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  • Robert M Robert M Jan 18, 2013 19:25 Flag

    Player Loyalty to Clubs Going Forward..

    I think this word loyalty is overdone in terms of football clubs and players.

    Players always moved clubs when it suited them, albeit not quite as often as they do now. You think Dalglish is a lifelong Liverpool man, showing the utmost loyalty? Why didn't he stay at Celtic?

    If you're a professional player in his mid-twenties and you're not getting in the first team much, or you're capable of playing for a club in a higher division, or more likely to win trophies, or you're offered a fifty per cent pay increase, why wouldn't you want to move?

    And if there is more movement now, isn't that just as much because clubs don't show them 'loyalty'? Chelsea, yes, blah, blah, blah, but recent history at your club has plenty of players being brought in, and shoved out fairly quickly.

    Of course, there are examples of players staying at their clubs for a decade or more and becoming the epitome of what that club is about. There are two obvious ones at your club. But are they the norm or the exception?

    Although fans, to their credit, see club support as a lifelong hobby, during that time virtually everything changes. The name stays the same, usually, the ground stays the same, usually, the history stays and is built on. But the ownership changes, the management changes, and players come and go. They all have their careers and their triumphs and disasters and things pass.

    What's important in the end is not the length of time one person stays with the club. It's the creation of the history, the accumulation of moments when notable things happened and were shared by players and managements and fans. One of those for you is a night in 2005 when you won the CL. Fans remembering that will remember the disaster of the first half, the recovery of the second half, the penalties, the triumph in the end, the players, and so on. That's a big moment in your history. How important ultimately is it to you that one of the heroes of the night, Dudek, then got replaced by Reina? Or whether others of that team decided to leave your club subsequently, or got pushed out by the club?

    These days there is great scope for players to move and there is great scope for clubs to hire and fire. There is huge money in the game and that has encouraged a shorter termism than used to exist. Although fans have long memories they are part of it too. One person talking about loyalty one day will come out with his list of transfer targets the next.


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    • robert...great post have to agree with u about "loyalty"...I see the day in the not too distant future when the same concept of "loyalty" u apply to most players will also apply to fans...Jason openly admits to a love of NAPOLI I myself was well taken by BLACKPOOL FC's cavalier approach to their season in the Prem..The kind of "fanatacism" that reigned supreme at Anfield back when I first became fan will ...unfortunately...likely never be seen again...the noise from The Kop back then packed with 30,000 souls was akin to CONCORDE taking off ! The 12th MAN truly was an intimidating sight and sound for the opposition to witness as they exited from the tunnel onto the pitch for the warm-up. With the kind of extensive media coverage of all leagues now we will likely see the rise of the "multi team fan" and grounds filled with well off upper middle class families while everybody else views from large screens in pubs bars and their homes... eventually the one club for life fan will disappear as fewer and fewer will ever attend a stadium to watch live football but as u say ...everything changes, its inevitable.

      • 1 Reply to colin
      • Colin,
        Just fyi, and not that I'm suggesting you think otherwise, my support of Napoli is nowhere even remotely close to that of LFC.. it's a fly on the while if compared, and LFC is where my attention and heart is, I just happen to really enjoy them, particularly because of Cavani, and the club they assembled in recent years with Hamsik, Lavezzi (now PSG), Inler after being in the 2nd tier of Italy about 5 years ago. Plus it gives me a reason to try and enjoy another league.. I love Barca, but who doesn't..

        Dave & Robert, I get what you guys are saying, I really do, and Dave to be fair, the two sets of sports/cultures really aren't the same as you pointed out, I just happened to give a strong example of my existing favorite player Champ Bailey, who despite another year of heartache, will remain in Denver..

        I guess my question is, and you make a great point about the kids coming up through the ranks at smaller clubs, though I wouldn't really count them because they're often poached or looking to move as soon as they're old enough, but rather a player like let's say Eden Hazard..

        Let's just say Chelsea don't win any silverware, and finish 6th.. He had pretty much all but packed his bags for Manchester last year, by all accounts, only which club was the question, though I think it was CIty.. So, let's just say all of a sudden he's upset how his first year has gone with Chelsea aside of his own performance which has been exceptionally good, and City manages to repeat as champs and try to bid for him this summer in unrest.. Which, would be quite a sensational battle to see those 2 fighting it out for one of their own.. City being 2 time champs, entering their 3rd straight Champions League campaign, and he just finds it more appealing with perhaps even more wages.. I know him only being at Chelsea in this scenario, for 1 year isn't great, but doesn't it only make him seem nothing other than a "mercernary"?

        I guess the question for me still remains, because I do think FFP will absolutely cause some scenarios where players can't leave, or prohibit clubs from trying to make an offer they may want, but that doesn't really relate to the word "loyalty" I suppose, but I guess, what I'm really asking, and it's tough off the back of Cavani and his interviews because he's unique, is do you think it's ever going to return, or has all romance gone, even if it's a player only being at a club 1, 2, 3 years?

        What about Raheem Sterling.. quite honestly, if we're not in the UCL and top 4 contention discussion next season, other clubs are going to be all over him, and having a bit of a reputation for loving the life of a footballer, on top of being a young and brililantly talented footballer, I see it as a potential issue.. Yes, he started at QPR, but for all intensive purposes, he's grown up Liverpool having progressed in our ranks, nurtured, being brought into the 1st team, getting into the National side, and signing his first pro contract while starting along side of Suarez, Stevie and 1-2 others we consider top class.. Sterling will be viewed as a traitor, or like I've noticed many say about Torres "Judas".. OR does Sterling shock us and stay ..

        I know I have it in me to see and expect, or at least know that this all happens differently in American Sport, but I really just wonder if it will ever be that way in Football while I'm here.. I think I just became curious of this, not only from knowing/reading about Cavani, and seeing him embrace the fans when he scores, but because football grounds are so intimate and players are so visible, literally, no masks, helmets etc.. It just seems so "intimate" the way they can score a goal, and run literally right into the stands and be a kid, or one of the boys... and that's where I see the heartache occur when they leave..

    • Jason, I agree with much of what Robert is saying here, and trust me it’s not a new thing, or at least has been going on for as long as I've followed football since the late 70's.

      While I do admire Cavani's sentiment, and those few players who do stay with one club for a long time if not their entire career they are the exception, and sometimes its only because they were able one way or another to be at the right club from an early age.

      Giggs, Scholes, our own Gerrard and Carra, or Chelsea's Terry have had no real reason to move on, so admire them for loyalty but it’s really not been that difficult for them (other than a little temptation for Stevie’s signature). They were at the club they joined either as kids or when very young, and that club has always met their needs be they financial or footballing in nature. But what of a kid who did his trials at a smaller club because the big boys or the club he supported were not interested in him when he was 13 or 14 years old. Is he being disloyal if he outgrows the club that trained him as a youth player? That scenario has played out for as long as I can remember. A good friend of mine, who was a die in the wool Liverpool supporter, was offered trials by Villa when he was 14. Now should he have turned them down and give up on his dream of being a footballer just because they were the only major club to scout him?

      There may be more transfers now, but I don't think many more, players have always moved between clubs. But in fact in the past a club had more power to keep players against their wishes or force them to move before the bosman rules came into effect. If you look at the squads of most clubs in the 70s and 80s they might have had a core of local players, but also a fair few they bought in from outside. Many of our own legends would have been considered mercenaries by the fans of the clubs where they did their apprenticeships, and the fact so many of them stayed as LFC for so long once they arrived was more to do with the fact that back then leaving only meant going downhill in your career, and few want to do that.

      If in fact there is more movement of players now it’s most likely down to the fact players have more choices, and there is always a bigger club or a bigger challenge out there unlike in the past. Keegan was one of the first to move abroad to challenge himself at Hamburg, but today most leagues have players from all over the world, and each league has a certain appeal. So I admire a Scholes or Gerrard who decided to be one club men as much as a Beckham who wanted to challenge himself in Spain and Italy and also convert Americans to real football.

    • Well, I think that was a very fair and thorough assessment and response..

      The reason I ask, and I probably will continue to do so, is again, it's still surprisingly a bit shocking to me after these 10-11 years or whatever.. American sportwise, I'm very much used to it, both the good and bad.. Here, some players (it seems more common than "Football") actually stay as lifelongers with teams, though not as many as earlier years, and then in other instances, they move strictly because of money.. Of course we have the players who start getting on in age, and then decide if they still have enough to offer, and perhaps be a starter, or if not, someone who contributes enough and they'll choose to go to a team who they think will or can win.. In that instance, you can't really hold a grudge, and if you (and anyone else interested) were to want to separate examples there, have a look at my Denver Broncos.. Champ Bailey is my favorite player, and has been for 13 years, the best at his position, and over the past decade, they've not been very good, yet he's stayed and I hope to god they win a Super Bowl for him.. Then we have Peyton Manning, one of the greatest qbs of all time who missed all of last year w 4 neck surgeries, and decided to join Denver now at the age of 35, highly sought after, but thinking it would be the best place to end his career and win as an older qb.. They finished 13-3, 2nd best record in the whole NFL but were shockingly defeated last week... dagger in the heart for me, and them..

      But getting back to your football, and based on the Cavani interview(s), and other things he's said, I'm just wondering if other players will have a similar type of feeling or comments at one moment, and then see them through for a length of time afterwards, rather than just jumping ship right away when things aren't all peachy?

      In Cavani's case, he's a bit unique.. he's got Italian roots, he genuinely does love it there, his team has other Uruguayans and S. American players he's friends with, and Napoli are 2nd in the table, 3 pts off the lead. They are a very good team, but not as explosive as the one who had the fun ride in last year's CL, so nothing is guaranteed... If they do miss CL, I don't think he changes his mind, and predict he stays, unless their Chairman (very wealthy) is in some dire need of funds and wants to sell him, which he's stated adamently he doesn't and would only do so when Cavani asks..

      I used Agger as another example.. He does seem pretty genuine, and for a guy who's as outspoken as any on LFC, outside of a 14th-16th place finish, which would also mean he's not done his job, I don't see him leaving..

      I guess it's a hard question because let's face it, not too many players will leave United right now, even if they're getting 1 game in 3.. like Kagawa.. and the same for Chelsea.. City I can see another scenario because nobody aside from 4-5 players gets any regular action there, and they're not performing to standards..

      Look how terribly unhappy Kaka is at Fail Madrid, and the problem ultimately is his fault.. He accepted a move, it was a record fee, and his wages are through the roof.. Milan would have him back if they could pay his wages, and in hindsight, much like Fernando Torres, if they'd known the future, they wouldn't be in this conversation..

      The grass isn't always greener, even if you get a few pieces of silverware.. I guess it's just my personal perspective that pride, playing time, a career and legacy are just as important as the accolades .. But, I'm a bit different..

      • 1 Reply to Jason
      • Jason, I think one thing to consider and I don't know all the details, but I don't think you see as much movement in American sports specifically because the teams don't want it, and so have structured it that way.

        For example I think most American footballers are on much longer contracts than our footballers, and there are actually restrictions by age of who and cannot become a free agent. There is no equivalent of 2 transfer windows, or a real transfer market in the NFL but a releasing of free agents or trading between clubs.

        Baseball might be a better comparison, where in fact there is a lot more movement of players. But, again I think other than the older players who are eligible for free agent status, most of the trading is between clubs, with the player really given a take it or leave it choice once the deal is done.

        I’m not saying one system is better than the other but I do think it’s fair to say that football (the real kind) does operate in the free market, with the transfer market being a strong example, while American sports operates much more in a closed market where a specific league rather than the market itself gets to dictate the rules of any transactions that occur, and that control by its nature is likely to suppress movement.