March 20, 2013 2:35 AM EST
When Football Stars do the Right Thing: Most Charitable Footballers
Footballers often get a lot bad press from the media, the fans and especially from people who view them as nothing more than over-paid louts who can do nothing more than kick a ball.
While there have been a few high-profile examples of players bringing the game, and themselves, into disrepute, it is easy to forget there are thousands of others who strive to use their fame and wealth for others.
The most recent example of generosity and loyalty arrived from one of the game's most respected players, Barnet's current player-manager Edgar Davis.
Following his team's 3-2 defeat to Accrington Stanley - in which Davids got sent off for getting two yellow cards - the beleaguered Barnet began their 215-mile journey back home.
To make matters worse for the 36 traveling Barnet fans, their coach broke down on a stretch of the M6, delaying their journey home even further.
However, once Davids saw the stranded fans as the Barnet team coach drove by, he urged the driver to drop off his players at the nearest service station and go back to collect the fans.
Once the fans were picked up, the former Champions League winner then proceeded to bring the shivering Barnet fans coffee while they waited for their replacement bus to arrive.
Davids told The Telegraph: "I saw the coach on the side of the highway with some of the supporters standing outside in the cold.
"It was the least I could do for my team, to send the coach back to pick them up so they don't stand in the cold.
"Shortly after the coach had arrived it started to rain, I was glad I did it. No man left behind!"
The gesture was certainly appreciated by the fans, with one writing on a fan's forum: "You can follow the plastic Premiership as much as you like - but a day like that only happens at Barnet."
While Barnet fans had their own unlikely hero that day, IBTimes UK has collected some other examples of footballers who deserve credit for going the extra mile to help others.
Amazingly, the current Barnet player-manager isn’t the only senior staff member to help fans in need.
In a similar act, former manager Ray Clemence sent the team bus to pick up stranded fans on the way to an away clash with Plymouth.
Similar to Davis’s generosity, former Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn once paid out over £8,000 in taxi fares after Sunderland fans were left stranded at Bristol Airport.
After a flight back up the north east was cancelled, Quinn booked a fleet of 18 taxis to make the 300-mile trip for the fans after a 1-0 victory over Cardiff City.
The midfielder, currently on loan at Real Madrid from Chelsea, has continued to work hard for the charity he set up to improve the living conditions of children in his native Ghana.
It was reported he gave away a third of his salary towards his foundation in 2011.
One of the more high-profile philanthropists in the game is Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba.
The Didier Drogba Foundation was set up with the former Chelsea striker’s own money and has helped build several hospital and orphanages in his home country.
His charity work even led to Time magazine including him in the list of the top 100 most influential people in the world.
Jack Wilshere - Jack Marshall Brain Tumour Support
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere makes it onto the list for his continuing support for one child with a terminal brain tumour.
Wilshere’s continuing support of Jack Marshall, often giving up much of free time for the boy through his battle, and the charity Jack Marshall Brain Tumour Support has no doubt led to the donation of thousands of pounds.
Billy Sharp gained the admiration and sympathy of a nation after he not only played but scored for Doncaster Rovers just days after the death of his two-day-old son due to gastroschisis.
Despite his manager Dean Saunders having his doubts about letting him play, Sharp ultimately did score and lifted up his shirt in celebration to reveal a t-shirt with the words “That’s for you son” underneath.
Sharp then set up The Louie Jacob Sharp Foundation – named after his son – to raise money and support for other families with children who suffer from gastroschisis.
While Mario Ballotelli is often in the news for the wrong reasons, he has also being involved in some of the most most-high profile acts of generosity by a footballer in recent times.
In 2011, the former Manchester City striker helped a young fan who was being bullied by personally driving to the school to confront the bully. The striker even sat down with the two boys in question as they sorted out their differences.
The current AC Milan star was also frequently reported handing out large amounts of money to homeless people he met on the streets of Manchester
For more than a century the Spanish giants were reluctant to have a sponsor’s name across their red and blue shirts.
When that run finally broke in 2006, instead of meeting the demands of capitalism, Barcelona instead signed deal with the charity Unicef, not only promoting the charity for free, but also opting to donate a million a year to humanitarian projects.
Another character who has had his fair share of negative publicity is Craig Bellamy.
The forward has worked hard in setting up the Craig Bellamy Football Foundation, a charity set up to promote football in Sierra Leone and help children in the country.
The former Liverpool player is another footballer who set up a charity using his own money and continues to work for it.
The Dirk Kuyt Foundation was set up in order to help disabled children enjoy sport. The charity’s motto translates from Dutch to English as “Fun for everyone”.