Do hard upbringings make footballers more hungry, and maybe fighting for every penny_

A new fashion seems to be developing. by Dan Smith

More and more young players, and not only from Arsenal, are giving candid interviews going into details about troubled childhoods. At a time when transfer fees and wages are substantial, these stories give an alternative viewpoint. We often label footballers being motivated by greed, not being able to relate to the day to day worries the average person in the street faces.

While I wouldn’t wish poverty on anyone, accounts from the likes of Lukaku and Sterling should inspire youngsters around the world. Futures that could have turned out differently were saved by natural talent. Families becoming rich due to their sons chasing their dreams. The have the day to day struggle and suddenly there is light at the end of the tunnel.

When you hear accounts of having to drink the same warm milk from the day before, of having to share a bed with your brothers, of growing up in estates where gang culture is rife, can you blame that individual for fighting for every last penny. Growing up in that environment stays with you, every contract discussion those are the things that play out in your head. If you been born into such an environment it be difficult not to become ruthless/even selfish, with a desire to earn as much as possible to support your loved ones.

Some will feel how does a Man United or Man City star pouring their hearts out affect Arsenal. The reality is, more of these experiences should be shared with world. There will currently be gooners who can relate to this hardship, who can use this to have hope to cling on to. Parents who battle daily to buy football boots and get their kids to training could be inspired that they might get their reward one day. The law of averages would suggest that there will be players in the current Arsenal squad with similar tales.

The more that can be shared the better for the game.

Dan Smith


  1. LUCKYVILLE says:

    How can I fast forward time to August 11th when the season is gonna start, any idea? Cux weekends seems boring to me without the EPL and my Arsenal, I mean the new Arsenal fc.

  2. Eddie Hoyte says:

    I love the post, I can relate to it in every way and I pray it gets better. Even Gabriel Jesus went thru the same thing… Life gets better eventually. Just stay strong wherever you are and chase what you believe.

    1. Sean says:

      2014 painting the streets of Brazil in his bare feet (pictures of him online) at the World Cup. Then now this year, 4 years later he is in the verge of becoming a fantastic player already at a big club in Europe & starting for his home nation in Russia for 2018 World Cup.

      Gabriel Jesus

      What a story!

  3. Ken1945 says:

    Excellent article, just thinking about Wayne Rooney and Gasgoine (wrong spelling) and even our own Ian Wright.
    Inspirational characters in my opinion.

  4. Malch95 says:

    Off Topic: Well Mesut Ozil got exposed tonight are we all in agreement that he needs to be shipped to China yet? Or does Lowe have to send him on a plane to prove he’s not worth 350k a week?

    1. gotanidea says:

      It would be difficult to sell him, because he is gonna be 30 this year, on 350K per week and no big clubs wanted him last season

    2. Mobella says:

      No he wasn’t and he almost lost them the match from the bench until Kroos rose up and made sure that didn’t happen with that sumptuous free kick.

      1. Victoria Concordia Crescit says:

        TBH, Ozil wouldn’t have made any positive impact on the game last night .

    3. AY75 says:

      Yep….. I bet he’d get the flak if Germany had lost, even without him stepping on the pitch. Even though, I agree Özil could give much better than his recent performances, fans tend to dump the blame an entire underperforming team deserves upon him, he’s always being made the scape goat…. you all fail to acknowledge that other than scoring the freekick, he didn’t contribute much to the team. And in fact, he lost possession in the build up to Sweden’s goal, like I was told he did in the game before (I didn’t watch that one). It’s best you guys observe, then pass unbiased judgements on players, than just jump on the bandwagon and make one of them the fall guy

  5. gotanidea says:

    Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car cover by Vertical Horizon might be good to listen to, while reading this article:

  6. Well if Ozil gets dropped by Unai Emery as well we will have 350K of wages going to waste every week.

  7. Boliviangunner says:

    Please, ozil needs to go! Mathaus said it recently. I did six months ago. No heart, no passion, no joy. Hes not playing for Germany anymore in this world cup. Now you see why he was sold to to us from RM. If we tried to sign any RM players now, they would laugh at us in our face!. They would say -sorry, but we dont have anymore world class players who have the attitude of a 10-year-old spoiled kid. So, keep looking!

    1. nassan says:

      Stop being delusional, typical arsenal fans who cant analyse football matters at hand

    2. Mobella says:

      Tell me what did German did last night that they didn’t do against Mexico? This is just show how winning can change opinion. Kroos was one of there poor players against Mexico and he wasn’t at his best last night before he scored that wonderful free kick. To suggest they won because Ozil wasn’t on the pitch is nonsense. And how do people know he is on 350k a week cos I have read he is 210k, 250k, 300k.

      1. Phil says:

        Let’s forget about his salary.The question should be How much is Mesut Ozil worth to Arsenal?Just ask his teammates his value and I guarantee EVERY SINGLE PLAYER would want Ozil in the team.
        The problem is Wenger just could not get the best out of the player due to the system we played and the position Ozil had in the team.
        Against Athletico Madrid at the Emirates Ozil was asked to perform from coming off wide right.Really Wenger?Our best player?Wide right?And it’s the player himself who gets the criticism?
        Set the team up with a CDM and Ozil in a free role.Do not ask him to do anything defensively other than to cover space.He needs to concentrate his effort on finding the space to work in when going forward.He has Abuamayang and Mykitarian this season who will BOTH give him options to work with that he has never had before at the club.There is NO comparisons.Giroud(static and one dimensional) compared to Abuamayang(all pace and movement).Walcott/Iwobi(one gone and the other hopefully will follow him out the door)compared to Mykitarian(good pace and movement as well as adding creativity and finishing to his game).
        Ozil more than anyone NEEDS a CDM to prevent him having to do more than basic defensive work.Its not his game and it’s not what we need him to do.
        When will some of these fans realise that we have a WORLD CLASS TALENT in Ozil?He is a creative Genius when given the system to work in and the players around him to work with.
        If you would rather have a No10 who will run himself into the ground and get in tackles and track back then we already have that player in Alex Iwobi.And you SERIOUSLY believe that is what you want?You can’t have it both ways.Its one or the other.

        1. jon fox says:

          What you say is true BUT it cannot be denied that Ozil is lazy. I anticipate the new manager using him properly along the lines you say. But for the huge wage he earns he must now start showing CONSISTENT effectivemess. If he does, then great. But should he not, even with the new set up he SHOULD now thrive in, then this season coming will be his last here.

          1. Phil says:

            JF-I just cannot accept the player is lazy.He has stats that suggest he does put in a shift but I do accept that we need more end product from him.If he is given the ammunition by Emery he simply must make it happen.That is his job and he is solely responsible for his performances.

  8. Reyesorarsenal says:

    Coyg arsenal
    All I gotta say is a team without pace on d flank is dead.
    If arsenal doesn’t sign fast skillful wingers this summer, we gonna look like the Germany we saw against Mexico all season

    1. nassan says:

      You said what i was about to say

      1. Reyesorarsenal says:

        It’s pathetic man… Watching Arsenal last season.. No life whatsoever on the wings and besides… I have been watching lozano
        He was cool last night too… Exactly the kinda player we could use as a winger…am sure 35million would get him
        Better still if arsenal is prepared to play the waiting game I heard psg has to sell to balance books and sign mbappe if not manu or city could snatch him

  9. Mobella says:

    A good article by the way. Ask any footballer from Africa they will tell you they had gone through situation far worse than that. Sharing the same bed with your brother, so many of African footballers don’t even have bed to sleep on until they found their way to European clubs. They were sleeping on mats even at there camp before any football tournament growing up.They won’t see anything wrong in taking warm milk of a week before let alone that of yesterday because it is better than having non at all. I know these because I’m African and i went through these in the my life as a footballer. Any body who is going through this life struggle in European countries, US or canal irrespective of their nationalities to be grateful to God first and their governments second. Though it should be better but it can be far worse.

  10. Sue says:

    Watched that Ian Wright programme on his upbringing…it made me cry. Especially when he thought the teacher who helped him had died… but he turned up at a football ground to see him….
    If ever you’re glad that someone made it as a footballer, it has to be Wrighty! ??? ?

    1. Phil says:

      Yeah and you saw that in every single performance.That was a player who recognised how fortunate he was and never let himself forget it even to this very day

    2. jon fox says:

      Wrighty is the type of man who brightens up every room he walks into. Charisma supreme. I will never hear a word said against him and just wish he were still 25 and playing for us again. BTW, Sue, I cried watching it too.

      1. Sue says:

        ??? he’s a true Arsenal Legend ?

  11. Jeremy says:

    Maybe it’s only partially true. There are some whom got more greedy than for their own good. End of the day, it’s always down to themselves.

  12. Ozziegunner says:

    Unfortunately you never hear of the many thousands who dedicate their lives to a career in professional sport to the neglect of everything else and fail to make the grade. It would be more helpful to the majority if they had the opportunity to get a good education; but in many societies this is extremely difficult to access.

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