Footballers: We know what you did this summer...
From Glastonbury to Las Vegas to Jakarta, Jack Pitt-Brooke investigates how our Premier League players have been relaxing as they return for pre-season
Tuesday 05 July 2011
There was a time when the summer antics of top-flight footballers were rarely accessible. Unless their travels were sufficiently photogenic to make the glossy magazines, or sufficiently debased to make the tabloids, the holiday happenings of his heroes would be hidden from the man on the street. Thanks to Twitter, though, there no longer needs to be a mediator between player and fan. Anyone with an internet connection can now see how the Premier League's finest spent their June, before the advent of pre-season this week. From the banal to the boisterous, here is the best of it:
Rooney attempted to restore his confidence after the European Cup final with a hair transplant. "I was going bald at 25 why not," he wrote on Twitter. "I'm delighted with the result." From there he went to Barbados, where he posted pictures of him with Andy Carroll, and went to a karaoke bar ("on the mic for about 7 songs"). Then golf with Joe Hart and Roger Johnson, and relaxing by the pool with Phil Neville and Tim Cahill, before back to Manchester and Glastonbury festival.
Another Glastonbury attendee, and more forthcoming with his reviews than Rooney. Two Door Cinema Club were "decent", as were The Vaccines, while Darwin Deez played "the sickest set I've ever seen". The highlight, though, was his meeting fellow misunderstood romantic Morrissey: "THEY say never meet your heroes", Barton wrote, "who are THEY??????"
The most active holidayer of the Premier League set, he started off in Barbados, where he saw team-mate Tim Cahill. The Nevilles and the Cahills then went off to Florida. Disney World ("what a magical place") and Hollywood Studios were the highlights, with the obligatory family photo by the statue of Buzz Lightyear, before he headed to Miami and then home.
Another of the Everton-Barbados-Miami set, his story is hard to tell separately from Phil Neville. Still, there were SeaWorld, Downtown Disney and Universal Studios as Florida highlights, as well as updates of his table tennis contests with Neville (3-1 to Cahill, before you ask).
It is no real contest, but Owen has more of a hinterland than almost any other top flight footballer. He spent the summer telling Twitter about his racehorses. His best success came when Brown Panther, a horse he bred and now owns, won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot. "She is part of our family which is why I shed a tear after today's race!" he explained, referring to the horse's dam. Brown Panther ran again in the German Derby but could only manage fifth place. Still, Owen was "proud" of the horse who "ran a great race".
The Arsenal captain chose to head to the United States for his summer break. He went to New York with Robin van Persie, whom he pictured being fitted for a new set of pyjamas. Van Persie then posted on Twitter a picture of Fabregas in a New York Mets jersey (right) with 'CESC 4' on the back. A well-supported team at the heart of a big city with little recent success: it was a perfect fit. Fabregas then went to the Grand Canyon with Carlos Vela before going to Jakarta: "Is nice to know im in the same room where Mr Obama stayed when he came here a few months ago."
Seemingly not part of the Fabregas/Van Persie/Vela trip to the US, Nasri was content to "chill and relax" in June, away from the speculation over his future. "dont listen the newspaper and the rumours," he warned, "i will let you know if something happen". He did give a rumour as to his future, though, posting a picture of a cake (above) he received for his 24th birthday, with an Arsenal shirt with 'NASRI 8' on at its centre.
Spurs' January recruit from Everton was keen to keep in touch with his former Goodison Park team-mates, checking up on Twitter with both Phil Neville and Louis Saha. Pienaar's own holiday took him to Greece. The beaches were "amazing", as was a sunset he pictured. Athens was "great", (he must have avoided the worst of the protests), and he caught up with old friends: "Im hoping to see my former Ajax team mate Yannis Anastasiou in the next few days!" Then a brief stopover in Amsterdam, before a return to London.
After a laudable debut season in the Premier League Charlie Adam rewarded himself in Premier League style. No more Marbella for Captain Charlie, he has moved on to the top-flight footballers' great cash-whirlpool in the desert: Dubai. "Anyone recommend a nice rest in Dubai to eat tonight," he asked, before gawping: "Just had a shop round the dubai mall its massive". Adam has not abandoned his old friends, though, and reassured the internet of that: "Just had dinner in nobu with kenny miller and his wife".
The Newcastle United right-back was another player to escape the discord at his club with a lengthy summer jaunt. His Twitter reported that he went to Las Vegas with Cameron Jerome, Wayne Routledge, Phil "still Salford at heart" Bardsley and James Vaughan. Joey Barton made a brief appearance too, before Simpson and pals headed off to Los Angeles. After a brief return to Blighty he went to Miami, where he met Dizzee Rascal (below) and the Dallas Mavericks' Shawn Marion, and spent some more much-needed time by his hotel swimming-pool.
Still a hometown boy at heart, Coleman returned to Donegal at the start of the summer break. "Holidays going great! Love being home!," he enthused. Like any footballer of note, he went to see The Hangover Part 2, and was not let down. "Great film and very funny but for me the 1st one is better! Still a great film!!" He had a week-long break in Portugal, although it was rather soured by his inability to watch the Gaelic football between Donegal and Tyrone. But he found something on returning even more satisfying: "Just been to watch bridesmaids in the cinema! In my opinion funnier than hang over 2!!"
Another Las Vegas holidayer, Defoe returned to attend Jermaine Jenas's wedding; an event that not quite as many footballers as one might suspect had invites too. Once back, though, Defoe was clearly very keen to improve on his total of four league goals from last season. "Love my altitude tent at home," he wrote, "Focusing on next season", alongside a picture of him riding an exercise bike inside a tent. Like many other players, Glastonbury caught his eye and he was keen to pass on his understanding of what made Beyoncé Knowles so successful: "Dedication + Hardwork = Success. Nuff Said!"
The man whose summer plans were a national story for most of the spring, Wilshere spent June on holiday, rather than playing in the European Under-21 Championship. He went away to Sardinia, from where updates were disappointingly rare, although on his return he offered his opinion on the emerging summer transfer sagas. "Don't see all the fuss about Modric wanting a move..he has done well at Spurs but he needs to play champions league! #inmyopinion," he wrote, before suggesting that Craig Gardner should leave Birmingham City to stay in the Premier League. "I hope my boy craig gardner stays where he belongs in the prem,didnt get the chance at villa 1st time round proved it at bham with 10 goals!" With Gardner moving to Sunderland, Wilshere was gloriously vindicated.
Birmingham City's back-up centre-back went to Marbella this summer. "Expecting a quiet one NAAAAAHHHHHTTT" gave warning of what was in store. He first went to see a friend DJ at a White Party at the Pangea nightclub. His next night out, at the Ocean Club, was deemed only "Average". On return, he complained that the British weather was not as conducive as it might have been to recovery. "So hot, really doesn't help my recovery from #SleepDeprivaton." Perhaps catching Wimbledon fever, Davies challenged a friend to game of tennis, but was certainly modest about his level: "Steady, I'll be like Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (just half the size and power)," he wrote. And after the frustration of not watching the David Haye fight, he was glad to be back in training.
The Manchester City right-back was another Los Angeles visitor this summer. It was "so good", he wrote, although there was precious little else by way of insight. From there he went to see his family in Leeds ("good times!"), although he did reveal a rather uncharitable side laughing at the misfortune of a bystander. "Just seen a girl miss the bus!," he reported. "Sorry but had to laugh! She didn't think any1 seen hahahahahahha!" He was rather more generous when it came to his friends and team-mates. Richards applauded Nedum Onuoha as "the most underrated defender in the prem!!!!", and Joe Hart as "Best young goal keeper around! I hope he becomes the best in the world!" From there on, he was clearly keen to return to pre-season training. "Can't wait," he bemoaned. "My life is boring without footi."
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