Footballer’s selfishness often starkly contrasts the blind loyalty of the fans that pay to watch them every week. As incidents involving Ashley Cole and a few others in recent weeks have once again highlighted the barrier between the country’s top stars and those who support them.

While I accept that football for them is a career, the disrespect and disloyalty footballers sometimes ignorantly show fans is sickening. The most shocking hurtful revelation to come out of Darren Bent’s big money move to Aston Villa was that the England international actually asked for a transfer at the end of his first season with Sunderland. The Black Cats rejuvenated his career after a tough spell at Tottenham Hotspur and yet at the first opportunity he wanted out, without any consideration for the team which made him relevant again. It is also highly likely despite his claims he was fulfilling a dream by playing for Aston Villa had there been substance in rumours linking him with Liverpool he would have jumped at the chance to ditch the Villains.

Grant Holt also highlighted the disloyalty regularly displayed in modern football with his transfer request this summer. The Norwich talisman’s intentions weren’t clear but his willingness to leave the club that gave him the platform to prove himself at the highest level after just one season, stunk of greed in my opinion. Whether he genuinely planned on leaving the club or was bargaining for a new contract it showed a disloyalty to the club that finally gave the journeyman, and unfairly typecasted striker a chance prove himself on the global stage.

Jermain Defoe stated he never wanted to leave White Hart Lane instantly on his re-arrival at Tottenham Hotspur. The England frontman did a great disservice to Portsmouth who offered him an opportunity to remind everyone of his goal-scoring prowess at a time when first team opportunities where rare for him at Spurs. This ignorance and lack of respect for a club who looked after him for a year further shows the ignorance and arrogance of modern footballers.

The method and motivation of footballers can also be hilarious in the wake of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure’s transfer to Manchester City, Gael Clichy said the following: “I really believe if you are a player who thinks only about money, then you end up at Manchester City.” A quote that really came back to bite him after his transfer to the Etihad last year. So are we to believe Clichy entering the second half of his career had become financially motivated, or was the left back moving at a time when City were passed greed-mongers and genuine title contenders. Either way the disloyalty in football bow means very few players now spending longer than three years at one football club, for a multitude of reasons.

Robin Van Persie completed his first injury-free season for Arsenal and eradicated any doubts about whether or not he is a world-class performer. The Dutchman then also somewhat inevitably left the London club further highlighting how greed and ambition often outweighs loyalty. While it is accepted that footballers will move on from clubs they are adored at the somewhat fake backhaned compliments displayed by the Dutchman bothered me. Stating he would always: “feel like a Gunner” in an apologetic goodbye, that in my opinion stank of insincerity as he left the club for their title rivals.

This pragmatic mentality of footballers to try and coax the most out of their careers at the expense of the fans who grow attached to them, has also transferred over into management. Paul Lambert swiftly jumped ship from Norwich to Aston Villa after an extremely impressive debut Premier League year. Owen Coyle left Burnley to languish, ditching them for then more established Premier League outfit Bolton Wanderers. However it would be short minded of me, to not accept that loyalty is not always the best policy. Steve Tilson mastered Southend United’s meteoric rise up the Football League. United managed back to back promotions to England’s second tier and a memorable league cup win over Manchester United. Lacking the resources to compete at Championship level their inevitable fall began, Tilson stuck with the Essex club and his managerial career has faltered as a result.  Tilson is now managing in non-league football after Southend sacked their loyal manager during their fall. While you could argue if he was that talented of a manager he’d return and conjure up more great things. I believe timing and luck play a huge role in sport, and he may have missed his moment through being overly loyal.

While disloyalty in football can be infuriating it pales in comparison to some other examples of football power. When at the biggest club in Britain, Cristiano Ronaldo claimed he was a “slave” I almost vomited in disgust. Carlos Tevez also refusing to enter the pitch due to bizarre circumstances in a pivotal Champions League clash against Bayern Munich was also an incredible display of egotism. The levels footballers go to secure transfer deals is easily one of the most frustrating aspects of football. Clint Dempsey’s refusal to be included in the Fulham’s Premier League matchday squad due to his determination to leave the club, was an aggravating show of selfishness.

Footballers only have a 10 to 12 year window to make the most of their careers, but in the process of trying to make money and win trophies, it would be nice if they could treat the fans who help them get to where they are with more respect. Forcing through transfers, making wage demands public and disrespecting clubs you’ve played for, just furthers the divide between multi-millionaire footballers and the fans that pay to watch them.

Follow me on Twitter: @jimmylowson

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  • SP
    2 years ago

    As a Spurs fan, I have to admit that I was in the uncomfortable situation of criticising Luka Modric, roundly, for hos refusal to play in an attempt to engineer a move, and then see CLint Dempsey do the same to move to WHL. Of course I want Dempsey to succeed – but I did feel somewhat compomised.

    Likewise, I do feel that Arsenal, depsite the rivalry have suffered incredibly by the Sugar-Daddy owners and their massively inflated wages. Starting with Ashley Cole, they have watched a whole host of top players leave for bigger wages elsewhere, with the lame excuse that they wanted to ‘win things’ – lame because they would have a genuine title challenging team, IMHO, if they had all, or mostly all, stayed.

    Afaiac, players should not be allowed to force a club’s hand, for the very obvious reason that they are actually working against the interests of their employers to attempt to compromise them into accepting a lower transfer fee, on behalf of their potential next employers. I don’t see how that can be ethical. This was basically what Dimitar Berbatov did, and, basically, what Luka Modric did – if Daniel Levy had given in it would have cost THFC something like £18 million in lost transfer revenues. Again, how can that be even remotely ethical.

    Again, with Luka Modric – he signed a six year contract and then within a year wanted out, claiming that he had a Gentleman’s Agreement that he could leave if a ‘bigger club’ came in. In other words, he was planning to leave even as he signed a new contract for six years – in which case he should have not signed the new contract, but, of course, he did want the increased wages for the interim between signing it and getting a mvoe away. Not that I ever believed his ham-fisted argument about a ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’, anyway.

    And of course, when you do talk about players suffering through loyalty to clubs, you should mention Steve Bull.

    Anyway, I agree – players should be asked if they want to join a club making an offer or not, if their club is prepared to accept that offer, and then have no input or influence until a fee is agreed, at which point they should negotiate personal terms. Why? Because football is a unique industry where the hieght of the spectacle comes from managers being able to build a team, and if you take that ability away you take a lot of the spectacle away, and, then it may not flourish as a spectator sport paying them their hugely inflated wages. Don’t footballers, and their ‘advisers’, even appreciate this?

    Reply
  • Nick
    2 years ago

    When Steve Tilson was a player for Southend United, he would spend his spare time coaching Wickford Town Fc U15’s in his spare time.
    One of the most kind hearted and genuine men in football.

    We won’t forget what you done for us Steve.

    God bless you.

    Reply
  • BlaDeBla
    2 years ago

    Wats next , a tearful tale about jumpers for goal posts ?

    Is this a “Ron Manager” parody ?

    Reply
  • EastStandFan
    2 years ago

    Another well written list that contains very little in the way of substance other than your disgruntlement. A single point that maybe overblown? I’m sure various footballers could argue with some of this – Holt for example – has he now secured wealth for the rest of his life?

    Reply
  • roy
    2 years ago

    Being a pensioner and an Arsenal supporter all my life I think I may have sone input regarding the football world.I have come to the conclusion that all deserve one another.Players ,managers and club owners are all as loyal as a stray cat.Whoever gives it a saucer of milk is its new best friend.When it suits a club or manager they
    ill sell a player.When it suits a player they will manoeuvre a transfer. No loyalty from anyone except the fans,the majority that is.

    Reply
  • Armando Da Silva
    2 years ago

    It might be just me but, with the exception of Grant Holt, all the players mentioned are foreigners or black. Aren’t there any white British players who are arrogant? Just asking.

    Reply
    • shawnee
      2 years ago

      You mean to say that if you are black you are not british?

      Reply
  • Didot
    2 years ago

    If only for the disturbingly high level of player power of the modern day footballer,they should all be paying that dude called Bosman a commission,he made this all possible

    Reply