Mayor Sol Campbell. That has a ring to it, right?
Soon it could become a reality as the former England international has declared his intention to run for the Mayor of London in 2016 and represent the Conservative party.
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Campbell, 40 famously switched Tottenham Hotspur for bitter north London rivals Arsenal during his illustrious playing career which saw him play for England 73 times and feature at three World Cups, plus win two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and score in the UEFA Champions League final with the Gunners.
Since retiring in 2012, Campbell has been outspoken in the realm of politics and joined the Conservative party last year as well as lambasting the lack of racial diversity within the English Football Association.
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He has long been linked with running to become the local MP for Kensington and Chelsea but dismissed that opportunity earlier in 2015 and has now revealed his intention to be the Conservatives candidate to replace current London Mayor Boris Johnson who is expected to step down next year.
Campbell will join a debate with the rest of the Conservative party’s candidates on July 4 and although he is far from the favorite, he is likely to get plenty of support due to his star status as a former England captain and one of the best central defenders the nation has ever produced.
Speaking to the Sun newspaper, Campbell is already having a pop at other politicians and discussed what he could bring to the table.
“I’m going in with my eyes wide open. I know I’m not going to be a frontrunner.
“But I look at people who have been in politics for five, 10, 15 years, and muck up, you see them muck up and think, ‘you guys are supposed to be pro!’ People that have gone to Oxbridge, had thousands spent on their education, and I mean they are royally mucking up.”
“I bring something new to the table. This is a whole new road for me, something I can get my teeth into but I just felt it was something I had to do. I come from a working class background, it wasn’t easy for me at all, but I worked hard. And now it’s about giving something back.”
Zac Goldsmith and Stephen Greenhalgh will be his biggest contenders for the Conservative nomination, while Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Tessa Jowell are slight favorites to replace Johnson in 2016. Campbell’s ability to handle pressure was questioned back in 2005 when he walked out of Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium at half time after making two bad mistakes in the first half of their 3-2 defeat vs. West Ham. However, according to the interview with the Sun newspaper, he now believes he is ready to handle the pressure and power politics can throw his way.
Campbell was born in Plaistow, east London in 1974 and spent time at the youth academy at West Ham and then Tottenham, plus won titles and became a household name at Arsenal. His close links with several London teams makes him a unique character in England’s capital and although Campbell may lose plenty of votes in and around Tottenham (Spurs fans have never truly forgiven him for crossing north London), all he wants is one thing.
“I want to change London for everybody.”