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The achievements of Team GB at the Olympics have led to a wave of criticism of footballers. They've been lambasted for being overpaid, arrogant underachievers. But why do some people hate footballers so much?

From Jessica Ennis to Joey Barton: Could a contrast be more ghastly?

"The Olympic spirit we've just rejoiced in makes the return of football's greed, cheating and racism all the more depressing"- Geoffrey Wheatcroft, the Guardian

“We are now obliged to return from the "Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not" of Shakespeare's words invoked at both opening and closing ceremonies to that pandemic and apparently incurable social disease known as Association Football. We return from the loyalty and fair play of our cyclists, rowers and runners to that vast carnival of cheating, brutality and avarice known as the Premier League. We return from one vision of our country, personified by the decency and charm of Brad and Jessica, Laura and Mo, to that other isle, full of the noises made by John Terry, Wayne Rooney and Joey Barton…

AJP Taylor said of this "game of eleven men against eleven" codified in a London pub in 1863 that "By it the mark of England may well remain in the world when the rest of her influence has vanished". Today the "mark of England" sometimes looks like a game owned by crooks and despots and played by racists and rapists…

Few of our grotesquely overpaid and overindulged footballers have any sense of loyalty at all to club, let alone country, whereas the Olympics have burnished anew the tainted name of patriotism. Multiculti lefties can applaud our rainbow team, but surely the crustiest of old colonels must have shed a tear in his pink gin when he heard Farah say how proud he was to put on his Great Britain vest: "Look mate, this is my country."

“You get fantastically talented players, but the desire goes down when they get a big car, a gold and diamond watch”- Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio

“Footballers should be embarrassed and ashamed, absolutely," says football journalist Hunter Davies. "It's not a fair comparison but we are all just so fed up with the amount of money they are paid. It's gross.

"Their behaviour on the whole is so bad, so arrogant, they keep saying that should be respected, that they deserve respect. But they are rubbish, they [the England team] haven't won anything."

…But there are few professions that evoke such loathing as football.

"They get paid extraordinary sums of money and it's the ones that lose touch with reality who are an embarrassment to the sport," says former Scotland international turned pundit Pat Nevin.

"These [Olympic] athletes have no ­problem when they look at themselves in the mirror every morning. They play sport in its ­purest form - for the glory of the game.

"I know for a fact that when our footballers were kids they played the game because they loved it for what it was. They dreamed of scoring goals at Wembley, winning trophies and becoming a hero for thousands. Then, somewhere along the line, the stars in their eyes were replaced by pound signs."- Football manager and former player Ian Holloway.

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From Jessica Ennis to Joey Barton. Could a contrast be more ghastly?


The Premiership footballer hatred vortex