Greed is slowly destroying our beautiful game. Players are willing to leave a club that have picked them out from millions of people who desperately want to become footballers, yet the player will leave them as soon as a slightly better offer comes up. Don't get me wrong, I understand that the players may want to be playing at a higher level, but is it right when players go for the money rather than the love of football? Did we see this happening much before the Premiership era?
The Premiership has brought in millions of pounds to the English game, and billions of viewers worldwide, but it's also brought in more players who play in this country because they know the money will be more than they'd get elsewhere. Although there is more and more countries being recognised as having clubs with money to burn such as Shanghai Shenhua, where Nicolas Anelka has thrown his footballing abilities into, no direspect to the Chinese league but, a country with a much lower standard of football for an incredible £200,000 a week. An amount of money most people would take at least 5 years to earn. Then there's the Russian billionaires of FC Anzhi Makhachkala who have names such as Samuel Eto'o on £364,583 a week, that's 60p a second! £17,499,996 a year! And although the Russian League may be a slightly higher standard than the Chinese league with teams such as Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow, it is still nowhere near the standard of football Eto'o could be playing at. But the problem, if not quite so over the top as these severe cases, in this country is a widespread thing, players don't seem to care about the football anymore, it's all about the money.
Take the highly publicised move of Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea, he was on the verge of being a Kop legend at the age of just 26! Yet he chose to move to a club Liverpool will see as a rival to them in the league for the extra money, and maybe understandbly for Champions League football. But has it all gone smoothly since his move? 5 goals since January 31st last year suggests no. And it happens in less publicised ways too, when Cameron Jerome left Birmingham, where he was always a first team regular, to join Stoke, where he now gets 10 minutes at the end to try and latch onto a long throw from Rory Delap, that can't be for footballing reasons? It must have been a money move for him, yes Stoke are in the Premiership and Birmingham aren't, but surely if he loved the game he'd have stayed at Birmingham, playing every game? Loyalty in football is becoming a rare thing, but it does still exist.
In the last week Swindon Town have been pestering their fiercest rivals Oxford United, with extreme bids for their star man, their talisman as such. On Thursday one of these bids was accepted, and to the uproar of the Oxford faithful, James Constable was given permission to speak to Swindon. They included in the offer that they would significantly increase the wages of the Oxford favourite, some rumours even suggested a move down the A420 would double his pay packet. But it turns out there is still loyalty in the game, as he declined to even discuss terms with Swindon Town, saying on Twitter 'I never wanted to leave the football club, it means everything to me!'. This is an example that I believe more footballers should take, especially if you think about how much a team and it's fans will give to a player just for it to be thrown back in their faces when a better offer comes along.
And how can anybody forget the loyalty many of the Juventus players showed during the Calciopoli scandal in 2006? They were convicted of match-fixing and were fined an estimated £31,000,000 and demoted to Serie B, a club with 27 Serie A titles to their name, as well as 5 European titles, being moved to the second tier of the Italian footballing ladder, was unthinkable. And yet the majority of the players chose to stand by their club, and secured an instant return to Serie A, despite a 9 point deduction being handed to them to add to the devastation of thrown into Serie B. I can't help but feel if this was an English club such as Manchester City or Chelsea, the players would have left immediately when a club offering more money came knocking. Yes what Juventus did was unnacceptable, but you can't knock the commitment of the players who stuck with the club despite the punishments layed upon them.
On the whole I feel that although loyalty does still exist in football, money is destroying every last ounce of it. More players should think about their decisions on an ethical level rather than basing everything they do on money. It's disappointing to think that what it takes to make a succesful football club is no longer passion and pride, but a rich owner. Manchester City may have arguably the best squad in English football but do the players really care for the club? No. If Sheik Mansour miraculously lost his £20bn fortune those players would be out the door like a shot. Is this really what we want our beautiful game to become? Is it worth sacrificing passion for a players who are maybe more technically aware, but are only playing for the money and not the club? I don't think so.