In the first instance, he was the guy that lost England a European Championship semi-final against Germany but, in the spirit of the feel good summer of 1996, he was forgiven. He did those dreadful “Pizza Hut” adverts, cashing in on the hilarity of said miss. He took the Middlesbrough job and was bullish about the fact that he had landed himself a Premier League job with no managerial experience whatsoever, and that hadn’t even bothered to take the UEFA Pro Licence, the coaching badge that is supposed to be mandatory for all Premier League managers, preferring instead to criticise the set up for making coaches take the course for it in the summer, even though he hasn’t played an international match since 2003. Having been given “special dispensation” by the FA, he also laid into the League Managers Association, who had criticised the FA for making exceptions to what is, elsewhere in Europe, a pretty standard rule.

None of this strikes me as being particularly honourable behaviour, but in the Bentley-driving, champagne-soaked world of the Premier League, none of it is out of the ordinary. This week, though, Southgate has acted in a way that transcends any form of decency, and has blocked Middlesbrough from making its donation to a charity which supports a hardship fund for nurses. Some of you may remember that, in the summer, Dr Noreena Hertz launched the “May Day For Nurses” campaign, which aimed to raise £750,000 through asking all Premier League players to donate one day’s salary to their cause. For a few days, the sports pages were covered in warm glow as players showed up in support of the cause. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the charity was happy to publish the names of the players that had given to the cause and it is, somewhat amazingly, this that has sent Southgate off on a rant about the campaign being “bordering on blackmail” and, to my disbelief, blocking his club’s donation to the charity.

Now, let’s get one thing absolutely straight here – football has (yet again) not exactly covered itself in glory here. The charity was pledged £1m but, in an age in which John Terry alone could pay this amount in full in less than two months, the entire Premier League has managed to pay just £200,000 – a fifth of the money pledged – to them. In my personal opinion, players that haven’t paid should be named and shamed, but that is irrelevant. To try and take the moral high ground for multi-millionaire sportsmen over a hardship charity to the extent of banning his club from making a donation is reprehensible behaviour. He has chosen to overlook the fact that the charity has only chosen to highlight players that have donated to the cause rather than drawing up a list of players that haven’t. One day’s wages is a drop in the ocean if you earn over £10,000 per week, so I find it frankly inexplicable that anyone could not sign up or it. So, in the spirit of not wanting to expose the skinflints that didn’t sign up to this cause, here’s the list of players that did in full:

Arsenal – 3 players Theo Walcott, Thierry Henry, and Justin Hoyte
Aston Villa – 2 players Steven Davis, Ashley Young
Blackburn – 23 players including David Bentley and Morten Gamst Pedersen
Bolton – 22 players including Nicky Hunt and Kevin Nolan
Celtic – 1 player Neil Lennon
Charlton – 8 players Matt Holland, Luke Young, Hermann Hreidarsson, Ben Thatcher, Darren Ambrose, Darren Bent, Marcus Bent, Scott Carson
Chelsea – 0 players, donation from club to Mayday for Nurses Hardship fund
Everton – 8 players on board including Alan Stubbs
Fulham – 28 players, the entire first team squad Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Brown, Jimmy Bullard, Philippe Christanval, Simon Davies, Clint Dempsey, Papa Bouba Diop, Simon Elliott, Ahmad Elrich, Adam Federici, Heiðar Helguson, Claus Jensen, Collins John, Zat Knight, Jan Laštuvka, Brian McBride, Robert Milsom, Vincenzo Montella, Antti Niemi, Elliot Omozusi, Ian Pearce, Mark Pembridge, Franck Queudrue, Tomasz Radzinski, Liam Rosenior, Wayne Routledge, Alexey Smertin, Moritz Volz
Liverpool – 12 players Craig Bellamy, Jamie Carragher, Peter Crouch, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Mark Gonzalez, Harry Kewell, Dirk Kuyt, Jermaine Pennant, Pepe Reina, John Arne Riise, Bolo Zenden
Man City – 6 players Michael Ball, Joey Barton, Richard Dunne, Georgios Samaras, Nicky Weaver and Micah Richards
Man Utd – 2 players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs
Middlesborough – 0 players, manager Gareth Southgate has withdrawn support
Newcastle – 12 players Titus Bramble, Celestine Babayaro, Pavel Srnicek, Nicky Butt, Stephen Carr, Damien Duff, Shay Given, Stephen Harper, James Milner, Scott Parker, Peter Ramage, Nolberto Solano
Portsmouth – 1 player David James
Rangers – 2 players Gavin Rae and Barry Ferguson
Reading – 27 players, the entire first team squad Mikkel Anderson, Alan Bennett, Andre Bikey, Oliver Bozanic, Aaron Brown, Bobby Convey, Ulises de la Cruz, Kevin Doyle, Michael Duberry, Brynjar Gunnarsson, Marcus Hahnemann, Greg Halford, John Halls, James Harper, Stephen Hunt, Ívar Ingimarsson, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Dave Kitson, Leroy Lita, Glen Little, Shane Long, Péter Máté, Graeme Murty, John Oster, Nicky Shorey, Steve Sidwell, Ibrahima Sonko
Sheffield United – 23 players
Tottenham – 20 players including Paul Robinson and Jermaine Defoe
Watford – 28 players, the entire first team squad including Malky Mackay
West Ham – 26 players, the entire first team squad including Nigel Reo Coker
Wigan – 1 player Arjan de Zeeuw

Middlesbrough, Arsenal, Manchester United, Celtic, Wigan Athletic, Portsmouth and Aston Villa players should hang their heads in shame – and as for Gareth Southgate, well, I was pretty neutral on the subject before, but I now hope that Middlesbrough are relegated and their Pro Licence-free manager ends up unemployable. You deserve nothing more than our contempt.

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