The modern footballing landscape is in a constant state of flux.
Footballers barely stay at a particular club for more than a year or two, before changing ships and in this scenario, it seems very unlikely that a player will stay at one club throughout his career.
All of which makes this season, which marks Ryan Giggs’ 24th and Francesco Totti’s 22nd season at Manchester United and Roma, all the more special. After all, staying over two decades at one of the most celebrated clubs in their respective countries is no mean feat.
The feats accomplished by both of them are unlikely to be repeated ever again. Last season saw two of the Premier League’s most accomplished one club men in Paul Scholes and Jamie Carragher retire.
And with them, the Premier League lost a little part of its soul as both of them, for better or for worse, stood for all that made the Premier League so special.
A one-club man is essentially an endangered species, because loyalty in modern-day footballers is generally perceived as an irrelevant attribute. After all, what good does staying at one club do, when you can move clubs whilst doubling or tripling your wages?
Secondly, it's rare to see players playing for their hometown clubs anymore. With the globalisation of football, the tribal footballer is no longer present. Even players who are born in Sheffield and Leeds are fans of other clubs and the loyalty, which comes with playing for your home club week in and week out, is absent.
Thirdly, maintaining a degree of success over an extended period of time is incredibly difficult especially in the current scheme of things. When you can be dropped, after a few bad games and be sold after one bad season, the task of staying at one club for any length of time becomes all the more difficult.
Finally, with the change in managers every few years and no consistent style of play, you have to be adroit at adapting to various situations. When managers try to make their mark on a new club, the archaic 'out with the old, in with the new' managerial school of thought still exists and to a certain degree, makes the job of a one-club man the most difficult in this day and age.
All of this only goes onto highlight the tremendous amount of obstacles that a one-club man faces as he tries to play out his career in his hometown. And as they say, climbing to the top of the mountain is easy, but staying there is the difficult part. But one, which both these players have pulled off, with consummate ease, over the past two decades.
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