Everyone has seen their club sign a good player but then watch confused as they are not given the chance of regular first team football.

This season, the most high-profile player to have been the victim of this is QPR‘s Robert Green. After deciding to leave West Ham for a ‘new challenge’ after they were promoted back to the Premier League in May, Green signed for QPR on the understanding that he would be the club’s first choice keeper.

But a month later Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar arrived at Loftus Road with Green instead warming the bench, left sulking in the shadow of Champions League winning star. This got me thinking wether players are sometimes tricked in to signing for a club without actually knowing what’s in store for them.

Last week Green spoke out about his disappointment at the way he was treated at QPR by former manager Mark Hughes. He words were quite shocking, especially when you consider how much he was liked at West Ham and how he probably wishes he stayed there instead.

Green said: “I asked Mark Hughes. He told me Julio was going to play, that I’d done nothing wrong and that he wanted two top keepers competing for the position. I replied ‘Well, if he’s going straight into the first team he’s not really competing, is he? Where does that leave me?'”

The keeper then goes on to explain how Hughes told him that he was free to leave whenever he wanted, which he describes as “not quite what I wanted to hear.”

The problem here is that Hughes pretty much tricked Green in to signing for a club that had no real intention of making him a permanent first choice fixture in the team. That all seems to have changed since Harry Redknapp took over, but that’s not the point.

But how can it be prevented? If a manager wants a player, regardless of what plans they have for him, they will do and say anything to ensure they get his signature. QPR might well have been the only club that offered Green first team football, so to then freeze him out just months later is not fair on a keeper who can still cut it at the highest level.

And at what point does it become a breach of contract, or is that where players are missing a trick? I’m no expert at what’s exactly outlined in a contract between club and player, but surely a detailed job description would be in there some where?

In Robert Green’s case, the contract may have said: “Position: First team goalkeeper. Job role: To concede as little goals as possible on a weekly basis.” If I’m right then QPR have breached his contract. He hasn’t been able  to concede as little goals as possible on a weekly basis because he wasn’t playing, which isn’t his fault.

Green obviously isn’t the only player to have been tricked in to signing a contract, though. Robinho famously signed for Manchester City (ironically by Mark Hughes) thinking he was actually signing for rivals United, although the move may have been more down to his overall confusion about where he was going to end up after he initially thought Chelsea was going to be his final destination.

And what about Scott Sinclair’s move to Manchester City? Aside from the obvious attraction of money, was he promised more football than what he’s actually getting or did he know he would have no chance at making a positive impact on a team packed with some of the world’s best players?

With all that in mind, maybe it is time for players to insist that their squad status is outlined specifically in their contracts from now on, that way they we won’t see the likes of Robert Green being treated the way he did any longer.

Do you think players are sometimes tricked in to signing for a club without knowing what’s in store for them? Leave your comments below.


  • Jay
    3 years ago

    I do not agree at all. It is impossible to outline specific roles and playing time in a contract because managers rely heavily on form when it comes to picking a line up. It would be detrimental to the power struggle between player and manager. The potential loss of millions could be at stake due to contracts being voided over fielding issues. It is useful for players who are loaned out, requiring that they play 20+ games or they will be recalled. They usually are not on multi-million contracts, and the terms are laid out for specific reasons.
    Managers are like car salesmen when it comes to trying to convince players. They need to sell their club and their plan. I had the same experience when being recruited for lacrosse. It is the players decision. But one thing is for sure, it is very rare that contracts contain clauses laying out terms for playing time and positional placement on the pitch.

  • Melon Man
    3 years ago

    If you’re good enough, you’ll play.

    Up to you as a player.

    Do you honestly think football clubs buy players with no intention of playing them?

    Also, you take no consideration of the time an individual takes to settle in to their new club, ways of playing, culture and so on – some players fit straight in, and good for them, others can take a season or even two – they haven’t been hoodwinked, quite the opposite, they’re being cossetted.

    The season is long, we’re not even through Xmas, players off to the ACN, injuries, suspensions, many of these players will get plenty of games from here on in, which is why we have big squads nowadays.