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- The Secret Footballer: horrific initiation ceremonies were common.
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Log in. Flag comment Cancel. Delete Comment Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Cancel Delete comment. Deleting comment This comment has been deleted. It also seems the best are only too aware of their worth. At the risk of sounding like an embittered old pro, it wasn't always like this. When I started playing, the youth-team players routinely fell prey to the senior pros looking to point-score among their peers. Many would call it "character building".
Many in the football industry, that is. Anyone else would call it bullying. Early in my career I witnessed initiation ceremonies in which the subject was stripped naked and doused with expandable foam from a fire extinguisher or covered head to toe in boot polish before having to run around the training pitch.
To illustrate how life has changed, if first-team players tried to do the same thing today, the youngster in question would probably have to remove his diamond earrings and Rolex beforehand. I'm not advocating a return to those antics of the past but, in my opinion, it wouldn't do any harm to bring back a few things.
A couple of years ago, Frank Lampard complained: "The lads are forgetting the hard work that needs to be done to earn this sort of lifestyle.
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Not enough of them have the same dedication and it's something I feel very strongly about. They think they have made it already. Years ago, kids were caught in the headlights around first-team players. They looked up to them and, by and large, respected what they had achieved to "make it". But today that relationship has changed. There is a degree of arrogance among an increasing number of youngsters, which could be argued is indicative of society in general, although it seems strange in many respects when it comes to football, because the chances of making it have never been slimmer.
Research shows that five out of every six scholars will not be playing football by the age of Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the PFA, went so far as to say: "If it was a university of football, with our success rate, we'd have been closed down by now.
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