At 31 years of age, Oliver Giroud has probably given some thought to life after football, to his next career. Maybe he’ll do television, maybe he’ll get his coaching badges.
But there’s another career he’d be really good at, one that’s begging for his skills: Public Relations. Here’s how the job interview ought to go.
“Why do you think you’d be a good fit for us?”
“I’d be good a fit for your company because, after playing for six years for their hated rival, I joined Chelsea and two months later everyone there loves me.
If I can do that, then there is no PR job in the country that’s too big for me.”
Giroud has always had a reputation for being a force for good, the kind of player who doesn’t let his head drop, who doesn’t criticize his manager, who works hard and who encourages his teammates.
On Saturday, he gave Eden Hazard a push, scored two himself and led Chelsea back from a two-goal deficit.
But in some ways what’s even more remarkable is the charm offensive he’s put on to win over Chelsea supporters who could be forgiven if they’d given him the Rafa Benitez treatment.
Sure we needed a strongman target striker and sure, he seemed to slot in right away with Eden. But he was Arsenal.
His secret is living up to his reputation. It’s working hard, playing hard, encouraging the team, and of course saying the right things. And doing all those things consistently.
So in his interview with The Sun (it was part of a promotional shoot for Chelsea’s “personal care partner”, Sure), Giroud didn’t just praise his new team, he called it the best in all the land.
“I am at the best club in England in recent years because Chelsea have won more trophies than anyone else.
“Chelsea are a massive club and we want to challenge for the title every single year.”
“When I had the opportunity to join Chelsea and stay in the Premier League, it was easy. That Arsenal page is finished now and it’s a new chapter for my career.
“Now I am 100 per cent focused on the Blues and achieving our targets.”
But Olivier, we’re a distant fourth and not competitive. Not even PR-speak can change that.
“Obviously the competition has been the toughest this year — with Man City, Liverpool doing well, Man United, even Arsenal.
“That’s why I love the Premier League, it’s the best championship, it is very hard. I am a competitor so hopefully next year we will compete for it.”
“…even, Arsenal.” That’s pretty good low-key shade.
On a serious note, knowing what we know about Giroud, we can certainly believe that he is indeed a competitor, perhaps even cut closer to the cloth of the Chelsea “Old Guard” than many others on the team now.
And if Roman Abramovich stays true to what has made the last 15 years the greatest era in Chelsea history, then we can definitely expect an interesting summer ahead and a newly competitive Chelsea as a result.
In the meantime, there’s the FA Cup to play for, and Mr. Positive, who won three with Arsenal but trails Ashley Cole’s haul of seven, delivers another winning line. Like Ash, hopefully he can follow those words with a winning moment or few in a Blue shirt as well.
“It’s true that I have told some of the guys that I am basically unbeaten at Wembley with Arsenal. Hopefully it will be the same here with Chelsea. I have nice memories of the Cup with Arsenal and now I want them with Chelsea.”
“It will be hard to win seven FA Cups but this one will be my happiest if we do it this year.”