is not enough and it is insulting that this is all Everton have offered.

Most of the Goodison Park crowd will earn less than £30k a year so for a mediocre-at-best player to reject that kind of money a week is downright insulting. Also, it is appalling to treat a club who have invested so much time, effort and money in you, without the club having seen much in the way of a return in terms of performances on the pitch.

As one radio commentator put it today, “Anichebe is barely worth £30k a year so for him to reject such a big contract is nothing short of a disgrace”

Hopefully Everton have learnt their lesson from last season where young player Dan Gosling rejected a terms but was inexplicably never offered a written contract. This meant that Gosling could sign for a club without them having to pay Everton the compensation a written deal would have entitled them to. Everton would similarly be entitled to compensation should Anichebe leave at the end of the season.

Everton have succeeded the past few seasons by having a solid team that work extremely hard for each other and put the maximum effort in each game. The squad seems to buy into the team-first ethos that David Moyes has instilled.

What Everton do not need is an arrogant upstart of a reserve player with an overinflated view of himself, who will struggle to earn anywhere near as much as the terms that Everton have offered him.

If, as expected Anichebe does go at the end of the season, I doubt he’ll be missed.