Wednesday 25 April 2012

Communicator of the Week

The image of a modern day footballer is far removed from the working class heroes of old. Lavish lifestyles, overt shows of wealth, excessive indulgence and behaviour that ranges from the childish to criminal saps the energy of many football fans.
Football is a global business but is run all too often like the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard. Little is done to manage the reputation of the sport as a whole in its relentless pursuit of global domination. On the micro level, foreign talent and money arrives into British football often with little care for the traditions of our great clubs, many being the heart and soul of former industrial cities.

Which is where our award winner this week comes in. Papiss Cisse arrived at Newcastle United in the January transfer window via German football and the Newcastle number 9 has made an instant impact. 10 goals in 8 starts for Newcastle and the Toon have a new folk hero it seems.

This column doesn't award a footballer of the month trophy and it is beyond his performances on the pitch where he is making an equally strong positive impression.

Cisse has undertaken a PR blitz which should be noted by the wider footballing family. Last week he popped into a local barbers shop to pay a few pounds for a haircut. Waiting his turn rather than forcing his way to the front of the line as perhaps some of his peers might have done, he was mobbed as he left the shop by 200 fans who became aware of his presence.

This has been followed up by carefully placed stories about Cisse's poverty stricken upbringing and the fact his earnings now supports a 70 strong family back home in Senegal.

Cisse has housed them, paid food and utility bills and helped out relatives who have become ill.
Perhaps best of all he has shown an appreciation for what it means to wear the number 9 shirt for Newcastle FC. In all his interviews he demonstrates an understanding of what football means to people in that part of the world.

If only all footballers were like Papiss Cisse. This is why he is my Communicator of the Week.

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