A couple of weeks ago, Darius Vassell started his own blog – yes, it’s actually written by him. Reading it makes you think about how being a professional footballer in a foreign country must be very tough sometimes.
Between the lines, you can’t help but feel that – in between marathon bouts of PlayStation – Darius wonders to himself, “How the hell did I end up playing for a mid-table club in Turkey? … And how the hell do I get out of here?”
His situation has been well-documented. Having been afforded a hero’s welcome by new club Ankaragucu in July, he was evicted from his hotel last month after they failed to pay his bill. Since then he has moved into a new hotel – despite many offers from fans in Turkey of a place to stay – from which he pens poignant little blog entries, under melancholy titles such as ‘In sickness and hotel’, and ‘Reflections of the game’.
Vassell doesn’t speak the local lingo (yes, he might have made more of an effort), which must add to the sense of isolation he feels. On Saturday, he wrote that he missed his dog, Germaine. At the end of November, this: “Today, I finally get to see my wife… it’s been a month.”
He’s a not a prisoner, of course, but he does a very good impression of an imprisoned man, trapped in limbo, in a strange land without his loved ones, wanting desperately for a club in England to rescue him, but being too diplomatic to say as much. A team-mate asks him, “Why do you never speak?”
The farthest he goes towards mutiny is to suggest, with a hint of desperation, that Ankaragucu “might want to sell me??”
There must be plenty of Championship clubs – even lower-level Prem clubs – who could use a striker like Vassell and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in England by the new year. For now though, he’s trapped in a bad dream shaped like a cheap hotel room, wondering how to plug his PlayStation into the hotel’s TV. For all the money in his account, that’s no fun.