Being loyal is often considered a rarity in sports today especially in the sport that I work in in, football. Players leave their respective clubs for an extra bit of money, where one day they kiss the club badge on the shirt to the next day demanding a transfer unless their astronomical pay rise demands are met.
But I am talking about the minority their, after all there is 92 football league teams and a lot more clubs plying their trade in the conference levels. The minority I refer to are the greedy and money hungry players of the Premier League. They pledge loyalty to a club and its fans but a year or so down the line the offer of an extra 50K is deemed too lucrative to turn down and their off on their travels once again to go and bleed another club dry and no doubt kiss yet another badge.
I have not got a problem with anyone earning as much as they can but my problem comes when a player already earning 100K a week has the balls to kick up a fuss and demand 150K a week??? That to me is ridiculous plain and simple. Imagine a nurse, a teacher or a single parent struggling to cope on basic wages and it draws into light the sheer greed of the current day Premier League player.
Now I am not labelling all football players with the same stereotype. I am after all one of them but the difference between the top league and the lower divisions is huge. The money just doesn’t filter down the footballing pyramid like people think. But in my opinion that’s what makes the lower leagues so special and it is definitely what makes the lower league supporters so special.
I spent 6 years at Burton Albion and could have moved for a lot more money during the course of my time there. Why didn’t I go? Plain and simple, I was happy. I played the best football of my career at Burton and I would like to think that every supporter who watched me play would say I always gave 100% in a brewers shirt. I did this because I was happy, I loved coming in to train and I loved playing for that club. A beautiful ground, great pitch and a great manager were all key to me staying so long but I am a loyal person and the reason I enjoyed my time at Burton so much was because I was surrounded by likeminded individuals. Darren Stride, Aaron Webster and Andrew Corbett are legends who I had the pleasure of playing with and all had testimonials at the club. Stridey, aka ‘Mr Burton Albion’ was a big man, a leader and a winner and an inspiration to all around him.
Players like these would not have moved for any amount of money. They were loyal, maybe to a fault, but they were loyal. Any parent now who has a child in the football system and has ambitions of them playing professional football I would urge them to look at their lower league club for inspiration as to what a true footballer is made of.
As with everything there is exceptions to every rule and I know there are players such as Scholes, Giggs and Gerrard in the Premier League today but unfortunately those legends are few and far between. I look at those three named players and see old school morals coursing through their veins not the modern day flimsy see through footballer who graces our TVs on a weekly basis.