At last! The real Kieron Dyer has now stood up

Kieron Dyer in the jungle

Kieron Dyer in the jungle - Credit: Archant

So, Kieron Dyer’s jungle experience is over.

The former Ipswich Town star, born, bred and educated in the town, finished fourth in the reality series, ‘I’m A Celebrity . . .’ He flies back from Australia this week.

I think he did himself proud Down Under and that was certainly the general consensus from most people I have spoken to.

Starting the show quietly, Kieron got into it more and more as the viewers took to him.

In the end he was quite a favourite.

Not the Mr Arrogant, multi-million pound upstart, so badly misrepresented by some sections of the national press over the years.

No, this was the real Kieron Dyer ladies and gentleman, personality and soul laid bare, tears and laughter, in the middle of an Australian jungle with people he would rarely mix with – and he did alright.

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Kieron is what he is because of his ability to play football, nothing more. Playing for clubs, some who were happy to pay him fortunes a week. A young man in the right place, at the right time.

We all knew what he was. But did we know who he was?

Of course not.

Yet so many people, 99% who have never met him – or even spoken to him – had their opinions of the England midfielder, many getting great delight, especially on social media, in taking a pop at him (how brave!)

When it was announced he was going in the jungle, some mocked that he would get injured before the first bushtucker trial was completed.

Old ‘Mr Injury Crock’.

And yet, if anyone could ever be bothered, and if they ever met Kieron, they might like to ask him about his injury setbacks.

This is a player who won 33 England caps when he should have won 83.

If you think lying on a treatment table day in, day out, is easy – because you are being paid shedloads of money – think again.

I know Kieron has been in some dark places over the years.

So, how ironic, yet fantastic, that a television show, hosted by Newcastle United fans, Ant and Dec, should show the public the real Kieron Dyer. Fun, cheeky, witty and caring.

He didn’t have to think twice about donating his fee to local charity, The Jude Brady Foundation either. It was never about money. His life never has been.

He only wanted to go on the show to enjoy himself and most importantly because his family and especially his kids were desperate for him to do so, once they knew he had been asked.

I was lucky to have a quick chat with Kieron yesterday.

“Did your boys enjoy watching it?,” was his first question.

“I hated those emus!”

Well, yes my boys did enjoy watching him, voting crazily to put him into every bushtucker trial going . . and those ‘scary’ emus Kieron were so . . . ‘scary’!

But on a more serious note, professional football clubs today are renowned for micro-managing their players – fans rarely get to know the real person behind the shirt.

Not that the clubs care, they aren’t in the business of making their players popular.

But if I were a young professional player today (chance would be a fine thing), I would demand to be in control of my public persona.

If you want to look at how untruths can unfold and almost undo a person – the Kieron Dyer story is right up there.

However, now, at long last, most of the country knows the real Kieron Dyer. And I couldn’t be happier for him.

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