With Robin Van Persie announcing that he will not be signing contract with Arsenal the usual debate has arisen. Is loyalty valued at all in the modern game?
In years past men became hero's by staying with one club throughout their entire career. Playing for the fans and the badge on front of the shirt. There is too much money involved in today's crazy world of Football. Yes it's true players say they have ambitions to win trophies and for some that is a true statement but there are also far too many who are driven by money and greed.
There are some in the modern game who do stay loyal players like Maldini, Del Piero, Steven Gerrard, Tony Adams, Ryan Giggs and co at Man United but I am afraid that in ten years time these type of players will not exist anymore. The above named players all played for succesfull clubs. Its all well and good staying at a big club where you are near enough guarenteed success but someone making themselves a hero at a smaller club by staying when they could go elsewhere is something that is near enough dead.
My auntie is a Wolves fan and growing up I used to hear go on and on about Steve Bull. Steve Bull never played in the top division for Wolves even when clubs came calling for him he stayed loyal to the club that he loved. He is the last man to be capped for England while playing in the third tier of English Football a feat which in all honesty will probably never occur again.
There are some examples in the modern game where loyalty is more important than money. The biggest example would be Dennis Bergkamp. A truly magnificant footballer who took pay cuts in each of his last 3 seasons to remain at Arsenal and ultimatly end his career at Highbury.
It does seem that nowadays the only truly loyal people in football are the fans. They put up with the players being playboy's off the pitch they put up with boards making stupid decisions which harm the club they put up with administartions and threats that their beloved club could go out of existance. No matter who you support or what league they are in you stay loyal to your team because they are an integural part of your life.
Modern day footballers don't seem to understand that. The money that they recieve even at lower levels is unreal. I am not one of those people who gets in a jealous fit of rage because of the money they earn. Its the way football is. I do strongly believe that this sets the players apart from the every day football fan tho.
The club will never mean as much to a modern day player as it does to the fans. Kissing the badge has nobody fooled anymore. For the players it is a job. They do their job well and they get rewarded. Wether it is a pay rise or a move to a bigger club they are playing for these types of rewards.
I may being a bit harsh but some of the transfers I have seen over the last few years have made me feel this way. When Torres left Liverpool I thought it was a joke. When Andy Carrol a young geordie lad left Newcastle for Liverpool I was scratching my head. What happened to playing for the team you supported as a kid? Surely if you dream your whole life that one day you play for the team you support that should be enough? You live your dream and your doing what you love.
Betrayl in football is something that can with stick with a player throughout their entire career and is something that deeply hurts fans. Luis Figo was a great player but is remembered mostly for leaving Barcelona to join Real Madrid. The image of a pig's head being thrown at him by the Barca fans who used to love him will stick long in the memory. Spurs fans with their Judas t shirts directed at Sol Campbell after he joined Arsenal. When Alan Smith an absolute hero to Leeds United fans went and joined their most bitter rivals Man United there was uproar.
Wayne Rooney after scoring for Everton once revealed a T-Shirt saying "once a blue always a blue" he then joined Man United and slagged off David Moyes. The man who gave him his big break.
Emmanuel Adebayor was pictured kissing the Arsenal badge a few months before joing Man City then ran to gloat infront of The Arsenal fans after scoring against them, nearly causing a riot in the process.
20 years ago you would not of seen behaviour like this but as mentioned earlier the money involved nowadays is too much and the players sadly do not feel the love or have the loyalty that the older players had.
It is quite a sad situation but one that unfortunatley us fans have to accept is part of modern day football. I bet every fan from every club has experienced this feeling but the biggest shame of all is that for the forseeable future this trend will not stop.
If financial fair play ever comes into place you may find footballers at your club that adore the club just as much as you but until that day comes we need to accept the fact taht loyalty in football is dead.
Thank you for reading