Friday, 16 March 2012

A Few Good Men

As a non football fanatic, I sometimes wonder about players’ motives. I say non-fanatic, I’m not even knowledgeable. Couldn’t even tell you how many squares there are on the back of one of those goal nets, me. But I’d guess at 3612. We all want to do well. From the absolute rock bottom level with cold showers, car-park changing and dog shite dodging wingers to the very top of the Premiership, players move from club to club to try and be part of the highest standard that they possibly can. I admire that.

But I don’t always understand it...

I mean, sure, if you were playing for Newcastle Benfield (who interestingly have just sacked their manager, but are benefiting from the expertise of Nolberto Solano as first team coach) and Martin O’Neill was there waiting for you when you went round for tea at your Nan’s on your way back from the Spar (to get the last of the Belgian Buns while they’re down to 30p), offering a £10,000 a week deal, then you’d be a fool not to sign. A weekly wage probably at least half of your existing annual salary? No more early mornings loading up the milk float? Premiership football too? It’s an opportunity not to miss. Your non-league teammates will admire you, congratulate you and support you – wishing all along it was them with the chance.

But now put yourself in the shoes of Jake Livermore, for example. I’ve chosen him mainly because he’s young, and grew up in Enfield local to his current club, already in the Premiership. I’m going to make the assumption that he supported Spurs as a kid, and hope I’m adequately backed by his comment after being asked what it was like to score against Barcelona. “Score against the best club in the world? I already play for them”.

I don’t pay attention enough to even guess what he earns, but for argument’s sake we’re going to put him on £15,000 a week. What would he do if suddenly City cried out for him and offered a £30,000 a week wage to tempt him away from White Hart Lane? What would you do? Would you tear yourself away from your boyhood team, your mates and your family to double your salary which is already far more than you’ll ever need? I’d like to think he wouldn’t, not that I really care. Surely he’s already doing what he’s always wanted to do, and earning great money at the same time. Win-win.
But that’s what I don’t get. Plenty of players move from a top club to another top club, just because.

If a lad wants to improve himself, and gets an opportunity, that’s great. Do it, try it, enjoy it. Hell, come straight back next year if it doesn’t work out. But why desert a club you supposedly love just to bank some more cash? There’s always that “oh, it’s to get Champions League football” comment you hear in every boring football conversation in every pub across the country, normally between two people who have never run anywhere unless they were being chased or there was an sale on at Poundland, let alone in a sporting environment. Fine, if you’re 34, seen it all but want a crack at the very top before you pack it all in; your time is limited. But in your early 20s, why not stick it at “your” club and see if you can pull them into the Champions League one day, if you’re supposedly that good?
Going to the very top, Manchester United have made a blockbuster exit from the Europa League. Bless them, they’re still guaranteed to be in the Champions League next season. How many of their squad would still move on if the price was right? More than half?

Why? Because instilled in every single one of us is a dreadful thing; greed. Just look in Chicago, Stevenage, on a Saturday night.

I guess I’m a bit harsh; curiosity must play its part. In the time it’s taken you to read this, Bysouth has already put a net up and started counting.

Will Nash.


  1. I loved reading this. I'm not sure your admission of not knowing anything about football is strictly true though?

  2. Interesting read.