Premier League, increasingly demanding when it comes to their own success.

The signs of this are relatively obvious in the exodus following the relegation of a club. Although it perhaps makes financial sense to let highly valued players go as the money could be used elsewhere and their quality isn’t necessarily needed in the lower division, very often players will leave because they do not consider themselves to be Championship players. It is fair enough that footballers are naturally competitive and will always want to play at the highest available level, but what has happened to club loyalty?

Furthermore, why is football the only business on the planet where a contract literally means naff-all? If a player believes he should be playing for a better club and tells the press he wants to leave there is little the management can do about stopping them. The longer the player stays at the club once announcing his intentions to move on, the more his value tends to decrease.

Back in 2003, Jermain Defoe handed in a transfer request to West Ham less than a day after the club were relegated from the Premier League. The statement read: “As much as I love West Ham United I feel that now is the right time for me to move on in my career. This is very much a career decision. I am very ambitious and hungry to achieve at the highest levels of the game for both club and country”. The transfer request was turned down, but Defoe forced a move by rather oddly getting continually sent off until the club decided to sell him in January. At the time the England striker was young and cocky, but considering he had scored just eight goals in 38 league appearances during West Ham’s relegation season, in my opinion Defoe was shirking his share of the responsibility.

A club’s performance should never be put down to one player but each player should see the team’s performance as his responsibility. Part of the culture in the modern game is to blame failure on the manager.  Take a closer look at QPR for example. I’m not a fan of Mark Hughes, I believe he is clearly lacking in managerial ability. But if you look at the players brought into the club and the performances received in return, that can’t be blamed on the influence of the manager. Gary Neville –who is the best pundit of his generation – highlighted a sequence during QPR’s relegation clash with Southampton in which the QPR players were making no effort to close the ball down, followed by Hughes simply shouting from his touchline “OH COME ON!”. You get the feeling a lot of the QPR players are thinking about who they’ll be playing for next, not the club they’re playing for now.

Players are too eager now days. They want to get to the next level before they’ve earned the right to be there. Scott Sinclair is a classic example. It’s understandable considering he’s a young and talented footballer, it is hard to deny the calling from the recently coronated English champions, not to mention Champions League football, but in his heart of hearts he must have known he would never make an impact on the first team. Then again, the fact Manchester City tripled his wages probably has something to do with it, and in many ways “success” has become a codeword for money.

With the commericalisation and corporatisation of the English game, footballers are no longer footballers – they are assets. The players know this, as do their agents, and they also know they can almost always find a club who will pay them more. It’s a shame to see so few players in the modern game opting to be a big fish in a small pond, instead preferring to be a minnow in a shark tank, usually convinced by the size of their salary.

It is not only for players that the word success could easily be substituted for money. It is the same with clubs. Not only does it seem the league title can be bought, but in the same vein the financial rewards are the impetus that drives football now days. TV rights are the largest source of income, and are the main appeal for qualifying for the Champions League, regardless of the prestige of the European tournament. So when a player says “I want to leave in order to play Champions League football”, in many ways they are saying “I want to leave in order to play for a club that gets enough money from the Champions League to pay me Champions League wages”.

Perhaps I’m harsh and pessimistic. It is true that when players look back on their career they remember the trophies they’ve won, and therefore players need to be at the best team possible in order to do so. But I believe many of my points do stand. Players are always keen to take the glory, the pay check, and make demands when things aren’t going their way, but in the modern money-fuelled game, very few are willing to accept personal responsibility – especially when another club can offer them a wage that will make them forget about their past mistakes.

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  • CiTyBlUe
    1 year ago

    Only a United fan would brown nose Gary Neville and put him up on a throne proclaiming hes one of the best pundits around of his generation.

    You lost all credability with just that one claim alone, predictable that you then attack a Manchester city player in Scott Sinclair without knowing all the facts (Clearly you think you know more than you actually do).

    Reply
    • chris from Cambridge
      1 year ago

      We were all expecting Gary Neville to be a dead loss on Sky Sport but he has in fact been excellent.

      Reply
  • Jay
    1 year ago

    How can you possibly consider publishing this article when just earlier today, you posted this piece of trash?
    http://www.footballfancast.com/premiership/tottenham/has-he-simply-outgrown-tottenham

    One contradicts the other. Bale too big for Tottenham? Or is he picking up a bigger paycheck?

    And by the way, CiTyBlUe makes a valid point. Except the only thing I disagree with him on is that he insinuates that you had any credibility to begin with.

    Reply
  • Jameson78
    1 year ago

    Good article and I agree with most of what you say but not all players are like that.

    Carlton Cole refused to move back to the Prem when clubs were sniffing around and took a voluntary pay cut, reported to be 50%, when West Ham got relegated because he thought that the players responsible for taking us down should stay and help the club back up. He went on to have a decent season and scored in the Playoff final to get us back up. He will always be a true legend at our club for that.

    Compare that to Upson and Parker though, who couldn’t get away quick enough. And they were our captains!

    Reply
    • chris from Cambridge
      1 year ago

      That is hardly fair where Scott Parker was concerned.

      Reply
  • Gate13Dave
    1 year ago

    I got to “per-madonna” and stopped reading, call yourself a writer? Joke

    Reply
    • Gate13Dave
      1 year ago

      “pre”

      Reply
      • Christy Malyan
        1 year ago

        Hi Dave, thanks for drawing my attention to this, I agree that spelling mistakes aren’t good enough. I will now change it in hope that you will read the rest of the article

        Reply
    • James Jones
      1 year ago

      Slightly harsh. The odd typo sneaks in to every writer’s work. Get over it.

      Reply
  • Paddy81
    1 year ago

    Absolutely True, well done on this article. On the subject of personal responsibility, I think thats a problem in society in general, not just Football.

    Reply
  • outlet
    1 year ago

    It is a real chore to discover my favorite.

    Reply

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