In an age where technology seems to take precedent over sport for youngsters, the talent pool is slowly but surely becoming smaller.
Dreams are aplenty for anyone growing up in modern times, but for anyone born in less prosperous times there was only one answer to the question of what you would like to be when you grow up. The answer was: A footballer!
Pubs across the country are littered with the hard luck stories of what could have been. For one reason or another the dream changing from realistic possibility to pipe dream is something you grow to accept.
However I think for so many, including myself who came close but never quite made it, there is one thing that frustrates more than anything – Watching someone abuse the privilege.
To see someone like Nile Ranger do his level best to throw away the opportunity many would give anything to have is quite simply unforgivable. Over the past few months he has eradicated any patience, understanding or respect I had left for him.
People can say he`s young, or that he comes from a troubled childhood and poor upbringing. They are no more than empty excuses to me given that even the bluntest of tools in the box have enough sense to know where being a professional footballer ranks in terms of things to do with your life.
Fact is a large percentage of professional footballers come from impoverished backgrounds. In my opinion, if you do it should only make you appreciate it more and not take a second of it for granted.
Growing up Ranger got himself involve in gangs. Fair enough he was very young, peer pressure, wanting to fit in, everything that comes with bad choices as a youngster can serve to justify.
He comes from a dysfunctional family. It can be hard but he is far from alone in the scenario. It is nearly more common than the traditional nuclear family in the past twenty years.
Lack of, or poor, education can be said to contribute too. We have all made mistakes. Some don`t dedicate themselves or show interest in school. Again, not a rare thing or something that should not be deemed a valid excuse to justify some of the things he says or does.
I could go on. Given the lads potential I have searched high and low for reasons as to why he may act the way he does and to be honest I`m stumped. Nothing justifies his actions or attitude for me.
Despite all the problems he had in his past or carried with him he has still been given chance after chance to put it behind him and literally live the dream, yet he continues to show no appreciation for it, nor does he demonstrate any remorse or responsibility for his actions whatsoever.
The catchphrase of “Gangster 1st, Footballer 2nd” can be laughed off as a sarcastic or flippant comment normally but in this case I am actually beginning to believe this is a motto he lives by. He seems to have much more interest in the bad boy reputation than progressing his career and shows no signs of changing any time soon.
We have had too many players in recent years who have bad reputations and cause nothing but headaches for the club. We have done very well to rid ourselves of most, if not all but one. I personally think it is time to finish the job and get rid.
The latest two arrests are the straw that broke the camels back for me. Being arrested on suspicion of assault is bad enough, but to be stupid enough to then get arrested for drink driving within weeks of it happening is a level of stupidity I can`t even begin to comprehend.
The assault in question was not a simple disagreement which got a bit heated and a punch thrown either. A man was left unconscious with a broken jaw after a sizeable row in a local venue, said at the time to be instigated by Nile, although that much is word around the campfire, not confirmed.
The drink driving sets the bar for idiocy. It should not be done under any circumstances, something I personally hate, but if you had any sense at all the last thing you would do is go driving about in one of the most identifiable vehicles in Newcastle. A giant black and white striped Range Rover with your name on the front in big letters.
My patience is gone with the lad. Maybe I am missing something, but he seems to be an idiot of the highest calibre and has abused the privileged position he finds himself in one too many times. The only way he will learn as far as I can see is either a stint inside or for it all to be taken away from him permanently.
Pardew has never seemed to like his attitude and going off recent comments has pretty much admitted the club have done all they can to try and get him to see sense. If he wants to be gangster first let him be, but in choosing that realize that the opportunity to be a professional footballer is not something that comes second.
How do other people feel about him? Is potential enough of a reason to keep giving him a chance?