Jens Lehmann might be damaging his chances of playing in goal for Germany by allowing himself to spend an extended period on Arsenal's substitutes' bench since being dropped early in the season, but there's no way he's going to try his luck back in his native country, or probably even outside the M25. Speaking as rumours of a move to former club Borussia Dortmund surfaced, the often forthright custodian explained:
Crime levels are really high in London. I would not feel comfortable about leaving my wife and children alone there. London is a far from being a safe, idyllic city. Security reasons played a role in my decision.
And then there's the children to consider:
My wife and I did not want to disrupt their happiness, simply because their dad made a couple of mistakes at the start of the season and now has to sit on the subs' bench.
I guess it's hard to argue with him when even the Home Secretary fears to tread the nightmarish streets of Kensington after dark without a hand-picked armed guard, a dozen trained Alsatians and a watching helicopter in close attendance, but this is a new reason to us for turning down a move to a more welcoming, and allegedly more lucrative, environment.
One hopes that nothing has actually happened to his family to make him feel this way, but if it had, wouldn't he be wiser getting them out to the presumed safety of the Ruhr as quickly as possible? It can't be problems at school or else why would he be so keen to keep his children there? You'd also think he could afford to live in a very safe area behind a particularly high and discreetly discouraging fence attended by some impressive looking security guards. Given last week's events he's probably more likely to be lamped by one of his own team-mates.
Official statistics even say that robberies, which we imagine is the sort of thing he's worried about, were down 15% last year, though given the punctuation of Jens's career with incidents such as wading into an abusive crowd at a friendly and being sent off a record five times in the Bundesliga for misdemeanours including pulling an opponent's hair and throttling a colleague we can understand why his presence might make any remaining assailants think twice.
Rival Manuel Almunia looks set to continue between the sticks for this weekend's FA Cup tie with Newcastle, but we hope Jens gets a game soon if only to take his mind briefly away from organising the local neighbourhood watch into a wall just in front of his house while keeping them ten yards back from potential attackers.
Picture of Jens enlisting the help of his fellow German national goalkeepers via Howie_Berlin's Flickr stream.