Recently, we have seen a lack of loyalty in professional football.
Players are more than happy to make a move from one team, to their closest rivals. This is a clear act of a player with no professionalism, no morals, and most of all, no loyalty. Loyalty is something that was held in high regard at one time in football, but with egos almost as big as their wage packet, loyalty is scarcely seen in the game these days. Back from the 70s to the 90s, most footballers broke into the first-team at a club and spent most of their footballing days at their chosen club, with the odd exception. We have gone from loyalty thriving in football, to next to no loyalty evident in football.
Now, we have the players like Steven Gerrard, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero the list continues. These are players that have toughed it out with their clubs through thick and thin, namely Del Piero. Even through the demise of Juventus, Del Piero stuck with them and helped them back to glory. Granted he has now left Juventus, but who wouldn’t want to play out the rest of their career in a country like Australia? After reading this you may say, where is Ryan Giggs? I will say, 660 appearances for Manchester United, starting his professional career in 1990 - but, did you know that Giggs began his youth career at Manchester City? A little bit of useless trivia for you there. This information is not useless in this article, very relevant in-fact, and brings us nicely to the other side of loyalty.
The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Carlos Tevez, Ronaldo, would most definitely appear on this list. Unfortunately, this list much longer than the previous. I recall a perfect example of this in Kenny Miller. Kenny Miller had played for Rangers a few years before his move to Celtic, already showing that his loyalty was somewhat questionable. Whilst playing for Celtic, Kenny Miller kissed the Hoops badge in a goal celebration. A bold move having already played for the Gers, but would be proven to be even bolder as he would return to the blue side of Glasgow.
So, we then need to look at the reasons of why loyalty has disappeared in the game. The biggest issue must be money. How can a player have loyalty to a club when a club interested in the player, who have unlimited money at their disposal, can double a player’s wages? Everyone in the world works their hardest to get promoted in their field of work to then earn more money. This is a fact. We can’t blame players for wanting to earn more money, but if they were loyal to a club, they would then ask their current club to offer them more money. Take Theo Walcott as an example of this. He wasn’t happy with the wage he was receiving, and with many clubs sniffing about to get his signature at their club, he decided that he’d ask Arsenal for more money rather than listening to the offers from other clubs. This is a clear gesture of loyalty to Arsenal.
Many players make moves to rival clubs and exclaim that it is to ‘further their careers.' Robin van Persie moved from Arsenal to a fierce rival in Manchester United. He was reported as saying that the move was in order to ‘win trophies’ and to ‘further his career’. This may have been to fulfil his ambitions but does this mean that if Manchester United offered him half the wage that he was earning at Arsenal, he would have accepted? Ambition is to fulfil a dream no matter what comes in your way. I am completely sure that a decrease in wages would have driven a wedge between Van Persie’s dream move. When foreign players come over to Britain to enhance their careers, is it possible to remain loyal to a club out with their home country? Many of these players, with the exception of one or two, will happily move to a club in the same league as the club they were previously playing for. Van Persie, Fernando Torres, Samir Nasri to name a few. Whilst we have these players, we have the players who have come over to Britain, enhance their career and move back to the country they moved over here from. Cesc Fabregas is a perfect example of this. Tony Adams was quoted saying: “When a foreign player comes over to play here it is natural maybe that they go back.” It is forgivable when a player does this. This is clearly a progression in their career, but when a player moves to a club in the same league as a club that had given their full loyalty to them, it is something which most people will find unforgivable.
It is safe to say that money is top-dog in the footballing world nowadays. In years gone by we have seen a great amount of players break through the youth system at a club followed by a ten to fifteen year stint at the same club afterwards. This cannot be said for footballers in recent years with money as rife as it is.
Whomever you support and give your unconditional love to, I think it is time to give up the ideology that loyalty is still around. Players are all too quick to kiss the badge on their chest and proclaim their undying love to the team they are playing for, all for them to then jump ship when an influx in wages is waved in front of their face.
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