I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Well here they are. The two modern day knights who will lead the line when England take the field against Italy in the buzzing heat of the Amazon jungle. Two young men, one who hails from Liverpool and one who plies his trade in Liverpool. For Liverpool. Wayne and Danny ….. and  Danny and Wayne.

Superstars. Icons. A list celebrities. Redtop fodder.


And last but absolutely not least….

Role models!

This is something we hear a great deal about amidst the wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanies any debate about the realities of Premier League football 2014.

Wayne is probably more in the limelight. He has recently signed a new contract to hitch his wagon to the dark forces of Mordor (Manchester United FC) for the next five years. His remuneration is very much of the eye watering variety. Over the coming 60 months, Wayne will receive £65 million for leading the line for the forces of darkness. Not bad from a lad from the wrong side of the Croxteth tracks, assuming that there is indeed a right side of the tracks to be found in good old Crocky – the gun capital of Greater Merseyside.

How do we feel about this? Not very happy it seems. News of Wayne’s new contract has been met with all the usual comparisons with the take home pay for nurses in A&E and combat infantrymen in Helmand Province.

When it comes to salaries that closely resemble international telephone numbers, it seems that Footballers and bankers tend to generate the maximum levels of outrage. It has always seemed odd to me how film stars, tennis players and the Royal Family get let off so lightly. I have no clue how much the Queen will rake in over the next five years, but I have an inkling that it will be somewhat more than Wayne and Danny. But of course she deserves every penny that we pay her. Well of course she does. She has fought tooth and nail all of her life to reach the top of the pile where such sums are a truly appropriate reward for her absolute wonderfulness.

Let’s compare and contrast. What has Wayne ever done? He was born poor in one of the most deprived corners of Britain where life expectancy will be rather less than three score years and ten. All he managed to do was to maximise his talent as a footballer to go one to reach the pinnacle of his chosen profession. Pathetic when compared to our national treasure of a Queen.



She was born. And being born isn’t all that easy. And…..


And she has held her knife and fork right for the whole of her life and never once has she poured a stream of expletives into a pitch side camera at Upton Park.

So our beloved Majesty deserves absolutely every penny. Of course she does. She offers a perfect example to every one of her subjects. She is the ideal role model for any youngster who is born into a family with billions of pounds worth of inherited wealth and a surname that has a crown to go along with it.

Would the Queen have been held up as such an utterly perfect icon had she like Wayne been born and raised in Crocky? Doubtful. Utterly wonderful though she may be, the Queen has never really shown much evidence that she would have been the kind of gal to drag herself free of the mean streets of Croxteth to become an A list celeb. More likely she would have ended up behind the counter in the local Greggs serving sausage rolls to wannabe gangsters. No doubt she would have been a much loved Nan to a brood of tearaway grandkids. In fact, had the Queen been born into a Crocky family instead of a Royal Family, she would have probably gone on to become a genuinely worthy role model, but of course that fact would have gone entirely unnoticed because nobody cares about worthy grandmothers from Britain’s less favoured areas.

It has been a long, long time since Wayne went unnoticed. Ever since that moment when the sixteen year old Wayne smashed a thirty yarder past a sprawling, grasping David Seaman, his every move has been scrutised. Seldom has he been hailed as a lad who has defied all the odds to make it to the top. Instead he has been slagged off as typical Scouser who really should in prison. How dare he be granted a contract worth £65 million! That sort of money should never be given to the likes of him. What about the nurses and the firemen and the brave boys in Afghanistan……

I wonder why we never get to hear about the poor old nurses and firemen and soldiers when Parliament nods through a multi million pound contract to keep the Royal Family in the style they have become so very accustomed to. In fact, I can’t remember the nurses and firemen and soldiers being brought up when Andy Murray won Wimbledon or when Daniel Craig took to the red carpet to launch the latest Bond movie.  

Daniel Craig attended a comprehensive school in Wset Kirby on the Wirral. A quick glance at Google maps shows that his school was about seven miles or so away from Wayne’s school in West Derby as the crow flies. And yet there never seems to have been any undue pressure loaded onto Daniel Craig to become a perfect role model for the youngsters of Merseyside. For some bizarre reason, if you become a film star, tennis player or Royal and earn a vast fortune, then there is no accompanying role model requirement. But if you make it big on the football pitch you are required to be Mr Perfect in every respect.

It’s ridiculous when you think about it. The perceived wisdom is that footballers are different. Footballers are held in such high esteem by our young people that their every move will be copied and aped. That is why the likes of Nike will pay the likes of Wayne and Danny such fortunes to market their wares. It has become a widely held assumption that young people will sheepishly follow football stars in everything they wear and do. If Wayne is photographed modelling a bright pink hooded top, then millions of uber-gullible youngsters will follow suit.

Will they?

I wonder. Our boy Danny has become something of a star over recent months. He is now a shoe-in for the World Cup and he is knocking in goals for fun in front of the Kop. Surely here is the kind of lad who the tabloid press will demand to become a role model for all reprobate youngsters. The assumption is that if Danny proves to be model citizen like the Queen, then lots and lots of young Scousers will stop carrying knives and taking drugs and robbing shops.

Over the last few months Danny has been much questioned by the media. Why is everything suddenly going so well Danny! What is your secret Danny! And Danny has consistently answered these questions with great directness and clarity.

Danny has told us that his success in front of goal is all down to God. Danny is very big on God and he never misses a chance to praise his Lord and maker.

If we are to buy into the tabloids' role model agenda, then there must have been a huge upsurge in young Scouse lads and lasses piling into their local churches to catch the Sunday service. The average age of Liverpool congregations must have fallen from seventy to twenty. Numbers choosing to take a Religious Studies GCSE must have double and trebled…

Well maybe there has been a like in youthful religious fervour across the churches of Greater Merseyside as Danny’s dancing feet have lit up Anfield. But I doubt it. And I haven’t noticed much of a redtop media campaign to demand Danny should be knighted for his efforts to persuade British youth to embrace the light of the Lord. Does this surprise anyone? I doubt it. All this role model stuff is just a part of the  spiteful media agenda against the poor. When poor lads from the wrong side of the tracks manage to make good, we sneer and scoff. Such lads shouldn’t be allowed to get rich. How dare they? That kind of money should only be paid to lads from public schools and Royalty.

That said, it is still hard not to be thoroughly disgusted at the ludicrous amounts our clubs are paying their players. I don’t know how much an Old Trafford season costs, but I guess it will be similar to what we pay at Anfield: about £800. Basically it will require the cash from 20,000 season tickets to pay Wayne his salary each year. It goes without saying that coming up with £800 to buy a season ticket is not an easy thing to do in these tough economic times. I hate to think how many divorces will have been caused among the 20,000 disciples of Mordor as a result of £800 being spent to go the match. I remember seeing an article way back when in the late 70’s comparing the salaries earned in different professions. I cannot remember the exact details, but Mick Martin who was the captain of United at the time was earning £42,000 a year which was about three times as much as a copper or a nurse. Now Wayne earns 500 times more than a copper or a nurse.

Which of course is ludicrous.
But it is hardly his fault. Has Wayne made the right decision in signing over the rest of his career to the dark forces of Mordor in exchange for £65 million? Probably not. Already he will have more cash stowed away than he will ever be able to spend. I expect he has taken some time to think about the rest of his life and what he wants it to look like. He has been guided by the fact that he will in all probability beat Bobby Charlton’s record and go on to be the highest ever goal scorer for Mordor.

Well that is all fine and dandy. But you had the opportunity to hit the ball out of the park Wayne and you have completely missed it.

Wayne has never hidden the fact that he is still and will always be an Evertonian. His whole family is Evertonian. So here’s what you could have done Wayne. You could have said that you would see out the last 18 months of your contract with Mordor. Then you could have moved back down the East Lance Rd to Goodison on a free transfer and accepted a contract from Everton at the same rate as the lads graduating from the Academy. The message could have been clear. I’ve got more money that I will ever be able to spend. Now I wo0uld like to finish my career as captain of my boyhood club and become a living legend in the city of my birth.

Now that would have been classy Wayne. Really, really classy and the rest of you life would be so much the better for it. Instead you have sold your soul for the gold of Mordor and you will end you playing days in that ghastly corporate mausoleum that was once upon a time a football stadium.

Bad call Wayne. 

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