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"A Lot Of Friends Are In Jail Or Dead"- Don't Call Colin Kazim-Richards A 'Journeyman'

"A Lot Of Friends Are In Jail Or Dead"- Don't Call Colin Kazim-Richards A 'Journeyman'
By Mikey Traynor

Former Sheffield United, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Feyenoord, and Celtic forward Colin Kazim-Richards, or Kazim Kazim as he is known in Turkey, or just 'Kazim' as he is now known in Brazil, has experienced more in his career than most footballers can even dream about.

He's won titles, he's got a European Championships bronze medal from his time with the Turkish national team, and he's experienced the football culture of some of the most intense and passionate places in the world, so when people look at the amount of clubs he has played for (now 13 in 13 years) and use it to bring him down, he's quick to point out that the positives of being a player that has covered as much ground as he has.

The term 'journeyman' is incorrectly used with regularity to describe a player who has jumped around a lot of clubs, when it in fact means 'solid but unspectacular', but regardless, the idea of Colin Kazim-Richards being a 'journeyman' footballer is something he is very unhappy with as we saw in a fascinating interview with The Guardian.

When asked if he understood why people label him as such, he admitted he could see the reasons, but was keen to offer his perspective, and suggest that he should be praised for seeking new experiences.

I’m not afraid of taking a chance on myself. If I was I could not have left home when I did.

If you look at it from a psychologist’s point of view, I could understand that point of view but for me, I’ve used football as a tool to see the world and people should respect that. People should applaud what I’ve done but instead they are trying to call me a journeyman.

I am not at one club looking at my next. But in life, and especially football, I have always had to be prepared not only to move forward but also sideways and even backwards.

He's dead right. Kazim-Richards has forged a career for himself that has taken him to incredible places, with some dark experiences along the way, but in most other professions you get the feeling that he would be envied for that.

But above all else, he has managed to enjoy a successful career despite the odds being stacked heavily against him in his youth.

Look, I am a mixed-race, West Indian Turk from east London. I speak three languages, I’ve won three league titles, three Super Cups and have a bronze medal from the Euros. For someone who comes from where I come from, to have seen and done what I have, is a fantasy.

I respect England. They didn’t give my mum and dad anything but they gave us … a platform. And then it was down to my mum and dad and all our families to be able to try and make something out of it. Which 95% of us have failed to do. I’m lucky, my dad and my mum had more perseverance with me and I was able to make something of my life but a lot of my cousins and a lot of friends are in jail or dead.

Kazim-Richard's views raise an interesting point regarding the way that footballers are labelled. Many of us would love the opportunity to travel the world and play the game we love whilst also being paid for it, so when did it become the norm to criticise a player for doing so?

Now becoming a firm fan favourite at Corinthians, Kazim-Richards may have found a place to settle down considering his wife is Brazilian and his children speak Portuguese, but he seems to have been grateful for the experiences that lead him to this point.

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You can read his interview in full over on The Guardian, and it's a fascinating read where Kazim-Richard details the racist abuse he's suffered both in England and abroad, as well as feeling the affection of the Turkish fans.

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