Fans must not abuse former players

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How loyal are you to your employer? Think you are very loyal? Well put it this way, if a company of larger size in the same business you are in offer you a significant amount more money to do the same job as you do now how loyal would you be then?

What's more important: how your employer feels or the welfare and interests of you and your family?

It's a no brainer really, isn't it. You see, football, perhaps regrettably is a business remember not just a sport. Players are human, most have families including children and most despite the bad press they get have a brain and want the best future they can make for themselves using this talent they are lucky enough to have.

What right as fans do we have to boo and abuse a player who chooses to leave our beloved club to a 'bigger' club?

I write this as a huge fan of Southampton shortly after we entertained Liverpool and welcomed back three players who wore red and white last season - the two who particularly suffered abuse were Dejan Lovren and perhaps more shockingly Adam Lallana.

Adam Lallana example

Let's take Lallana specifically as an example. He spent years with the club, was skipper last year, stayed loyal when could have left earlier and helped the club rise from the bottom of League One to mid-table in the Premier League.

He always did this with good grace and was by all accounts a fine ambassador for the club. As with the vast majority of players he wasn't born in Southampton, indeed he grew up an Everton fan.

We 'stole' him from Bournemouth as a kid. After years of service he had a chance to join one of Europe's biggest teams, yes and with a significantly higher salary no doubt. What would you do?

Surely there comes a time in anyone's career where they want to challenge themselves and move on. Now there was a lot of upset in the city over the way he handled the move which has left a bad taste in many fans mouths, but for the sake of my argument I won't linger on that.

Fans are the only loyal people in the game

We as fans have to face up to the fact that the only people loyal to the club is us. Not even the board or chairman, they are in for a reason and will come and go while the fans stay.

Players will come and go while the fans stay. One season you can be cheering a player and worshipping them and the next they could be playing for a rival. Players don't think like fans we must understand this. They are doing their job, and yes they need to show loyalty and commitment while being employed but don't treat them poorly when they decide to move on.

So for those who booed Lallana you have effectively erased 10 years worth of memories, are we now saying he didn't mean all those assists and goals for us? Those years didn't mean anything ? They should be wiped from history?

Bigger will always dominate smaller

Football, like life, follows a natural order. Bigger will always dominate smaller - not just the example of Liverpool being bigger than Southampton but also when the shoe is on the other foot when Southampton stole from Bournemouth.

Liverpool are bigger than Southampton. Southampton are bigger than Bournemouth. Big is always going to dominate, money will always be a decisive factor. If you work in retail and work for a small independent newsagent and you got headhunted to work for TESCO for more money what would you do? It's common sense. Players will never understand the fans pure loyalty and passion.

As fans we need to enjoy what we have while we have it, support and back the players but show some dignity and don't abuse and boo them. They don't belong to your club, they were employed by them.

Have you ever booed a former player at a match? Tell us who - and why you did it - in the comments below!

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Adam Lallana
Premier League

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