As the world celebrates the stupendous footballing skills of one short man, Lionel Messi (5ft 7ins), we should also rejoice at the tireless off-field work of another pint-sized footballer.
I am referring to the great Jermain Defoe (5ft 7ins), of Tottenham and England, who, as revealed in today’s News of the World, has not taken the conclusion of the Premier League season as cue to put his feet up.
Showing a Victorian morality and work ethic, Defoe has moved from his day job as goalscorer to concentrate on philanthropy in the summer months. The chief beneficiary of this big-hearted generosity is former Big Brother starlet and model Imogen Thomas.
Following her romance with hated Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, she naturally thought the right course of action was to tell all in a tabloid newspaper. Giggs, who has carefully crafted a family man image despite his rampant sexual antics outside of his marriage, callously demanded a superinjunction to deny Imogen her basic human rights: a well remunerated kiss ‘n’ tell.
How on earth did she cope?
It is revealed that her ‘rock’ throughout this trauma was our hero, Jermain Defoe. Showing class which Giggs could never possess, he sent her supportive texts, provided a shoulder to cry on and offered the occasional tryst. (They have form: he shagged her for a few weeks during his annus mirabilis, 2009, when he returned to Tottenham from Porstsmouth, scoring lots of goals and working his way through just about every fame-hungry bird in old London town.)
Despite splitting up from her because she asked him to pay for a new boob job, Defoe has gallantly rekindled their romance to help her remain in the public eye following the Giggs affair. She knows she can trust him completely. There is no way that he would ever dream of taking out a superinjunction against any woman whom he had loved, for one night or several. He knows that kiss ‘n’ tells can only burnish his image as a modern-day Casanova. He understands implicitly the need for a certain kind of woman to tell all, with help from Max Clifford.
I have long noted that Defoe is at his best shooting form on the football field when he is scoring prolifically off it. He did suffer something of a difficult season, scoring only nine goals. I feel confident that his liaison with Imogen can help him get back to his best.
It does seem as if the football season has concluded in exactly the right way. Lionel Messi has won the Champions’ League, once again underlining the pre-eminence of the short man in football. No doubt aware of the Imogen Thomas scandal, Messi made sure Ryan Giggs was utterly humiliated. Giggs can now spend the summer in his high-security Welsh fortress, with his wife and kids, reflecting on his many and various crimes.
Jermain Defoe and Imogen Thomas are no doubt already planning a long break on Caribbean beaches, with the paparazzi in tow, as they and the tabloid newspapers assert their right to titillate the public as we wait for the 2011/12 season to begin.