We were all shocked when the story initially broke. If you were living under a rock at the time, it surfaced in early May that Marcos Alonso was involved in a crash. One woman died and three other passengers of the car were seriously injured. Alonso, the driver of the car, escaped relatively unscathed but also with a hefty amount of alcohol in his system. He was allowed to return to England until a court date was set, but even though he came back to Bolton, he did not come back to the team sheet. In fact, I believe the club didn't even release an official statement on the incident. Because of all this I had assumed Alonso would stay quiet, and we wouldn't see him in a Wanderers shirt again. Then, after months of silence, he tweeted first this then this. He's back, as the photo of him at pre-season training from the official site confirms, but should he be allowed to play? There is very little doubt that he did wrong, but how much should a player's personal life interfere with their professional?
It's a tough question, and responses will be highly varied, but to me there's something that just doesn't feel right about him wearing that crest again. There is always the cliché argument that players serve as role models for children across the country, and really across the world. To a certain extent this is true, especially in one of the most high profile leagues in the world (although admittedly not a terribly high profile team). There is an image that the team try to project, putting an emphasis on the charity work of the players, and the Alonso incident does not fit that. While I doubt any impressionable young children came away from this thinking that it's "cool" to drink and drive, there is something unsavoury about his return, especially as everyone is acting as though nothing happened.
The yucky feeling argument aside, there is a bigger issue with Alonso's actions. While I am no expert about the ins and outs of football contracts, I know there is an obligation on the part of the player to take care of their body. This obviously means eating right, exercising, showing up at training, but it also includes not putting that precious body in perilous situations (Tamir Cohen isn't allowed to have his motorbike). Marcos Alonso blatantly disregarded this, and all moral qualms aside, he put his body in danger by making a stupid decision. That body is an investment made by the club, and based on that decision he made, perhaps it is no longer wise from a business point of view to indulge in that investment.
I will admit that my gut reaction was Anti-Alonso. The whole situation is unpleasant, and I resent it even more as it caused me to use "yucky feeling argument" in a blog post, but there are more serious implications of the incident. We have a fairly shallow squad as it is, and there is no room (and no money) for players who do not take their safety seriously.
Disagree? Stay tuned as Mark will be posting why we should let Alonso play shortly!