GOING UP: Fernando Forestieri
IT is not often ViewFromTheJohnStreet.com strays into the dark side of Sheffield but credit where credit is due.
Fernando Forestieri lived up to the pampered footballer stereotype, refusing to sign autographs for starstruck Sheffield Wednesday fans because the task was becoming tiresome, during the club’s Owls in the Park Fun Day. The 28-year-old had had fitness issues but this is taking it to a new level.
Not withstanding that many of those he disappointed were impressionable children, the lifeblood of any football club. And, of course, many who spend their hard-earned cash watching them week-in, week-out. A good number travelling thousands of monotonous miles in all weathers following their team around the country.
Understandably the Wednesday striker’s show of selfishness on a day specifically designed to foster good club-fan relations disappointed those who were snubbed. It infuriated others.
So top marks to Forestieri for taking time to go a long way to making amends and leaving a more favourable impression that one nine-year-old will never forget.
Ethan Brocklehurst-Adams left the event in tears after his autograph requests were turned down at the fourth time of asking. This having queued for more than two hours to see his idols.
Ethan’s dismayed father let his anger be known to Forestieri via Twitter. Two days later there was a knock at the door of their home in Hellaby, Rotherham. It was the repentant Argentine who asked for a cup of tea and then settled down to watch Croatia beat Denmark with Ethan in the family’s living room.
A great recovering gesture and hopefully a lesson learned. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
TOP MARKS: Gareth Southgate
GARETH SOUTHGATE’S appointment to manage England in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s controversial 67 days in charge, underwhelmed the nation as he signed a four-year contract at the end of November.
Six months later and the former Middlesbrough and England Under-21 boss, who initially stepped up as caretaker following the Allardyce pantomime, is a national hero having guided his team to the World Cup semi-finals.
Man management skills kept largely under wraps before the tournament began are now plain for everyone to see at Russia 2018. Attention to detail and a discipline which has united previously fractious England squads, underpinned by treating his players like adults. The latter a risky strategy but well judged and paying huge dividends.
He wins this website’s applause, however, not for that or his decision to let Fabian Delph return to his West Yorkshire home to witness the birth of his third child. Nor for boosting the British economy by increasing the sale of waistcoats. But for welcoming the Manchester City midfield man Delph back to the squad with open arms and playing him from the bench in the 2-0 quarter-final win against Sweden.
Delph’s departure meant he was unavailable for England’s meeting with Colombia, their first knockout match of the tournament “Some things in life are more important than football. His focus needs to be with his family at this time,” said Southgate. “It's a bit of perspective in life. Everybody says you only get one chance to be in a World Cup but also there's only one day in your life where your children are born.”
How far have we come? Contrast that with former Sheffield Wednesday boss Trevor Francis when in charge of Queen's Park Rangers fined Martin Allen two weeks' ages for missing a top flight match at Newcastle in 1998 to attend the birth of his first child.
BIGGEST FALL: Brian Deane
BRIAN DEANE occupies a warm place in the heart of every Sheffield United fan and so he should.
The striker scored 94 league goals for the Blades. Including, of course, the first ever in the newly created Premier League. He was on target again from the penalty spot to secure a 2-1 win over Manchester United at Bramall Lane in August 1992.
Now 50-years-old, a well respected figure inside and outside of the game and a genuinely all-round nice guy, it is therefore hard to understand how Deano reacted when England won their first World Cup penalty shoot-out to beat Colombia and advance into the quarter-finals.
It was a joyful moment for the nation and was met by an outpouring of celebration, goodwill and pride. It also prompted Deane, who has three England caps, to tweet: “Put the wifebeater vests in the wardrobe and keep the stella in the fridge we’re still in it everyone (emoji of a taught arm muscle).”
Brought to book by those shocked, disgusted or just a little surprised among his 30,000 followers, Deane replied: “If I can't make a joke at a time about a vest and beer at a time like this with no harm meant on here in these circumstances then my time on here is done, if you had to laugh off some things I've had to over the years well."
That of course is the point. Presumably Deane was referring to racial slurs he has had to deal with during his lifetime. If so he shouldn’t have been subjected to a climate where he felt he had no option but to laugh it off. Hopefully we have moved on a little. Neither should women in abusive relationships because ‘one of the lads’ wants to joke about something that is just as abhorrent as racism.
A recent study demonstrated that violence against women in Lancashire increased by 38 per cent after an England defeat and 26 per cent following a draw over the last four World Cup tournaments. The highest recorded numbers always after England exited the tournament. Something that is clearly beyond laugh-a-minute Deano’s comprehension.
Worryingly, his banal comment had attracted 83 likes when I first saw it minutes after the final whistle. Oh how they laughed. Despite his own defiant defence of the wife-beating remark in which he referred to 'vest' but omitted the offending 'wifebeater', his original tweet was rapidly removed. I wonder why?