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Sunday, November 1, 2009

McJob for burger King

There is nothing funny about Marlon King's conviction for sexual assault and ABH on a female student in a Soho nightclub, which saw him jailed for 18 months on Thursday.

The Wigan player struck the woman with enough force to break her nose after she rejected his "disgusting" advances, in what the prosecution called a fit of "completely gratuitous violence".

Sentencing him, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith placed him on the sex offenders register for seven years and said: "You have shown not a hint of shame for your disgraceful and arrogant behaviour."

And to top it off, the offence took place on a night out to celebrate his wife's pregnancy. Way to make your kids proud, Marlon.

There is nothing funny about it. Or rather there wasn't until King's agent piped up yesterday afternoon and started touting his services to other clubs about a nanosecond after Wigan said they would sack him.

Tempting as it sounds, Siasa Duni does not go along with those who believe King should be tied to a lamppost and kicked repeatedly in the testicles by this woman until he dies of old age. It takes a limp-wristed liberal view and thinks he should serve his punishment then be allowed to return to football - despite the repeat nature of his offending (King has 13 previous convictions, including two for attacks on women).

You might think that even a football agent would be a little circumspect on the day his client was jailed. Not a bit of it. Over to you, Tony Finnigan: "Let's say he does his time and comes out afterwards. Do you expect him to work for McDonald's? Someone - you trust me on this - will sign him to score goals, because that's what he does best."

It is hardly the most sensitive comment at the best of times, with its crass assumption that footballers have a right not to toil for a living like everybody else. But it reaches a stratospheric level of idiocy when it seems precisely this kind of arrogance sparked King's attack.

His victim claimed King demanded: "Don't you know who I am?" (Unless she is one of the few people who watches Match of the Day all the way through without nodding off, she probably missed his scraps of action for Watford, Wigan and Hull.)

On discovering she either didn't know who he was or didn't care - either possibility is equally plausible - King sneered: "You're not even in my league, love - I'm a multi-millionaire."

King's league, obviously, is the Championship, which is the only place he has ever been remotely prolific; his Premier League record is 15 goals in 69 games.

If, as Finnigan claims, scoring goals is what King does best, he may not find that job at McDonald's so easy to come by; I doubt anyone would fancy having their burger flipped by a man whose greatest skill is to stick a football into a net every five games or so. The trials and tribulations of Joey Barton show teams are willing to take a chance on damaged goods if they possess a modicum of talent (although Barton is now slogging away in the Championship).

However, King is just a run-of-the-mill striker and his days as a top-flight footballer are surely numbered.

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