As our project draws to a conclusion the sports pages and indeed much of the news reporting of Britain’s newspapers are engulfed by a universal sense of crisis in the ‘national game’, prompted by an outbreak of ‘deviance’, ‘lawlessness’ and ‘shameful’ behaviour among football’s young stars. In many respects the events seemed to bring together many of the issues we have attempted to address in our book. There was no single incident which prompted the outpouring but rather a conflation of unrelated events including: the arrest and suspension of a Leeds United first team player in relation to accusations of serious sexual assault; the fining of Newcastle United and Wales international Craig Bellamy for abusive behaviour towards a young female student outside a nightclub; Manchester United and England centreback Rio Ferdinand missing a compulsory random drugs test; England players discussing the possibility of a strike following Ferdinand’s subsequent omission from the national squad for a crunch Euro 2004 qualifying match against Turkey; and a young Liverpool player being shot in a bar in the city at 1: 30 in the morning. All of this came in the fortnight after a group of Premiership players were accused of raping a 17-year-old woman at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane. An incident which brought the term ‘roasting’ into the public consciousness as Britain’s largest circulation newspaper, the News of the World reported on 5 October 2003 how:

The soccer-rape allegations have exposed an appalling new sex culture among young football stars called ‘roasting’.