Kieron Dyer: My life is so different now

Kieron Dyer.Now, there's a name to conjure up opinion.But have you ever met him? Have you ever spoken to him?Who cares, we all have an opinion don't we? A bit like Prince Charles or Madonna, you don't have to have met them to have an opinion.

Mike Bacon

Kieron Dyer.

Now, there's a name to conjure up opinion.

But have you ever met him? Have you ever spoken to him?

Who cares, we all have an opinion don't we? A bit like Prince Charles or Madonna, you don't have to have met them to have an

opinion.

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So what about Kieron Dyer?

If you have never met him, maybe you see him as the England football star who has not yet fulfiled his potential. Or perhaps the local Ipswich boy done good. Or is it the hell-raising trouble-maker the Red Tops love to slate?

Then again for those who know him perhaps it's the father of two, godparent to four, doting son who loves his mum more than anyone in the world and someone who sponsors local sportsmen and women from the town he was born.

The boy who runs one of the most popular Soccer Schools for kids in Ipswich, who sheds tears each Christmas as he visits Children's Hospice's in his role as a professional footballer, handing out gifts.

So maybe you know him... maybe you don't.

But does he care?

“Yes I do care,” he said.

“Perhaps now, as I get older, people's

opinion doesn't bother me quite as much. As long as my family and friends know me, then that's fine.

“But when I was younger other people's opinions did worry me. I could never understand it because they didn't know me. They hadn't even spent 10 minutes with me. How did they know what I was like?”

Kieron is now 29 and a father to two boys, Kie and Kaden. Kieron's partner and the boys' mother, Josie, is his childhood sweetheart from school.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since Kieron made his Ipswich Town debut at Christmas 1996. Two £6m moves (to Newcastle and West Ham), and 33 England caps later, he knows he can't get away from the fact most newspaper headlines have been negative.

So was he a tearaway as a youngster?

“Yes, I was,” he admits.

“I was talking to Craig Bellamy about this only the other day. He was at Norwich and I was at Ipswich and suddenly you are thrown into the limelight in a big way.

“I remember being called into George Burley's office as a 19-year-old and told to go to Newcastle, Ipswich had accepted a deal. It all happened so quickly.

“Yet I had no education about fame or money or dealing with the press. Suddenly it was from Ipswich to Newcastle and the Premiership - BANG!

“I was on my own in Newcastle, I had no-one for advice, nothing. All I had all of a sudden was plenty of money.

“Nowadays football clubs are much better on all those fronts of helping youngsters deal with the press and dealing with fame. But not then.

“But I don't have any excuses. I was a bit of a lad and a bit arrogant, although many of the stories about me were just such rubbish.

“I used to read the papers years ago, but I don't now, whether there is anything good or bad about me in them.

“When I was at Ipswich, I would desperately get the Evening Star to see what marks I had been given after a game.

“It meant a heck of a lot to me then, but now I don't care what journalists want to write.”

While newspapers and media haven't necessarily been good to Kieron, the game of football has.

And while many people think players are overpaid and waste their money on flash cars, Kieron knows different.

“It is complete nonsense about players just wasting their money. I don't see 80 per cent of my pay packet each month. I have agents and financial advisors who look after my money.

“I have a portfolio of about 30 houses in this country and worldwide. And I'm not alone in that, many footballers do. People think you are flash because you have got a nice car, but that's ludicrous.

“Money isn't everything. Look at David Beckham, he could give up playing football tomorrow if he wanted to, not worry about getting more England caps or keep playing. But we all just want to play football; it's our job, all we know.”

And so it is.

But Kieron knows he won't be playing forever and a catalogue of nasty injuries could mean that time ahead on the pitch is even less than many other footballers.

So what's on the radar for the future?

“I wouldn't like to be a manager,” he added.

“I suppose I would like a coaching job, training kids. You can't get better satisfaction than training a kid who goes on to be another Rooney or something.

“Punditry I quite like, but I wouldn't sit there and criticise players. Some pundits only do it to try and impress, so they might get on the Sky food train.

“I like Jamie Redknapp, he is passionate but doesn't slag players off.”

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