JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: Dave Kitson – believed by many to be the ‘Secret Footballer’ – wants to topple Gordon Taylor as the new PFA boss but his bid has understandably received widespread backlash
The problem for some people who have a bit of a past is that it can come back to haunt them.
Like Dave Kitson, for example, who is now being visited by ghosts from a previous life as he bids to start a footballing revolution within the inner sanctum of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
This ginger ninja wants to topple Gordon Taylor and replace him as chief executive of the players’ union – a position he has held for a staggering 38 years.
Given how unpopular Taylor now is, having become one of the fattest cats in football, you’d have thought the mission to take him down would be an open goal to a journeyman striker like Kitson.
But somehow Kitson, whose campaign is being backed by so-called football PR guru David Bick, has made the crucial mistake of going into battle looking more like Judas Iscariot than Che Guevara or Mahatma Gandhi.
A quick trip back in time reveals a man, in Kitson, who betrayed his own profession with an infamous radio interview in which he blissfully exposed himself as a hypocrite at best, and racist at worst.
In December 2018 Kitson was asked about the racist abuse being dished out to Raheem Sterling, but accused him and other footballers, including black ones, of bringing it on themselves.
He said: “I do believe that players make themselves a target. I just think that we have a duty of care to ourselves as footballers, to be a little bit careful with social media, and the way we portray ourselves.
“Jealousy is an awful thing amongst the human race. I trawled through Raheem Sterling’s Instagram feed to find that a lot of what he put on in his early days has now been deleted.
“And it was, ‘look at my cars, look at my house, look at this bathroom, look at this, look at that, look at me.’ And that’s going to antagonise people.”
The following day Tyrone Mings was supposed to be going on the same radio station, but refused out of principle because he was so disgusted with what Kitson had said.
‘Trawl’ through Kitson’s own social media history and you will find a collection of crude posts almost as subtle as the number of flash cars he’s owned down the years.
One is of a black Ferrari including the letters ‘BEL’ on his humber plate. How appropriate. Another is of ‘theboykitson’ sitting down between two more Ferraris, or him lounging on the back of a speeding boat leaving Mallorca, or of the sunset in Dubai with the message ‘s**t view, hate it here’.
There was nothing remotely ‘secret’ about this footballer back then. But it gets worse. Posts from 2013 and 2014 also saw him compare a black Tesco worker to Danny Welbeck. For the record, Kitson used to work in Sainsbury’s.
Is anyone reading this column feeling ‘antagonised’ yet?
Steven Reid is. The Scotland coach shot down Kitson, while Rio Ferdinand simply said ‘wow’. Sam Allardyce also waded in, labelling Kitson’s campaign as ’embarrassing’.
Other than Kitson himself, who thinks it’s a good idea for someone like him to be head of the players’ union? Answers on a postage stamp, please.
The PFA needs a wind of change to blow through it, but all Kitson’s pitch does is question the integrity of the new brigade attempting to usurp the old one.
Kitson is fighting a losing battle. But whose fault is that? After all, you’ve brought it all on yourself mate.
Big decisions for where rugby’s £16m goes
The government has stepped in to save the immediate future of Rugby League with a much needed cash injection of £16m for the struggling sport.
The emergency loan will help the sport deal with the severe financial impact Covid-19 has had on a host of clubs in both Super League and below.
Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer now has the huge responsibility of deciding which clubs receive the funding.
But Rimmer needs to think long and hard about who gets what.
The big Super League clubs might drive TV revenue, but most of them are also private limited companies owned by wealthy individuals who get £1.8m per year in broadcasting revenue in a sport with a salary cap of £2m.
But the likes of Championship sides Whitehaven, Batley Bulldogs, Swinton and Featherstone, for example, remain much more important institutions to their respective communities than, say, Leeds Rhinos do.
Those lower down the league ladder are the heartbeat of disadvantaged communities – who provide vital and positive social and economic impacts on the people around them.
So the message to Rimmer is simple. Having taken the riches of Westminster, you need to now give to the poor.
Good week for…
Marouane Fellaini – The former Manchester United star is to lend old club Standard Liege £2.6m in bid to save the Belgian outfit from administration amid the coronavirus crisis.
Manchester United – Club staff have started delivering 60,000 free meals to NHS workers across the city as United continue to lead the way when it comes to helping in the battle against the pandemic.
Glenn Murray – Had the guts to come out and describe some of the Premier League’s protocols when considering a return to football as ‘farcical’.
Bad week for…
Thomas Bjorn – The former Ryder Cup captain tried to chip a ball into his garden from inside the house and shanked it straight through a window. Welcome to the real world.
Alan Pardew – Kept ADO Den Haag in the leading Dutch league by default, despite not winning a game since January, then promptly left. Strange.
Dean Henderson – He wants to go back to Manchester United to become No.1 goalkeeper, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is sticking with David De Gea, leaving the 23-year-old’s immediate future in limbo.