Louis Tomlinson: Pop star sensation and....footballing star? Featured

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As the news filtered through in the late afternoon of August 1, you would have been forgiven for thinking that we had somehow gone back in time by four months and arrived back at April Fools’ Day. One Direction singer and teen heartthrob Louis Tomlinson has signed with Doncaster Rovers football club. Incredulous, thousands of football fans flocked to Twitter to express their shock and concern, while others jumped quickly on the potential jokes. ‘Doncaster Rovers won’t have a good season - they’ll be going in one direction’. Cue groans. All the while teenage girls worldwide congratulated him and revelled in the news (even finding out what colour socks Harry is wearing on any given day would count as something to get excited about for them). Surely, then, this all must be some kind of twisted joke?


In a strange way, the whole situation is a double-edged sword, and can be considered from both angles. I mean, why should a young and famous artist waltz straight into signing for a football club? Particularly when some youngsters work hard for many years before they manage to catch a break and get their signature on a contract. On the other hand, there is more to the story than first met the eye, and those that were quick to jump to conclusions may regret their ridiculously sudden anger. Tomlinson, who is twenty-one and has never played at a higher level than Sunday League football, signed for Doncaster purely to raise some money for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in Sheffield. It seems the cynics will emerge from under their rocks and sprout the whole ‘Doncaster is just doing it for shirt and ticket sales’ line, but frankly who cares? If it raises money for a good cause in the meantime, it is worth anyone’s attention.


The sudden outcry that took social media by storm was quite ridiculous and unnecessary. The young pop-star, who has previously played for his boyhood club in a charity game, potentially will get to train with the first team at some stage, and he is bound to play for the development squad. However, it is very unlikely that he will pick up a first team performance, and he is listed as a non-contract player. Across social media the outrage was unreal, tweets discussing the apparent ‘ruining of the beautiful game’. Really, don’t be so ridiculous. It is a piece of news that will do absolutely zero harm.


Despite the reasoning of him helping out in the name of a charitable cause, there is, unavoidably, the distinct whiff of a PR experiment that lurks in the wings. This may irritate and frustrate some football fans, particularly as the multitude of teenage girls suddenly begin to change their ‘support’ for some previous, big club (such as Manchester United) in order to follow Doncaster and their new ‘signing’. That is understandable, but the sudden violent and angry tweets that littered the Twitter-sphere were undoubtedly overzealous. The sudden need to whine and complain about anything that One Direction get their name involved with is - for the most part - an idea that a lot of people can relate to. However, Tomlinson is just a young lad that is helping out his home team in the way that he feels is best. There is surely no need to 'kick off' about that?

Ben Johnson

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway.

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