Short answer: Er, not a lot really. I mean that footballers earn a lot of money, drive big cars and are thus pursued by hordes of gold-digging women is hardly the stuff of revelation.
Nevertheless BBC3 and its presenter, Amal Fashanu – daughter of ex-Wimbledon and England footballer John Fashanu were on a mission – but to do what exactly? Discredit, yes. But who exactly? I’m not sure the programme makers even knew themselves.
Fashanu’s father had left her mother for another woman in the distant past - an event which the presenter claimed had traumatised her throughout her life. From what I could gather she seemed to be laying the blame for this cataclysmic event entirely at the door of football. So, football was in the dock.
It was a pretty shaky premise. I mean it’s not as if marriages don’t break up in the real world, outside of football do they? That her father might have simply fallen out of love with one woman and in love with another seemingly never occurred to the presenter.
Marriage breakdowns happen in all walks of life and for a myriad of reasons – at least I think they do.
It was a curiously confused narrative which ran something along the following lines: Footballers are male; footballers are rich; Money makes men attractive; Women are attracted to money. If anything this documentary exposed much more about the female psyche than it did the male, albeit inadvertently.
In Bolton, Fashanu caught up with a kiss and tell girl who’d had a fling with a famous footballer. Now the lady in question would, I’m sure, have been the first to admit that intellectual heavyweight she ain’t, but she sure spoke a whole lot of sense.
Her contention that WAGs are motivated by pecuniary interests and this explains their willingness to forgive n’ forget the sexual transgressions of their husbands had more than a grain of truth in it. “They wouldn’t take him back if he was a window cleaner,” added the lady in non-nonsense Lancastrian tones that clearly shocked her BBC inquisitor.
Fashanu was indeed shaken to her core. She listened in disbelief, for here, for once, was a female not playing the role of victim. Was the woman mad? Well, she was northern. She was also white and she was working class – might that explain it..?
In her quest to denounce football and the men who play the game Fash next visited a female team. There’s a huge difference between men and women’s football not least the fact that the women’s game is apparently ‘pure.’ Sigh. Thought it might be.
Okay, they certainly get paid a great deal less than their male counterparts but that’s because people flock to watch the men’s game in huge numbers. They don’t flock to watch the women’s game. Facts. Groan! They really can be a pain sometimes.
Nevertheless, the programme dearly wanted to cast somebody – anybody – as a victim, as a member of an oppressed minority. But who? And for what reasons? Sexism? Why not? After all, as a badge of oppression sexism has proved itself to be nothing if not a flexible panacea. Whoa! Not so fast.
One of those damned facts reared its ugly head to stop that particular argument developing past the stage of an embryo. It was the women themselves – one of them married to an Arsenal player – who readily confessed that it’s women who chase the players and are all too willing to make themselves sexually available. Damn!
One thing we did learn however was that the richer the footballer, the more women in tow. ‘Prostitutes’ was the precise term used by the kiss and teller. Thank heavens it was a woman who had made that comment.
Oh dear. The sexist angle well and truly exploded. Where next?
Racism? No go. A significant proportion of professional footballers are black. Damn! Just who could this programme seek to label as oppressors? Football used to be the bastion of the white, male, working classes, but alas no more. If only…
You could almost feel the pressure as this programme desperately searched for a scapegoat. Any scapegoat. Remember that according to the BBC, the world is divided into (white, male) oppressors and (ethnic & female) victims. Oops. It wasn’t even half-time and poor Fashanu looked to be running out of steam.
And so it went on. Harry Redknapp, a former player with Tooting FC or somewhere, a shifty looking FA official, an ex-pro living it up in Spain all came and went, but none of them could provide Fash with the evidence she was looking for.
Indeed, even the women interviewed – including that wife of the Arsenal player - all concurred with the fact that young footballers are targeted by a ceaseless number of women brazenly offering themselves up sexually, in return for riches.
The documentary ended with Miss Fashanu returning to Madrid to visit her mother – a lady who, we were informed – had never remarried. Her horrible husband had, however. remarried twice! Boo! Hiss! Men – rotten devils aren’t they?
One hour later and this programme was thankfully out of its agony and over.
I’m not sure if the final impression was quite what the programme had intended, but I was left with the distinct feeling that women are a pretty mercenary bunch and that a professional footballer is a about one million times more likely to get laid than a window cleaner.