Gentlemen players

What a lovely story by David M Steel (Letters, 10 July), who recounts the night when, as a young ambulance officer, he met the Real Madrid greats Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas after the 1960 European Cup final at Hampden Park.

It was particularly gratifying to hear that Mr Steel described the two as “absolute gentlemen”, which made me draw comparison with the top players of today.

How many times do we see televised shots of a team bus arriving at the stadium for a big match to a gallery of young fans who have been waiting for a glimpse of their heroes, only to be completely ignored, as the players, insulated by headphones and overtly engrossed in composing what are no doubt vital text messages, hurry from the bus and make a bee-line for the players’ entrance?

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Not a smile, not a wave, not the slightest acknowledgement for the people, who, at the end of the day, pay their wages.

This behaviour may be considered to be “cool” by some, but in actual fact it is no more than boorish ignorance.

What would it cost to make a young fan’s day by shaking hands and saying hello? If the excuse is that they are on a tight schedule, then they could leave ten minutes earlier.

I hope that some of the football heroes of today will have read Mr Steel’s story, which finishes with the gift from the players of a simple badge, which he understandably treasures to this day, and wonder if they will be thought of with such affection and respect when half a century has passed.

Then again, are they really bothered?

Walter J Allan

Colinton Mains Drive


I loved reading David Steel’s letter about meeting the footballing legend Alfredo di Stefano.

I wonder how many contemporary footballers would have behaved in such a gentlemanly manner.


Ferry Road