Aston University experts look at how cash and social media are part of 'coping with success'July 6, 20212 min read
"It's the whole 'money doesn't make you happy' adage... two fifths of football players are bankrupt within 5 years of retirement, while a third divorce in the same period"
Professor Andy Lymer, Aston University
In this episode, Steve chats to Dr Tahmineh Tayebi and Professor Andy Lymer and the social media abuse and financial responsibility that comes with being a top footballer and athlete.
Dr Tahmineh Tayebi looks at the linguistics of social media abuse. She starts by understanding the fans' perspective. They've invested time, money and trust in clubs/players and feel entitled to opinions/criticism - but the issue is the language used.
Explicit and hateful language - often racist and/or violent - is the easiest to cope with, as it can be banned. But there's lots of "clever" offensive language which breaks no laws and is difficult to spot but still hurtful.
Tahmineh discusses loose boundaries between freedom of expression and bullying. She also points to the recent social media boycott and the BT Hope United project.
Professor Andy Lymer looks at the issues faced by wealthy players. He cited interesting research showing 2/5 of football players are bankrupt within 5 years of retirement, while 1/3 divorce in the same period. Players have short careers and either need to earn enough to last them with good advice or need to do something else after playing.
However, Professor Lymer says many still quickly burn through their fortunes. He notes Britain is bad at educating people in dealing with money, especially in 'decumulation' - e.g. making it last, planning savings for pensions and downsizing.
He points to various government-backed schemes/helplines which can help anyone. The big issue is top footballers attracting long queues of people wanting to advise their slice.
Getting the right, trustworthy advice is the problem. In football itself, big clubs are guiding young, vulnerable players as part of their development, and various players' organisations also help, such as a 24-hour helpline. But the stats show us it's not enough, and Andy calls for the sector to do more in education.
Dr Tahmineh Tayebi Lecturer in Forensic Linguistics
Dr Tayebi is interested in online offensive and abusive language and similar phenomena, such as cyberbullying, trolling and hate crime.