Chelsea's Stars Warned Against Perils Of Booze Culture

by VR Sreeraman on  March 7, 2009 at 3:54 PM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
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Guus Hiddink has warned Chelsea's stars to ensure they don't become victims of England's booze culture.
 Chelsea's Stars Warned Against Perils Of Booze Culture
Chelsea's Stars Warned Against Perils Of Booze Culture

Blues boss Hiddink got his first taste of the controversy that can blow up when a high-profile player is out drinking late at night after Ashley Cole was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct at a west London restaurant this week.

Cole, who was with Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Michael Mancienne at the time, was fined 80 pounds for abusing police officers who he claimed wouldn't help get rid of photographers harrassing him at South Kensington's Collection restaurant.

Although Hiddink did not leave Cole out of Chelsea's squad for their FA Cup quarter-final at Coventry on Saturday, he did give the England left-back a stern talking to.

Hiddink knows the tendency to drink to excess in England will inevitably lead players into compromising situations and he has been quick to remind his squad of their responsibilities to the club.

He highlighted the way Real Madrid players would always have wine with their pre-match meal during his time with the Spanish club, but were self-policed by senior players to ensure drinking never got out of hand.

"If you drink too much it has a setback on your physical condition," Hiddink said. "Physically you can harm yourself when you drink too much and then you can harm the team as well.

"It is to do with culture. At Real Madrid when we went to away matches, the captains - Fernando Hierro and Manuel Sanchis - would load a box of wine onto the bus.

"I thought 'what is going on here?' I came from 'sober' Holland and I was amazed.

"On every table at the meal the captain would put a bottle of wine. I was not used to this but they said it was normal to do that and I didn't break that rule because they were used to doing it. Hierro and Sanchis controlled it so I didn't have to do anything."

When Arsene Wenger arrived at Arsenal he immediately banned the players from having any alcohol, but the culture of binge drinking remains prevalent in English society and football.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has recently tried to quash any drinking among his squad, but although Hiddink is often a strict boss, he admits he wants Chelsea's players to understand the risks and make the decision not to drink for themselves.

"I fully agree with Redknapp and Arsene Wenger. But I cannot and I will not control their private lives," he said.

"Players in this fantastic job have a responsibility to themselves and their club.

"I am not a police officer. Nor am I a father figure. I want to be able to have a very open relationship with them.

"I want to be able to speak very directly with them. Sometimes to hug them and sometimes to be tough."

Even Hiddink, however, was forced to admit he was amazed that players as experienced as Cole and Terry had been out in such a public place until the early hours.

Both have been involved in late-night scandals before in their careers and Hiddink said: "I am not coming from an innocent country. It is not my first year in this business and I have some experience of these situations.

"To be honest, it is amazing. If you fall once in one trap, you must try and avoid it the second time.

"Sometimes the players are challenged by a situation but you have to be disciplined. Sometimes there is human reaction, but it is curious when you mention the players that it is like that.

"You have to know at a certain time when you have to leave and not get involved in certain things.

"We ask everyone to live a proper life. That is not to say they don't have the right to go out but they must have their own discipline towards the team and the public."

Source: AFP

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