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Heroes of the Unemployed - Everton Footballer Steven Naismith

06/08/2014 11:11 BST | Updated 05/10/2014 10:59 BST

Introducing the first in what we hope will be a long-running series - heroes of the unemployed.

Everton footballer Steven Naismith has shown solidarity with unemployed people in the city of Liverpool - where his team plays - by buying tickets for jobless people for every home match this season.

The 27 year old Scotland international forward has form in his personal life, already helping homeless centres in Liverpool and Glasgow, where he played before his 2012 transfer.

Naismith said:

"Every day I feel very fortunate for the opportunities and lifestyle my job as a footballer has afforded my family and me, and also to be in the position where I can help the community in some small way.

"I come from Ayrshire in the West of Scotland and spent a lot of my life in Glasgow - a city that, at times, has suffered from high unemployment. Liverpool has a similar history and I am aware that, through no fault of their own, there are many unemployed in Liverpool trying hard to find a job and may not be able to afford a ticket.

"I thought this might be a small gesture to help those in that situation to enjoy a day out at one of our league matches. Hopefully it can bring some joy to many people."

He is right about the problems of his area. The constituency of Liverpool Walton for example is one of few left in England where more than 10% of its working-age men suffer unemployment.

There is a suspicion that the hand of his agent can be felt in this gesture, with the tickets distributed to different jobcentres around the city to be given to "selected job-seekers who are trying hard to find employment" according to the BBC.

Given that benefit sanctions have doubled under this government, if someone is getting jobseeker's allowance you can guarantee that they are doing everything humanly possible to look for work, but there always has to be a little pandering to the Daily Mail hatemob.

Of course, donating tickets to good causes is nothing new.

What makes Steven Naismith a particular hero is that it would have been easy to have given them to universally-popular groups like pensioners or ill kids, good causes to be sure, but not facing the double-whammy under this government of hugely increasing povery and unfair and dishonest criticism.

Naismith could have gained a little boost to his profile and enjoyed a little boost in sponsorship income, but instead he went for the true moral highground, and for that we salute and thank him.

We can see just one issue with this gesture though.

Given the recent record of jobcentres in informing people about hardship payments - only 23% of those who have been sanctioned knew about them according to the recent Oakley Review - and the appeals process, Naismith should not be surprised as he runs out at Goodison to see empty spaces most weeks in his new 'Unemployed Seating Area'.

There is one more notable thing about this story for those of us who watch media representations of unemployed people. The quote from Naismith is taken from The Independent website, but the BBC, home of benefit claimant-negative programmes including Saints and Scroungers, We Pay Your Benefits and Trouble on the Estate, also carried the story, but left out the "through no fault of their own" part.

Interesting that the corporation, which has been criticised by the government for a supposed left-wing agenda despite making the shows listed above, leaves out a highly salient direct quote which tells us something about the story the coalition might not want us to know.