The campaign to ban Iron Mike from Birmingham is misguided, argues Ian Clarkson...
According to a recent newspaper poll it looks as though I am in a minority, but I believe Mike Tyson should be allowed to visit Birmingham.
I always thought Britain had prided itself on being a tolerant society prepared to give people a second chance, but it appears as though the goalposts have moved where Tyson (pictured) is concerned.
I am by no means an apologist for Tyson, but let us take a look at the facts and see why his arrival has produced such uproar.
Tyson's colourful past has been well documented, but it shouldn't be forgotten that he was one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time and that sport, by its very nature, can attract people with troubled private lives.
However, Tyson has paid for his crime and served a prison sentence so why shouldn't he be allowed to rebuild his life and make a few pounds in the process.
Tyson has had a veritable array of hangers-on throughout his life who have milked his finances for all they are worth and then left him to face the consequences.
He will be pocketing a sizeable fee but has already promised that a sizeable donation will be made to the Acorns Hospice from the postmeal auction.
If people want to pay hardearned cash to listen to Tyson speak about his past and his future plans, then they should be able to and I am positive the show will sell out within hours.
Paul Gascogine gave an entertaining speech at the Moat House in Telford last year and was paid handsomely, but I heard no objections about a man that has confessed to beating his former wife.
Former Arsenal star Graham Rix was charged and jailed for having underage sex with a 15-year-old girl but on his release walked straight into a job at Chelsea before taking over the managerial reigns at Portsmouth and Oxford.
I don't recall uproar when he arrived in the Midlands as manager of Portsmouth and it is a safe bet that he wasn't working for free.
The list of tarnished stars is endless and loveable rogue George Best has been damaging his liver - paid for by the NHS - from some considerable while earning a pretty penny on the after-dinner circuit.
This is not to trivialise Tyson's crime or his lifestyle but I believe he deserves another opportunity to rebuild his life.
The fact that he is being well-paid for appearing at the Hilton shouldn't be an issue in a country where capitalism has spiralled out of control and sportsmen earn vastly bloated salaries that are totally out of proportion with the rest of society.
There is a school of thought that people who are rehabilitating should undertake charity work to almost prove their repentance.
The best way for Tyson to show the world that he is alive and kicking again is to meet the public and pay off some of his debts rather than being hidden away from the public eye.
And this is also an opportunity for Tyson to show the whole of the Midlands that he is a reformed character and if we regard ourselves as a major city, it would be pure folly to ban him.
Tyson should be allowed to entertain the paying public in Birmingham - end of story.
* Mike Tyson will be appearing at the Birmingham Hilton Hotel on November 18. For tickets call 0800 0286844.