Is There Loyalty in Football and Should There Be?

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I don’t want to start off talking all deep or anything because this post is about loyalty in football, but the word loyalty got me thinking in general, and I had to question myself, why I am not surprised loyalty has gone in football? 

I came to the conclusion that it’s gone in football because it’s gone in day-to-day life.

Obviously, I’m not talking about everyone but morals and loyalty are things that should be the norm but in this day and age, it seems more people than not lack these kinds of things which is why I wanted to demonstrate it relating to the football world.

Let me ask a few questions and you might see where I’m coming from…

Do you think that the game will ever see long-serving managers again like Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, or even David Moyes?

Have you noticed there are nowhere near as many one-club players in the game anymore? Players like Ryan Giggs, Paolo Maldini, Francesco Totti, and Steven Gerrard? I can reel them off, do you want more names? Ok, John Terry, Tony Adams, Puyol, and Craig Bellamy. (I hope you knew Bellamy was a joke he’s played for more clubs than all of them put together).

Now hopefully you’ve got the drift of why I’m questioning loyalty in football and if you haven’t, then I’m questioning your loyalty too haha

On a serious note, I want to discuss why loyalty in football is dying out and is it actually a bad thing in football? You might think that’s a silly question but likewise, the clubs are not showing as much loyalty either. So it’s a kind of an everyman for themselves situation is what I’m getting at.

Football Players

When you strip it down and look at footballers as humans rather than entertainers, footballers are paid to play, that’s their job. Yes, it’s considered one of the ‘dream’ jobs the fact they get to play football near enough every day and get paid huge amounts of money for it ….but, it’s still a job, and is the average person required to be loyal to their day job? The answer would be no.

As we all know, there’s more money in football than there’s ever been. So imagine this, if you’re a football player and you’re on £50,000 a week and another club is interested in you and willing to pay you £70,00 a week (that’s an extra £20,000 a week for those who are terrible at maths). My point is, that increase alone is going to grab your attention and give you something to think about.

Now that’s just the salary, include other factors that footballers might consider;

  • Country/Location
  • Family
  • Better club/opportunities
  • Age/Career life span

Let’s make some realistic combinations…

1) A Foreign player gets who’s on 50k gets offered 70k by a club where he’s originally from. So not only is he getting 20k extra he’s going back to play in his home country which is a big factor for most players.

2) A player in his late 20’s gets off 70k a week by a club who’s challenging for trophies and playing in Europe. Not only is it a great opportunity but he’s at the age where he is probably in or coming to his prime and has to consider his age as a big factor.

These are the kind of things football players have to think about. We as fans only ever see it from the outside looking in, and the majority of the time it might seem like a player is moving for money which might be the main reason but we don’t consider the other reasons which may be a major deciding factor.

In the Fergie and Wenger era, you could literally name 20 players of the top of your head that were one-man clubs and could also name players that would play for a club for a long long time. You still get the one-man club players in this era but they’re very few and far between.

Managers

I think managers suffer the most when it comes to loyalty in football because it doesn’t take much these days for a club to sack a manager. It’s like, once a manager is in that place where his job is under pressure there’s rarely a chance that they come of that situation with their job still intact.

 Rather than letting managers build their own teams which is going to takes time clubs these days want instant results and success even the clubs that are not providing the managers with the resources to achieve whatever targets they’re set.

Player Power

Not only are they dealing with that side, but they also have to deal with player power too. Often if a crucial player(s) is having some conflict with the manager to a point where it’s the manager or player(s) its the manager that loses the battle

Managers losing the loyalty of the players is a common thing and players are more sensitive than ever so what seems to be a good relationship between manager and player can quickly turn stale.

Fans

Job Choices

I have to say, managers don’t help themselves either. It’s like, a manager that’s out of a job will ake near enough any job that’s offered to him, especially managers with little experience.

I feel like this has been Jose Mourinho’s downfall. Taking job after job at teams that don’t suit him and will not give him enough time to do what he wants to do. Don’t get me wrong I feel like Mourinho’s style of play and his management style are outdated like curdled milk and not sustainable in the modern game but his choice in jobs has really been poor which has lead to quick sackings and a big question mark over his skills as a manager.

Once you’ve been sacked it’s very hard to shake that stigma off your name. I get some sackings can’t be helped it’s just the way of the game but in Lampard’s case, he was majorly backed with funds and the supporters but he simply wasn’t experienced enough for all that.

Loyalty Of Football Fans

With the new surge of Youtube Football content, there’s been a bit of hostility between YouTubers and pundits. I must say, I’m a big fan of Youtube Football fan channels and football bloggers, they give fans a real chance to get their voice heard, it’s raw, passionate, funny, and authentic.

Football fan channels have been getting called out by football fans who don’t agree with what they’re doing, and their loyalty towards the club is often questioned, because a lot of the time, the videos that get the most views are the videos that are complaining about things going on with their club, like losing a match, not spending in the transfer window and dodgy owners.

These das were seeing a lot of football fans protesting against their club he they’re extremely annoyed with something like club owners, or the lastest one being the whole Super League thing that the top clubs tried to sneakily partake in.

But I say that to say this, fans protesting would argue that it’s coming from a place of loyalty because they care about the club so much that they’re willing to protest. on the flip side, other fans who are against the protest would say they haven’t shown any loyalty because in a way, they’re going against the club. If the situation that their fans feel so strongly to protest about stays then what? Are they going to stop supporting the club since they feel so against whatever it is that’s causing them to protest

Again, this is another reason why I question loyalty in football because where do we draw the line, and there’s a lot of grey areas

Football Club Owners

Modern-day football has seen a lot of clubs being taken over by owners and the number of football clubs owned is only going to increase with the amount of money in the game. Ultimately, owners buy football clubs for business, yes they may like or love the club they buy or they may not but either way, they want to make money from it.

Take the first owner to ever buy a football club, for example, Roman Abromovich at Chelsea, he loves the club and to be honest is a great owner, puts money into the club, and backs managers with transfers. However, his loyalty towards managers is questionable

Don’t get me wrong, this way of working clearly works for Abromovich and Chelsea because they have been a very successful club under his ownership which again goes to show is loyalty in football a good thing

Do loyalty and business mix?

Conclusion

When I think of an answer to this question it’s important that I take away the football fan in me because I liked to be loyal to the players. Even playing FIFA I find it hard to sell players that have been at the club for a long time – yeah sad I know.

So, when I step back and take the emotional connection away from football players and their club I do find myself siding with the players when asking why do they need to be loyal to their club? Even if they are homegrown players.

As I mentioned before, football is a job to these plauers juat like a 9-5 is a job for the average person. I personally believe all that is required is respect. Respect the club, respect the fans on how you go about things. 

So as i broke this down into the different parts of football where loyalty is expected I began to ask myself why should these people need to be loyal? Don’t get me wrong it would be nice to have some loyalty in the game and there are a few awho still are but as I said, when I take the emotional connection away from the game I struggle to see why they should be loyals.

I think the main thing is respect and how you go about things, whether you’re a player, manager, or the hierarchy. You should always respect the club & respect the fan

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