IN these recent times I think, unfortunately, there has been more negatives about our game than positives.

Obviously, we all miss watching, whether it’s at the ground or on TV. The German games were interesting but, to be fair, they didn’t impress too many people.

But, off the field, the publicity football has had in our county isn’t good for the game.

I think this because two or three players, who for some silly reason, have broadcast what they were up to.

One, unbelievably, was seen with a balloon in his mouth which, apparently, is full of a type of gas or air that gives you a high.

I wouldn’t care if it was for a laugh but, apparently, he had been found guilty of doing the same thing previously.

So how thick can he be to not only take it again but to also broadcast it?

That’s what I can’t understand but maybe that’s because I’m at an age that doesn’t understand social media.

A couple of others have also been seen flouting the rules.

They haven’t been damaging their bodies, but they are making themselves look smarter by having their hair cut.

Normally that’s fine, but in these times, it means that the barber has had to visit them which, of course, is breaking the rules.

They aren’t just breaking rules set by their football clubs, who won’t want any players to have contact with outsiders but also the Government’s rules.

I’m sure the managers will be coming down as heavily as they can on these individuals, remembering in the last week or so that six players and staff at three Premier League clubs have been diagnosed with the virus.


I SUPPOSE television has been watched more often than normal in recent months and whilst we can’t see a football match, we’ve had footballers on for three nights this week.

It was a programme that was a repeat of last year’s get-together of ex-England internationals under the management of Harry Redknapp.

Harry’s Heroes is the title and last year a team of German oldies came over and England won that game, so all of Harry’s players, bearing in mind most of them are in their 50’s, were not really expecting to do well in the return game!

But the programme was more of a laugh than a World Cup fixture.

It followed the team on a magnificent bus through France and Italy and they stopped off on the first two nights and had a form of training, having all been weighed by the medical man - and I think everyone was just a bit heavier than last year but there’s a surprise!

I was settling down in the evening to watch the first show when the announcer said there would be scenes of nudity in this game and I thought the camera would maybe film inside the dressing room.

Oh no! It turned out a game had been organised with, would you believe, a team of nude gentlemen who play every week like that.

Even thinking about it now, it makes me laugh and I think I could make some comments but I’m certain the editor would cut them out – although I’m sure everyone watching had their eyes peeled!

The second evening was in a different country and showed an amazing type of football that included wrestling, punching and rolling around in the mud.

I couldn’t believe some of Harry’s men took part in both games, but I guess that goes with the programme.

When they got to Germany, two or three of the original squad were unable to take part and new recruits, such as Michael Owen, were flown in to help.

On the night, Harry came out with another 1-0 win, but I can’t see this taking place again next year, certainly not with the same legends but well done for the result.

The main thing that came out for me was a private talk between Paul Merson and Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock.

Ruddock, of course, is known for being massively overweight and he admitted he drinks an average of 35 pints a week.

Paul Merson had a bit of a fall out with him and stormed out but eventually came back, with the pair then hugging each other.

Merson, in last year’s programme, had the same situation and admitted to two addictions: alcoholism and gambling.

Since then, he’s turned his life around and was trying to help ‘Razor’ Ruddock, as he’s called.

Ruddock accepted this and admitted he had a heart problem, so his wife turned up and took him home.

Before the game with Germany, he sent a message to offer his best wishes and to tell them he’d just had a pacemaker fitted.

If he does turn up anywhere on TV in the future, I hope he has taken Merson’s advice on board.

Another player, not as well-known as the others, was Lee Hendrie.

He revealed that he has gone through depression since retiring and at one stage collected plenty of tablets to take all in one go so he could end his life.

Hopefully, by going public with this, the help will be there to get him back in the same way Paul Merson was able to recover.

Whilst the programme was entertaining and different, I would have been interested if each player could have been asked what they were up to now and how they’ve got on since leaving the game.

I have always said that in my day, even with the biggest names in the game, there wasn’t one player who didn’t have to get a job after hanging their boots up.

As the players admitted on the show, coming away from 20 years in the limelight and still at a young age, especially when the wages weren’t as high as they are now, isn’t easy.

That is where the PFA steps in. Gordon Taylor, their leader, is regularly under fire, but I have to defend him as I know for a fact that they’ve helped a lot of players quietly.

But it appears there are many more who are probably in their 50’s who don’t come out publicly with their problems.

Players now are in a completely different world, especially in the Premier League, and have the chance to finish their careers as millionaires.

But, on the other hand, is that necessarily a good thing if they don’t have to look for jobs?

I think a good TV show would be to interview those from the past and present to make comparisons to see how they’ve fared.