Hibs: Fit for what?
The above is the latest in a steady stream of unwelcome headlines to be printed about the Easter Road club’s players. This is not reproduced with any sense of outrage nor is it a moralistic crusade but rather just resignation at the attitude of some modern footballers to their profession.
In the linked story, Hibs goalie, Grzegorz Szamotulski was refused access to a flight home to his native Poland for a mid-season holiday because he was judged to have been drunk and not in a suitable condition to board the plane.
This report on Szamotulski, affectionately know as ‘The Mad Monk’ by Hibs fans is arguable in it’s seriousness as an isolated incidence, though it can hardly be said that the Polish goalkeeper has been much of an ambassador for his club in this instance. For me it’s more the further questions it brings up about player’s lifestyles in these times.
We are all surely heartily tired of hearing the expression ‘credit crunch’ by now but in these difficult times for many folk I can quite understand why some are becoming more disillusioned with the game they now struggle to afford. It must be difficult to accept that players are not giving their all in that they are not treating their bodies like a professional athlete should.
It’s interesting to view the different atitudes, lifestyle and behaviour of many other top European footballing nations’s players in comparison to ours. It’s no coincidence that the likes of Italy, France and Germany have more success than UK teams in my view. They generally have a more dedicated lifestyle to the game and it shows.
I’m not disturbed or even surprised at the Hibs goalie going out and getting ‘bladdered’. At the same time I do believe that this kind of stuff has a detrimental effect generally on fitness and therefore performance. That’s why the timing of it (i.e. he was heading for a week’s break) is less important in my view – it’s difficult to imagine there are not other occasions when he and other player do the same thing.
In defence of being able to ‘go out and enjoy yourself’ as I hear it termed, comparisons of the likes of former Hibs players, George Best and Andy Goram are not worth much I don’t feel. Goram was an incredible goalie – the best Scottish goalie I’ve ever seen. He was successful in spiteof the boozing and was also extrmelytalented. It’s important to remember that Best was washed up through booze many years before he should have been due to drink, in spite of his incredible talent. Hibs fans perhaps more than any other set of supporters will appreciate that latter point.
I think it’s been shown that drinking above the ‘moderate’ level advertised is detrimental to health, there’s not many that will argue that point, and that therefore it is also detrimental to a player’s performance.
I have seen many, many people complaining about Hibs players not being fit this season – it’s a common theme. I think that with some of them they may be contributing to that with their lifestyle choices. We can hardly complain about their fitness levels then maintain it’s ‘ok’ for them to binge drink. The final and most salient point relating to that is do we want to pay over-inflated ticket prices to watch these people perform? The answer increasingly is becoming ‘no’ for me.
It’s a hard fact of life, if you want to be a top athlete, you have to look after your body, there is no way around this state of affairs.