Mings the Merciful

Mings the Merciful

27 July 2014 | Lloyd Hughes

Footballers often get bad press. Their sky high wages compared with a day-to-day activity that generally consists of about two hour’s exercise following a lie in, means that they’re an easy target when it comes to the vitriol of hard-working Joe Public. Considering the cost of match-day tickets and replica kit, it’s not surprising that football fans resent this.

And it’s not just eye-popping wages and extortionate prices that draw ire. Poor behaviour off the pitch often leads to unwanted headlines that tend to be associated with poor/drunk driving and/or too much alcohol and/or indiscretions towards women.

Improper conduct on the pitch generates further bile. Luis Suarez felt the full force of public outrage following his bite on Chiellini during the World Cup. And whilst that might have been an extreme example (biting is thankfully a rare occurrence, although not really for Suarez, I might add) there are plenty of other unsportsmanlike shenanigans that go on, such as diving, swearing at the referee/opposition/opposing fans, occasional racism (the list goes on) that it’s not surprising that bad press is a frequent occurrence.

But despite all of this, footballers aren’t always feckless, wastes of space with an inflated sense of their own worth, who couldn’t give a toss about their role model status to legions of young fans. Some are actually all right.

Take Tyrone Mings for example. The 21-year-old Ipswich Town defender appears to be a bit more thoughtful than the usual footballing stereotype. He was in the news this week for pledging to buy new shirts for fans who’d purchased Ipswich replica shirts with his name and the wrong squad number on the back.

A few fans had jumped the gun when it came to getting the new kit and chose to have their favourite player’s name on the back with last season’s squad number accompanying it. Unfortunately for them, the new season’s squad numbers were announced this week and Mings had moved from 15 to 3 following the departure of that number’s previous incumbent to West Ham.

Now you could blame the fans for not waiting and call it their problem. Or you could offer to buy them new shirts with the new season’s number on the back. Tyrone Mings did the latter.

For a footballer on footballer’s wages (albeit lower league) the cost of a shirt is a relative drop in the ocean. But to the average fan, today’s prices can represent some serious money, so the gesture is a meaningful one. Not to mention the pleasure that the fans would have from interacting with one of their footballing idols.

It’s not the first time he’s done it either. Last year Mings left two tickets for a match at the ticket office for a fan who lamented the fact that he was ‘skint’ and unable to afford the cost of attending on Twitter.

Relatively small gestures like this from players make a big impression on supporters, so it’s great bit of PR for Mings. I don’t smell a cynical PR stunt behind these gestures either, which makes it all the more refreshing. Nice one, Tyrone.