Villa star issues riot plea

13 August 2011 12:44
Charles N'Zogbia has advised the rioters who have disrupted the start of the Premier League season to learn from his path into football.

The Frenchman, who joined Aston Villa for £9.5million this summer, comes from an underprivileged background and admits football saved him from a life of crime.

A craze of rioting has swept across England in the past week, causing the cancellation of Tottenham's game with Everton, and N'Zogbia believes he can relate to offenders, whilst condemning their actions.

"For me, it's difficult. If you don't go to school, you don't find a job. But I don't think it's right to do what they did," he told The Guardian.

"I know it's hard, but if you believe what you can achieve, you can work on it, because there is always people who can help you in the ghetto. There is a bad part but also a good part.

"Where I used to live, there were a lot of people who did try to help me and told me to get involved in activities such as sport and stay away from the trouble with the police.

"You have to believe they are trying to help you and stick to it."

N'Zogbia, who first came to England with Newcastle in 2004, insists he remains as streetwise as ever, which has served him well in his career.

"I was with Le Havre for eight years and they were asking me to sign a two-year contract, which was like an apprenticeship," he said.

"I just said to them: 'If you believe in me, you give me a professional contract, or if you don't I will be happy to be out of the club and move away'.

"If anybody tried to stop me from playing football they couldn't do it because that's the way I am.

"I can be a good guy and I can be a bad guy, because I know where I came from and the street will be inside me.

"When I go back to the ghetto, they look at me as a star," N'Zogbia added. "I tell them: 'I'm just like you, you can do it'. I see a lot of kids playing football and I say: 'I came from here and if I ended up being a professional, you can do it as well'."

Source: Team_Talk